If there’s one thing I’ve learned about navigating uncertainty from the economic recession in ‘08, it’s this: we have the power to thrive in trying times. Let me say that again, we have the power to thrive in trying times.
“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” — Albert Einstein.
And, there’s no better lesson to remember as we enter the great economic lockdown recession. With millions filing for unemployment during a global pandemic, it’s safe to say the sky can feel like it’s falling. But that doesn’t mean your dreams and career still can’t take off.
I know, I know, right about now you’re probably thinking…come on B., how can I thrive when I’m not sure I can even survive? Well, if I did it back in ’08 using the 5 tips below (without tech advantages like Zoom at my fingertips), I’ve got no doubt in my mind that you can too:
1. Take action – while you can’t control the job market, you can control how you react to it by what action you take. And by action, I don’t mean waiting for companies or organizations to bail you out. Instead, take matters into your own hands and do SOMETHING your future self will thank you for. Start a regimen to keep yourself motivated and make it part of your routine to research, seek out and connect with companies that are still hiring during this time – even if that means you might not get to work for the company you’ve always dreamed of after college.
2. Take a hard look at your skills – and I’m not just talking about your strengths. Seriously, write them all down…your weaknesses, threats, and opportunities too. Then, see how you can leverage your strengths, improve upon your weaknesses, and take advantage of your opportunities. You might just unlock the superpower that will pave the way to your ultimate success.
3. Learn new skills – use your time wisely to not only sharpen existing skills but learn new skills that will be useful in the future by utilizing online programs like edX, where you can take FREE (yes, really) courses from Harvard and MIT to name a few.
4. Make the most of your connections – whether it’s your LinkedIn profile or your Facebook page, chances are there’s already somebody in your network that’s doing the work you want to do. Don’t be shy and say hi. Then set up 1:1s so you can better understand their role and how to best focus your preparation efforts.
5. Find ways to give back to your community – giving back is not only a great way to lift your spirits, but also a great way to build upon your skillset and meet people that can open doors to new opportunities. Some of my first leadership development opportunities actually evolved from participating in community service. So, get to know your community and figure out how you can best apply your skills to make the most significant impact.
“When nothing is sure, everything is possible.” ― Margaret Drabble
While there’s no telling how long this virus or economic crisis will last, never forget that you always have the power to do more than survive, but thrive in trying times. And the sooner you realize this, the faster your dreams and career can take off.