This year has undoubtedly brought about many unexpected challenges that have had a big impact on the world, and how we live our lives. And frankly, there’s been a lot to overcome, emotionally and practically. Woman’s professionals lives, now more than ever, have been blurred with their home lives as we struggle to find and maintain the balance of our new work from home offices. We’re also seeing a lot of women, unfortunately, having to step away from their careers to refocus their efforts to more traditional roles in the home. Since March 2020 in the United States “Women made up 46% of workers before Covid-19… unemployment data indicate that women make up 54% of the overall job losses to date.”* And a lot of the women I’ve spoken to over the past few months have taken this time to reflect on their current situation with work – life balance and assess their happiness in both. However, I’m learning that due to the pandemic and the disruption in the home and economic instability it has brought, many women feel less confident than ever when it comes to making a career switch. But, oftentimes, I ask them, “What do you really want moving forward and what are you really willing to put up with in your work-life?”
Women should absolutely feel confident in making career transitions during the Covid-19 pandemic. And like I mentioned, a lot of the women I’m speaking to are realizing that they aren’t happy in their careers or that the elements of their job that were unsavory pre-Covid have only been augmented by the pandemic. Take for example a micromanaging boss. The idea and practice of being micromanaged is especially unpleasant within an office setting, but I’ve been hearing, more and more, of just how unsettling it’s been for women during the pandemic. One example being of a woman who is forced to hold daily, yes daily, check-in meetings with her boss to update him on the details of her progress on all of her projects. This has certainly had a negative impact on her mental health and her motivation, along with every other challenging element of the pandemic. So, I say, now is the right a time to take a step back and assess your situation to bring positivity to your emotional and mental health, take charge of the things that are making you unhappy, and make a plan and take steps to change your circumstance.
It absolutely can be done. Not every industry has come to a screeching halt since the onset of the pandemic and many organizations learned, very quickly, how to become nimbler during these unique times. It could be that organizations are now looking to fill roles with individuals who have a more diverse set of skills to meet the demands of the ever-growing and ever-changing uses in technology and business practices. Or simply, organizations are continuing to forge ahead with their hiring plans because, eventually, we will move past this pandemic. That means interviews are now being conducted via Zoom, and talent pools are growing because of the desire to employ candidates as entirely remote workers. Additionally, newfound focus and efforts toward diversity and inclusion have contributed to the depths of these talent pools. The point is, the opportunities are there and now is the time to revamp your personal brand to illustrate just how agile you can be as a future employee.
Now is the time to leverage your distinct skillset and experience and illustrate just how responsive you can be through this crisis. Doing so will help you to position yourself as competitive applicant. Your ability to be proactive now will surely payoff, especially once the pandemic settles.
If you’re interested in continuing the conversation, Reach out to me directly! Sheila Ronning, Founder, Women in the Boardroom.
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* Don’t Let the Pandemic Set Back Gender Equality, Harvard Business Review, September 16,2020