Good Perspectives for Tough Times

Benefits of Using a Career Coach in a Bad Economy

By Ford R. Myers
President, Career Potential, LLC

These are tough times to be sure. Aside from the tragic health crisis, the Coronavirus has sent global financial markets into a tailspin. In addition, the negative impact on employment has already been profound.

To provide some “real world perspective,” here are a few relevant news clips from the past week:

  • “Initial jobless claims soared to a seasonally adjusted 3.28 million in the week ended March 21, according to the Department of Labor. That is the highest number of initial jobless claims in history, since the Department of Labor started tracking the data in 1967.” – CNN.com
  • “An unprecedented surge in claims has overwhelmed state unemployment departments, crashing web sites and threatening to deplete trust funds.” – Associated Press
  • “In Ohio, more than 48,000 people applied for jobless benefits in two days. Pennsylvania saw 70,000 applications in one day – six times the total for the entire previous week. The Treasury Secretary has warned that unemployment could hit Great Depression levels of 20 percent.” – The Week Magazine
  • “The Dow suffered its worst day since the Black Monday market crash in 1987, as fear of a global slowdown gripped Wall Street. The Dow is down more than 31% to date.” – NBC.com
  • “It took just 19 trading days for the Dow Jones to drop 20 percent from its record high on Feb. 12, representing the blue chip index’s fastest move from a record high to a bear market since 1931.” – MarketWatch.com

Previous economic downturns affected specific industries, such as technology, manufacturing or construction. But according to Business Week, “With lending trimmed, and companies and consumers tightening their belts, jobs will be cut across broad swaths of the economy, from the tech sector to investment banking, and from manufacturing to soft drinks.” In addition to all the layoffs we’re seeing, almost all hiring has been frozen.

The simple fact is that no one knows what’s going to happen to their jobs and careers. Everyone is concerned – even those who still have jobs. Some are terrified – especially those who were already out of work before the Coronavirus hit.

These concerns are understandable, and to be expected. If you’re feeling scared, depressed, disoriented, anxious, helpless – you’re certainly not alone. You might even feel grief or anger. Perhaps you’re saying things to yourself such as, “How could this be happening to me? Everything was fine just a few weeks ago!” Or, “Where is this crisis going to lead, and when will I get my normal life back?” This is what I’ve been hearing from many of my career coaching clients in recent weeks.

In times like these, my clients need comfort and reassurance. My guess is that you do too. So, let me tell you the same things I tell my clients. If your job has been affected by the current crisis, it’s OK to have all the feelings mentioned above, and any other emotions you might be experiencing. There’s nothing wrong with you, and you didn’t do anything to bring this fate upon yourself. You still have all the qualities and credentials you had before. Although it may be difficult to believe right now, this pandemic WILL come to an end and your career will get back on track eventually.

The truth is that, even in this uncertain climate, you have more control over your career circumstances than you might think. There are specific strategies and tactics you can follow that will bring you stronger results in a bad job market. How do I know this? Because I’ve been working as a Career Coach for decades, through many economic downturns. I’ve taught hundreds of people powerful strategies, so they could find better jobs, advance their careers, and earn higher compensation. In the midst of this job market “meltdown,” some of our clients are still landing great jobs!

So here’s a question for you. Given how difficult things are now, how do YOU want to react and what do you want to do to improve YOUR career situation? I believe that you have a choice, and that the choice you make will determine how you’ll fare in this market crisis. Some people will panic and “sit on the sidelines” – waiting for things to improve. Others will remain in a state of shock or denial, acting as though world events don’t affect them. Still others will assess the situation for what it is, do whatever it takes to rise above external circumstances.

Right now, as the job market and economy seem to be “on hold,” it’s an ideal time to take stock of your career and take action – and you don’t have to do it alone. All the guidance, tools and resources you need are available to you. When money is tight and fear is in the air, the natural inclination is NOT to invest in getting help with your career. I’ve heard so many people say, “I’m just going to wait it out, and see what happens with my career.” Or, “I’ll handle my job search alone, and if I can’t find what I’m looking for, I might get career help in six months or so.”

Frankly, these are NOT smart decisions. In this bleak job market brought-on by the Coronavirus, you need all the help you can get! The time to reach-out for career support is NOW. You can contact a non-profit job center, hire a career coach, participate in virtual job search support groups, attend webinars, take advantage of online government employment programs, register for re-training in a new field, and so on. This is how you can gain an advantage and position yourself for success. It’s NEVER a mistake to invest in your own career, because the investment almost always pays-off in multiples.

To get back on top, it will take time, energy, discipline – and career help. Despite the pressures you may be feeling in this Coronavirus era, it is vital to stay focused on your career goals. You’ll want to keep thinking strategically, being “proactive” and not “reactive.”

If you’re willing to adopt a new attitude, shift your assumptions, step outside your comfort zone, try new behaviors and employ new tools – you’ll be able to move your career ahead in spite of all the bad news and challenges that the world is facing. While others remain idle, convinced that there are no jobs to be had, you’ll be out there “making it happen.” Instead of passively “waiting things out,” you’ll be taking advantage of vital career resources and support. Rather than feeling helpless about your career, you’ll experience a sense of empowerment and control. What a relief!

About the Author:
Ford R. Myers is an award-winning career coach and President of Career Potential, LLC. He is author of the best-seller, Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring. Ford’s firm helps clients take charge of their careers, create the work they love, and earn what they deserve! He has held senior consulting positions at three of the nation’s largest career service firms. Ford’s articles have appeared in thousands of publications and web sites, and he has been interviewed on every major television and radio network. Ford has also conducted presentations at hundreds of companies, associations and universities. Learn more at https://careerpotential.com.

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