The COVID-19 pandemic has forced organisations to undergo significant change and adjust to an unexpected new reality. From adapting products or services to adopting new technology to run their business, in a matter of weeks organisations have undergone levels of change that, pre-crisis, we wouldn’t have thought possible in years.
Consequently, the people working in these organisations have also had to change. Not only have many been working remotely – and some continue to do so even as others transition back into a co-located workspace – but a significant percentage have been required to pivot to help support the organisation through this period of disruption. Some have refocused on new priorities, while others have supported areas of the business outside their usual remit. Some have even been redeployed into an entirely different role or department.
However, as restrictions start to ease, and thoughts and plans turn to how to restart economies, even more change is ahead. Understandably, this has left many people wondering what the implications will be for their jobs longer-term.
With many people being assigned new duties and responsibilities during this crisis, it is natural that they are beginning to question if these will remain part of their role longer-term.
If your own work duties have changed in some way during the pandemic, the lockdown period will have hopefully given you the opportunity to reflect on those changes and how they fit with your career ambitions and goals – if they do at all.
For some, the changes to their role have been welcomed. Such changes may have allowed them to utilise untapped skills, while gaining experience in different areas and generally pushing themselves out of their comfort zone.
Others, however, will have decided that the changes to their role resulting from the coronavirus crisis aren’t aligned with the direction they want to take their career. They may not have enjoyed the experience and might feel that their skills were better utilised in their pre-crisis role, and thus understandably want to return to their former duties as soon as possible.
Either way, if you have the opportunity after the COVID-19 crisis to initiate a permanent change to your role that will help move your career forward in the right direction for you, the following advise will help ensure it happens quickly and in a way that works for you.
If you’re keen to keep the changes to your job that arose due to coronavirus-related disruption – whether that’s working in a different department or in a role with a different focus – then it’s important to formally and professionally vocalise your wishes.
You can do this by organising a meeting with your manager. Let them know in advance what you would like to discuss and then prepare to argue your case. This preparation should allow you to do the following during the meeting:
Alternatively, your time spent working in another role or focusing on slightly different priorities may have led you to decide that your skills would still be best used in your pre-COVID-19 role.
If you have reached this conclusion, your preparation for your meeting with your manager should allow you to:
Hopefully, the above advice will enable you to move your career forward in a rewarding direction as your organisation enters its new normal – whether you seek to change your role for good or return to your pre-crisis responsibilities.
If, however, after meeting with your boss it is clear that you are unable to move your career in the direction you wish – either keeping your new duties or returning to your old ones – it may be a good idea to look for a new position elsewhere. You can start this process by updating your CV with details of the new skills and projects you worked on during the crisis, before getting in touch with a recruiter to start your job search.
Now is the time to take control of your career, and to feel empowered doing so. Always remember that no matter what is going on around you, you are the architect of your own career and the person who is best-placed to decide the right next steps for you. So, make sure you have a firm sense of where your career is going so that you can make informed decisions and achieve great things in the years ahead.
Jane McNeill, joined Hays in 1987 as a trainee recruitment consultant in London and is now Managing Director of Hays NSW and WA.
After two years with Hays Jane began managing her own office and quickly took on larger and more diversified teams of people and responsibility for a region in the UK.
In 2001 Jane arrived in Perth , Western Australia and shortly after took over as State Director for WA. After six years of significant business growth she was appointed to the Hays Australia & New Zealand management board in 2007.
In 2012 Jane moved to Sydney and now oversees Hays’ operations in New South Wales with board responsibility for Western Australia.
Jane has an MA in Psychology from Edinburgh University.
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