How to Realign Your Career Goals While the Pandemic Rages On

kicking career goals pandemic

As we make our way through the beginning of 2022, the stark realisation that we’ve entered the third year of dealing with COVID-19 hits like a ton of bricks. Yep, Ms. Rona is still wreaking havoc. And let me tell ya — the pandemic fatigue is real

The beginning of the year is often a great time to put pen to paper and plan ahead with some career goals. But as we continue to feel the effects of the pandemic — and uncertainty is all around — I have found myself delving into a bit of a pity party. On more than one occasion, as I have tried to write down career goals for the year ahead, I’ve stopped and said to myself, “what’s the point?”.

Like many millions of people across the world, my work and career trajectory has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. However, despite the pandemic raging on, there are glimmers of hope everywhere and I’ve decided to change my tune by approaching career goal setting with a newfound positive attitude, by following these simple rules. 

Break Your Career Goals Into Smaller, Achievable Steps

Right now, giving yourself huge career targets probably isn’t in your best interest, and it’s only going to make you more anxious about work prospects. Break down what you’d like to achieve into small steps that can be attained within the confines of the current situation. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t keep striving for your pie in the sky, big-ticket career goals, but make sure you’re giving realistic timeframes — for example, five or ten years in the future.

Take the Pressure Off

Three years into the pandemic and you’ve probably heard this a million times: be kind to yourself. When setting out career goals for the year ahead be sure to approach the exercise with understanding. It’s important to include realistic goals but also don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re unable to meet them. As we’ve learned over the past few years, things can turn on a dime, and that’s nobody’s fault except for . . . ya know . . . the pandemic.

Understand Your New World Priorities

Our lifestyles have completely changed over the past few years, so it’s totally ok if your work priorities have somewhat shifted too. As you start to think about your career goals, be honest about what your ‘new world’ priorities look like. If you’ve adjusted to a WFH setup and feel more comfortable operating that way, you might want to look at realigning your goals, where you work freelance or for a company that offers flexible arrangements.

Upskill Online

As we continue to spend more time at home while COVID-19 infections ebb and flow, now is the perfect opportunity to seek out further skill sets. There has been a recent boom in online coursework being available, making it super easy to seek out an area you’d like to hone and get yourself some additional qualifications. Not only will this help pass the time (we could all use a distraction from doom scrolling), but it will also make you a more attractive candidate once sectors start to bounce back with fruitful job opportunities.

Connect With Others

During the pandemic, everyone has been jumping online to pass the time, making it the perfect opportunity to connect with others in a meaningful way. Whether you reach out to old contacts on LinkedIn or post about work you’re proud of, this can open up doors for new career opportunities you otherwise wouldn’t have sought out. It could be something as simple as a casual conversation that can lead to some exciting new prospects.

Look to the Past to Look Forward

While the pandemic may have put a pin in your best-laid career plans, that doesn’t mean your past achievements were in vain. Review old projects or career wins and think about how you can use them while planning for the future. Things might not happen as quickly, or exactly as you had planned, but your past projects can help give you an idea about how you’d like your future career to look. Also, don’t be afraid to post about these achievements on LinkedIn to get on the radar of prospective future clients or employees. Now more than ever, companies are looking to bolster their workforce with keen, hardworking employees.

Approach With Positivity 

Listen, it has been a bloody awful few years, so it’s understandable that those negative thoughts are going to creep in from time to time. But as rough as it has been, the age-old adage ‘this too shall pass’ has never been more relevant. While the scars of COVID-19 will be keenly felt around the world for years to come, there’s nothing like planning ahead for the future with a little bit of positivity. Your career goals might look totally different or you may just want to give yourself one small step to focus on for the year — either way, it’s important not to lose hope. Because if there’s one way to really kick this pandemic in the guts, it’s to have hope for the future.