The pandemic has forced many people to take a hard look at their careers. Some like what they see -- they realize how much they love their jobs and feel fortunate to be doing it for a company that appreciates them.
Others have discovered that they're really not happy with their career choices, or that their employer isn't a good fit.
But what can someone in such a position do about it now? With millions unemployed, it can be difficult to think about leaving a current job and the pandemic makes it difficult to "get out there" and start looking for something new.
The solution may be to begin exploring other roads to career happiness. Are there companies that have always intrigued you? Do you have people in your network who seem to be energized and happy in their jobs and you would like to feel the same? Would you like to better understand other fields that could use your skills?
Now is the time. Instead of baking another load of bread or doing another puzzle during your downtime at home, try becoming an explorer of the career universe and seeing what you can discover. Here's some things to try:
1. Look for enthusiasm. Do you get a little thrill when you think of yourself working for a certain employer? Do you see rave reviews about an employer on Glassdoor from its employees? If you're going to explore new opportunities, make sure you're headed in a direction that holds promise and not one where the employer is considered a dead-end career choice. Read current news stories or industry trend articles to see how others view the industry or company.
2. Snoop. Don't do anything illegal, of course. But it never hurts to roam the Internet and check out the social media feeds for those who have jobs that you covet or are in fields that intrigue you. Employees often post about their workday, so look for experiences that interest you -- or completely turn you off. Company websites are only going to offer the most glowing view of an organization -- you're more likely to get a clearer picture by looking at different sources.
3. Reach out. With so many people working from home, it can be easier to get them to commit to a short phone call or answer a brief email. You can ask about what a typical day looks like for them, what they love/don't love about their jobs, where they see their industry going, etc. Most people are willing to have a brief conversation (no more than 20-30 minutes) and provide some insight. Even if you only get one or two people to talk to you, you will get a much more realistic picture of what is available.
During this long quarantine, many people have felt trapped. But you don't have to feel that way in your career. As long as you keep exploring, listening and learning about what's happening in areas that interest you, there will always be new roads to explore and new opportunities available.