Well, work was interesting this year. The whole lockdown in March and almost all of Malaysia’s workforce asked to work from home almost immediately. Zoom calls dominating our days and commuting becoming a thing of the past.
Even when the lockdown was lifted and replaced by a bunch of XMCOs (whichever movement controls we were currently under), a lot of companies decided it was still best for their employees to work remotely, some even indefinitely after realising that the home office could also double up as a workplace with just as much if not more productivity!
But what does this say about your career advancement? You may have some career goals early in 2020 but that quickly went down the drain – now, your only goal is to keep your job!
Which should also determine your goals for 2021 following the aftermath of lockdowns and pandemic. Perhaps now is not the time to think of trying out something new, especially if you don’t have any experience, or ask for a promotion when companies are freezing raises, bonuses and even hiring. Instead, focus on how to build your skills and position yourself for advancement so that when the time comes, you’re right up there.
Which is why these are the three goals you should be making for 2021 to move your career in the right path during a pandemic:
#1 Work on yourself
It’s hard to stay motivated when work’s been blah or if you’ve been distracted by the whole #WFH stint. Each day rolls into another… and you settle into a work routine that’s about doing enough, not more.
Stop right there. Now that commutes, work travels and long meetings are out of the picture as well as you spending more time at home, why not take this opportunity to learn and network? In fact, online learning is fast becoming the new normal during the pandemic and there are many sites to check out like Udemy offering discounts for courses. Plus, online courses are also cheaper than actually attending a physical course so take advantage of it. Perhaps your company might even reimburse you for the course or you may want to pick up a new skill completely unrelated to what you’re doing (finally, the time to do so!).
As for networking, companies have held many webinars and live sessions in 2020 so why not check out what’s next? You can also check in with GRADUAN®, we took most if not all of our events virtually with you having a front-row seat with our VIPs and will continue to do so!
#2 Take initiative
Your work or even your input could be sidetracked these days if you’re working from home because there is no physical check-ins with your boss, who may have a lot of his mind – work and personal related. So for 2021, instead of waiting for your boss to say go or laying low coz nobody’s paying attention, why not take control and steer your career the direction you want by making all the right moves? Send a weekly email update to your seniors, keeping them in the loop of what you’re working on (trust us when we say they will appreciate this!) or offer your time and effort when there’s extra work or a new project in the makings. Your boss may not notice the daily things you do like emails, calls and reports, but he will definitely know these efforts you’re taking to keep yourself in the loop of work.
#3 Be open minded!
So your role has become somewhat redundant (gee, thanks COVID) and your boss wants to move you around the organisation (at least you’re not getting laid off!). Rather than complain that it’s not what you signed up for or worry about what may come, why not embrace it? You can even have a chat with your boss on what’s in stored for you and offer suggestions on what you can do to continue contributing.
You may even be required to pick up additional responsibilities if your company is downsizing. Again, do this with an open mind – who knows what new things you can learn?
This is also the opportunity for you to check out what’s hot right now and work your way towards that. For example, digitals roles, thanks to technology getting a mighty boost. Sign up for online courses on digital marketing so that you can add it to your resume. Who knows, when all is over, you’ll have all the right skills under your belt plus a can-do personality that will get you hired anywhere.
Or even a hobby like baking, gardening, photography, content creation – given all the time you now spend at home, it’s a good way to pass the day, and if you discover you’re really good at it, even make it into a side gig!
Photo by Eliza Diamond on Unsplash