The coronavirus has upended our society and what seemed normal six months ago, seems so strange and unfamiliar now. Many of us are now unexpectedly based at home dealing with the challenges of poor connectivity, less than ideal technology and often with bored children to deal with. Many people have or are under threat of losing their jobs. It’s clear that some roles, some industries, will be forever changed by this crisis. In technology, it feels like the music has stopped and there just are not enough seats for everyone as employers pause to take stock and see how the dust settles.
The Corona Crisis has strongly impacted the job market. I am talking to people who say that their teams have been pruned right back to be as small as possible. Some data I have seen, based on around 2500 tech employers worldwide, is that roughly half are still hiring and half have frozen recruitment. There are also a smaller proportion of companies who are actively letting staff go and rescinding offers.
What is interesting about this crisis is that, for the first time, technology is providing the bulk of the tools that allow office workers to continue to do their jobs while based at home. And many industries like healthcare and retail are more and more dependent on digital services, so while we may be experiencing a temporary pause, it is likely that the industry as a whole will remain strong through the crisis.
As a career coach in the digital space, pre COVID-19, I found that, people tended to have one of two career “problems”:
- They either have a clear idea of what they want (a promotion or a new job) but are unable to make that happen. They believe they have tried everything and there is something that is invisible to them that is holding them back. This can be a very unsettling place to be and can undermine confidence and potentially have an impact on mental health.
- Or they feel like they have come to a crossroads in their career journey and are unable to decide which way to turn. They have too many options and no clear way to decide which one will be the right choice in the long run. They are often haunted by a fear of doing something they will regret in the future.
My impression is that those two perspectives will continue to be the source of career-related stress. Coronavirus will only amplify it so that those wanting to achieve a certain outcome will find that there are more candidates in the race and that there are potentially less roles in the shorter term. It will also amplify the career path uncertainty, with more people wondering whether they are on the right path, in the right role or industry.
What is required in both cases is insight and a challenging of perceptions. The people who know what they want but can’t get there need to learn how to see themselves more objectively and the people who don’t know what to do next need to spend more time understanding what makes them tick in order to know what will make them happy in the long run.
Where coaching can help is that it provides you with the space and focus to think, with another person as a witness and an accountability partner. You will discover tools that will help strip off layers of unhelpful thinking, which may have built up over the years, so that you are able to see with new clarity and choose to have new and better outcomes.
Liz Citron has 25 years of experience helping individuals, teams, and organisations find their way through the challenges of building tools and services that meet business and users’ needs. She has worked with a wide variety of organisations – from tiny businesses to large government departments. Digital transformation is by its nature catalytic and individuals and teams often are on the front line in dealing with the fallout. Having recently trained as a coach, Liz now specialises in supporting digital people in navigating their careers. Visit here for more information