Everyone is eagerly awaiting to have a fresh start in 2021.
While the excitement has been there every year-end, this year it seems to be a lot more amplified.
While we are very eagerly looking forward to welcome 2021 with enormous hope, let’s take this opportunity to recall the lessons from 2020. It is imperative we don’t ignore these, rather embrace them so that we have a splendid 2021.
The year 2020 has been doozy – something no one ever had experienced.
Many people might opine 2020 felt like walking in through an endless tunnel of darkness struggling to find the way out. And while that is true, new leaders have emerged. These struggles have taught us lessons no past experience, no guru and no book could ever teach. The biggest learning tool has been the time you spent with yourself on reflections.
I have had my share of lows, but I also strongly believe that it has been a year of great learning. And here are some career lessons I have learned –
#1 Slow down or you will be forced to do so
There is no time to breathe at all. Had been the most common thing that I heard.
We have always been very busy. So busy, that we never had time to sit back, relax, and spend time with ourselves.
Even on vacations, I have seen people being available for work.
Let me share with you an interesting incident.
I used to run an internal trek group for the organization I worked in my former career. I was organizing a trek to the Everest Base Camp. It was an 18 days’ trek.
I had inquiries from many people at various designations. Here is an interesting conversation I had with a senior manager who wanted to join for the trek.
He inquired, “I would love to come for the trek, but what about the leaves for so many days?”
“You have 21 days of annual leaves,” I replied.
“Do you get so many leaves?” Bewildered, he instantly replied.
“Of course,” I responded, “You are entitled to it!”
“Ok. But even if I manage the leaves, I am worried about the piled up work after I come back,” he later said.
I get it – work is very important. But why are you working? Isn’t it because you would want to live a better life? How can it be any better if the work has taken over so much that you don’t have time for yourself?
The lockdown forced all the workaholics to take a break from work and slow down. Everyone had to take a chance to spend time with themselves and reflect.
When even a machine cannot run 24×7, 365 days a year – what is the point of forcing yourself to do so?
It is of paramount importance that you slow down. It leads to a greater appreciation of life and an enhanced level of happiness.
As a side effect, you also get your job done better!
Isn’t that what you ultimately want?
So don’t be busy. It is the new stupid. And also be aware, if you don’t consciously slow down, you will be forced to do so.
#2 Job stability is a myth
I want to have a stable job – I have heard this statement from umpteen number of people umpteen number of times.
Job stability is what most people desire.
The year 2020 saw massive layoffs and pay cuts. Many who got laid off have been working with their organizations for a long time. And when they were laid off, it shattered all their dreams of having a stable job.
The situation isn’t easy for many. But this year has taught us one lesson the hard way – job stability is a myth.
Jacob Morgan, the author of The Future of Work: Attract New Talent, Build Better Leaders, and Create a Competitive Organization, says “Job security is a complete myth, as is long-term employment. Companies lay off employees in droves…by the thousands! They just make sweeping cuts when they need to. The average employee tenure is under five years and for millennials, it’s under three years.”
The silver lining is it is not necessarily a bad thing. The earlier we come to terms with it, the better we will navigate our careers.
You need to change with the times. Instead of looking for job stability, you need to look around at ways to add value – to people around you, to your organization, and to your clients.
There are a lot of problems around. Stability is being part of the problem.
Adding value is understanding the problem and offering a solution.
If you are a solution provider and thus are focusing on adding value – you will always have a job.
Moreover, the ability to become an entrepreneur has never been easier. If you can add value, you can do it for anyone and from anywhere!
It is also the time to embrace the gig economy.
#3 Invest in yourself for others to invest in you
The lockdown forced people to look beyond work.
And people took up learning very seriously. The number of people opting for online courses drastically increased.
People realized up-skilling is the way to grow.
And all of them who learned new skills could see the growth.
And I am saying this with conviction and from my very own experience. I learned how to leverage LinkedIn for bettering my coaching business, and I have been able to reach the right set of clients and grow.
I have always been a believer in continuous learning.
Continually invest in yourself to make it an easy decision for others to invest in you!
#4 Always have a side hustle
I had been planning to write a book for a long. The outline was ready. But something or the other kept happening, and I kept putting it off.
I put the lockdown to its best use, and I took to writing the book.
This was an additional thing I took up. I committed to writing it. As I got into the flow, I was amazed at the sudden superpowers I was blessed with. To my surprise, I finished writing the book in 35 days flat!
It filled me with new energy. I thought I had discovered the new me. And I realized the benefits of having a side hustle.
Here are 7 secret benefits that I discovered –
- Side hustle makes you more creative. I took to writing, which without a doubt was a creative outlet. But any other side hustle requires a lot of creative thinking too.
- Side hustle puts you on a steeper learning curve. For writing, I had to express my thoughts, but it wasn’t just that. I learned how to format my book for kindle and print, how to find the right keywords to be discoverable on kindle, how to connect with people for their reviews, how to market your book, and the list is endless. I learned all of this in just 35 days!
- Side hustle boosts your self-esteem. With so much accomplished, I was full of confidence and my self-esteem got a great boost.
- Side hustle makes you more productive. I wrote the book along with the regular things I was doing throughout the day. It affected none of that. I learned the art of making more time to do what I wanted to do.
- Side hustle helps you connect with people. I reconnected with people I had lost touch with to know their thoughts about the book. I also made some new connections. I am really proud to have an impressive network.
- Side hustle helps you reach your financial goals faster. Oh yeah, it really does.
- Last, Side hustle helps you find your purpose. The writing was a genuine interest I pursued and so was career advancement as a topic. The idea of helping people with career breakthroughs only strengthened.
With so many benefits, I truly have come to believe that a side hustle is a must – irrespective of whatever you do as your regular job.
So pick up a side hustle.
By the way, don’t forget to grab a copy of my book – Double Promotion Half the Effort to learn the 10 proven ways for career breakthroughs!
So these are the career lessons I have learned from the adversities the year 2020 brought along. What are yours?
Would love to hear from you.
Share them at firstname.lastname@example.org