Big events lead to major life changes – and 2020 was a catalyst for reassessment and fresh starts for many. For thousands of New Zealanders, last year meant redundancy, fewer hours and whole industries facing a precarious future. Even if you kept your job, you may still be feeling vulnerable. Lockdown made us consider our priorities, our values and our financial situations.
If the turbulence of 2020 left you feeling uncertain about your career, you’re not alone, says Heather Lowery-Kappes, career counsellor and president of Career Development Association NZ. She’s seen a definite increase in feelings of anxiety and insecurity, as Kiwis reevaluate their lives and their jobs. But she believes you can increase your job security and employability for the future by taking charge of your career and having the right mindset.
“You can never recession proof your job completely, because you never know what’s going to happen,” says Lowery-Kappes. “But if you’re flexible, adaptable and collaborative you can make it as recession proof as possible.”
Keep up your technical skills and knowledge
Be up to date within your field – from internal systems to software solutions to big industry trends. Staying current makes you more valuable in your current role and more employable in a new job.
“Start using online platforms and get comfortable with new ways of working,” says Lowery-Kappes. “It’s no longer enough to go to study once and that’s it. You need to become a lifelong learner.”
Grasp new opportunities
Say yes when you get the chance to learn a new skill, work in a new team or collaboratively across industries. Instead of seeing these projects as extra work, think about these as opportunities to grow your skills and connections – they’ll help you keep your job or get another one in tough times.
“Stretch yourself in your working life – it’s really important because the job market can change really fast. We’re seeing combinations of job roles that never existed before; be ready to shift over into those new roles easily.”
Take control of your career
It’s surprising how many people accept jobs that are just convenient or the next step on the ladder, says Lowery-Kappes. Take charge and move your career in the direction you want it to go:
“Ask yourself the big questions about what lifestyle you want – because your job has a huge impact on that. Then you can start to make good decisions about whether to recreate your career or take it in a new direction. Don’t just fall into jobs, think about what you’re doing!”
Economic cycles make recessions a recurring fact of life. By taking charge of your career, you can do your best to make your professional future more secure.