How to Handle Covid-19 Related Career Setbacks

You Can Bounce Back From The Challenges Coronavirus Brought To Your Life

Are you feeling like your entire year is in the dumpster because of Covid-19? Have your plans, both personal and professional, been entirely uprooted? Perhaps your dreams of a promotion went up in smoke, or you are one of the millions who find yourself unemployed and facing a volatile job market.  

Whatever it is that you are dealing with, know that it is not the end of your story. These setbacks you are facing, though they are serious and depressing, do not have to ruin your life permanently. What you are experiencing is temporary. However, how you react to your present circumstances will have long-term implications, both good and bad.  

If you react with fear and retreat, you could be putting a period in your life story where a comma should go. On the flip side, if you dig in and fight, you may find yourself coming out of this crisis stronger than ever, which is why you must create a concrete plan for bouncing back from the Coronavirus setbacks.  

Here are three things you can do starting today to take back control of your life and turn these setbacks into comebacks.  

#1 Guard Your Mindset    

If you are alive, there is the possibility that bad things will happen on any given day. Because of the Covid-19 crisis, we are seeing unprecedented economic strain that is impacting people’s professional lives. People are losing jobs or unable to find jobs. Promotions and raises that seemed like a sure thing months ago, are now not going to happen anytime soon.  

It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself or fall into victimhood. However, you are not a victim. Owning your agency in this world is a must when fighting back against life’s setbacks. Think of it this way: there are people all over the world right now whose bodies are immunocompromised, meaning they are having difficulty combating illness, such as Covid-19.  

When your immune system is reduced, the littlest things can become major health challenges. Well, your mindset is very similar. When you have a compromised mindset, your emotional health and your ability to bounce back from adversity will be difficult. Little things throughout your day will set you off at work. You won’t want to get up out of bed, and you will struggle with seeing the bigger picture.  

Right now, the most important thing you can do to combat setbacks is make sure you are feeding your mind good things. From the moment you wake up, you’ve got to prime your mind for growth and gratitude.  

Why are growth and gratitude so important? Because, if you are growing, you are giving yourself opportunities to improve and get better. Gratitude is essential because it goes hand and hand with happiness. According to positive psychology experts, gratitude moves people to experience more positive emotions, to thoroughly enjoy the good experiences, better their health, face adversity, and develop and maintain relationships of strength.” 

With the right mindset, you will get through this crisis stronger than you’ve ever been. Your eyes will open to the professional opportunities around you and you will have the drive to pursue them.  

True self-confidence is “the courage to be open—to welcome change and new ideas regardless of their source.” Real self-confidence is not reflected in a title, an expensive suit, a fancy car, or a series of acquisitions. It is reflected in your mindset: your readiness to grow.

— Carol S. Dweck

#2 Improve Your Skills  

Mindset is important, but you also must have the skills to pursue your professional dreams.

Now more than ever, it is a super crowded job market. If you don’t find ways to stand out from the pack, it will be difficult to get hired or advance at your current job.

To improve your professional skills, you should first do an honest self-assessment of where you are right now in comparison to your peers in similar roles. Are you at the head of the pack? Or do you fall somewhere in the middle? Are there trainings you’ve been putting off? Or are you a little rusty on on a skillset that is essential for your work? If so, now is the perfect time to level up.

Some ways you can upgrade your professional skills starting today are:

  • Volunteering with a nonprofit.
  • Taking online courses.
  • Adopt a mental model prior to learning skills so that you retain your new knowledge.
  • Ask your employer for professional development opportunities.
  • Gamify it: Look for games and apps that will help you improve the skills you are struggling with.
  • Find a mentor that can offer advice and opportunities to learn.

Remember: growth is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. For every new skill you learn during this downtime, you are setting yourself up for an even greater comeback.

#3 Switch Up Your Routines

We are all creatures of habit. From the time you wake up to the time you go to bed, you are running through a series of routines that have been set over time through your most frequent activities and habits. When life goes awry, it’s very easy for our routines to turn into slumps. First, it starts with hitting snooze one too many times when you wake up. Then it’s eating Cheetos in bed and staying up all night when you know you have an important meeting the next morning.  

Perhaps you have reacted to the Covid-19 pandemic creating routines that are working against you rather than helping you. The good news is that change is always possible, no matter how entrenched the slump is in your life.  

The first step is acknowledging that it is time to switch things up. There is no shame in admitting that you need to change. In fact, radical honesty and self-reflection shows that you are passionate and care about your life.  

Once you are all in on changing your routines, the next step is writing out your morning and evening routines. This will help you see and reflect on how you are spending the most critical hours in your day.

To make a change in our behavior, means we’re adding something, or subtracting something, and we have to figure out what that is.

— Christine Whelan

A lifestyle of gratitude, of giving thanks for all of the many good things you are surrounded with, is one of the easiest ways to incorporate a good habit immediately into your lifestyle.

Pulling It All Together

Career setbacks happen to everyone. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented impact to people globally. If you have lost a job or have experienced professional adversity, know that you are not alone. Three things you can begin doing today include:

  • Guard your mindset against negativity and self-loathing. You must know your worth to turn your setbacks into a comeback
  • Do an honest assessment of your current skills and immediately begin improving your skills so you stand out in the marketplace
  • Switch up your routines. How you begin and end your day have the biggest impact on your critical workday hours. Write down your morning and evening routines and consider incorporating a journaling practice.

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