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What Should I Do Next?

Aerial Shot of Manhattan NY

Fear and anxiety have become a part of the fabric of life in the last few weeks. How long will we continue to have jobs, access to food or services? What happens if we or our loved ones get sick? Can I continue to provide for myself and my family? These are not easy questions and they can weigh heavily. So, let us all collectively take a breath of acknowledgment that this is where we are and this is what we have to deal with.

With that said, and once we are ready, it’s important to think about what we can control. Despite the circumstances, we have been given the gift of pausing. Many of us (us, meaning me) distract ourselves with work because we fear the current climate. But, there are meaningful actions we can focus on. We can use this time to address what we can control and determine how we will navigate towards the light at the end of the tunnel.

Update Your Resume

It’s important to keep your resume/CV updated, we all know this. Raise your hands if yours is out of date. I keep a long CV that I use to capture all my roles, projects, leadership experiences, and accomplishments. Then, I tailor a short form resume specific to the next job I’m interested in.

Keeping your work history up-to-date is important. Even if you don’t intend to leave your current position or are not at risk for your employment, it’s a good time to reflect on recent roles and ensured that you have everything captured and updated. Prioritize getting your resume and work experiences updated.

Organize All of Your Current Work

I like to think of myself as very organized. However, the state of being organized is not constant. We fluctuated between being in control and organized and things falling out of wack. There are times, however, when work is stressful and a lot is going on that we stay disorganized for long periods. Completing work when we are disorganized is inefficient and often leads to anxiety about what needs to get done.

Here’s how we can quickly get organized. Transfer all the emails from your inbox into a list of tasks. On the same list (preferably electronic) add all of the next steps on your outstanding projects and initiatives. Arrange that list to be able to quickly pick your priority and only work on one item at a time.

Daydream About Your Next Role and How You’ll Get There

Day to day life, projects, and deadlines all occupy an incredible about of mental resources. We are often robbed of our thinking power unless focused on current deadlines. Now is a great time to evaluate the progress you have made in your career, the track you are on and where you might want to go in the future.

Unfortunately, many of us tend to stumble through the journey that is our careers. Without being intentional, we often end up in a position that doesn’t feel like our choosing. So, allow yourself to dream and be unrestrained in thinking through where you’d like to go and what you’d like to do. Take the time to have that conversation with yourself.

Keep Your Network Healthy

Many of us are currently socially isolated. Over time it will continue to have an impact on our mental well-being. If you ever find yourself feeling off kilt, lonely or angsty, chances are someone in your network that you care about has been feeling similarly. This is a time when we need to do our best to take care of each other. That goes both for our colleagues as well as our extended families.

A simple text, phone call or even a more elaborate virtual happy hour can have a meaningful and lasting impact. Don’t underestimate how much you can positively impact the ones you care about as well as how beneficial it will be for you to maintain your connections.

Update and Review Your Budget

It’s difficult to say what anyone's income is going to look like in the next few weeks or months. Despite that being the case, here are some items to consider -

  • Are there are expenses that you can reduce or eliminate?

  • Find out the position of your landlord/mortgage company, can you able to pause payments or negotiate a smaller rent/mortgage?

  • Can you pause payments into your investments - 401 K, IRA’s, Life Insurance, etc.?

  • Note the services that allow delays in payments without penalty e.g. some utilities.

Review the New Stimulus Package

It’s still early days since the new stimulus package was approved, but it’s not too soon to understand how you’ll be impacted. Keep in mind that many of the benefits will take weeks before they can be collected, so understanding and acting sooner is important.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and unsure of how to move forward, know that it’s ok. Everyone has been dealing with the quarantine changes differently and it takes time to adjust before you might feel able to take action. Once you get to that point however, know that you don’t have to feel hopeless. There are steps that you can take to tackle the situation head-on! Take care.

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