Aligning Your Career with the New Normal

Today’s post comes to us from Workforce Institute board member and HR Bartender, Sharlyn Lauby.

It goes without saying that there’s been plenty of “bad” associated with the pandemic. And it’s safe to say that we’d all like to see more normal in our personal and professional lives. But maybe a complete return to the past isn’t necessary.

An article in The New York Times recently talked about “How to Keep Good Habits Post-Lockdown”. The gist of the article is that there might be some positive habits we’ve acquired over the past few months that we need to figure out how to keep once we’re back in the office and traveling again. It’s a good read worth checking out.

While The New York Times article focused on our personal habits like cooking, cleaning, and self-care, it does raise the question about our work habits. Have we developed some productive habits that we want to make sure that we keep doing? And are there some realizations we’ve made about what we want from work that we want to remember?

If you’re looking to finish out 2020 with some definite takeaways from the sheltering and distancing experience, check out these Workforce Institute articles for some inspiration.

Work that Excites and People who Inspire

This article from two-time Kronos (Now UKG) intern Megan Grenier makes the case that a great career consists of work that excites and people who inspire. “Over my two summers at Kronos, I have been given ‘real work’. My manager and coworkers did not send me to go on coffee runs or make me stand at the copier for hours. The work I had not only challenged me but was also impactful to the organization. The work I did was fulfilling, it pushed me to work harder, smarter, and better.”

In the words of UKG CEO Aron Ain, “great businesses are run by great people.” Meaningful work and exceptional people are what make a job worthwhile. If you can find that balance, you won’t really work another day in your life.

The Five Components of Career Durability

A new DeVry University study found that at a time when U.S. workers should feel recognized and celebrated, more than a third felt their employers could take or leave them. Thirty-six percent of respondents said that based on their employers’ actions since the start of the pandemic, they believe their employers view them as disposable. This perception resonated more with younger workers than older ones, with almost 50% of Gen Z and Millennials saying they felt disposable compared with approximately 30% Gen X and Boomers.

Respondents did agree that in today’s workforce, tenure, education, and industry experience do not matter as much as hard work, meeting goals and deadlines, and having a positive attitude.

My Top Five Career Lessons

Joyce Maroney, former executive director of The Workforce Institute, shares her takeaways after a successful corporate career. One of them is “You are in charge of managing your career.”

“I know you have bills to pay and a boss to answer to. Those aren’t reasons to remain unhappy indefinitely at work. Every job has its boring, routine, or downright unpleasant aspects. However, if you never feel excited or optimistic at work, it’s worth it to figure out a different path. I’m not saying that making a change is easy. You may need to go back to school. You may need to sacrifice compensation or perks. You may need to sacrifice a title. I experienced all of these and lived to tell about it. Don’t let fear or ego stop you from doing what you need to do to get to a better place.”

It’s important for us to take time to regularly evaluate our career progress. Make sure that what we want in a career aligns with what we’re currently doing. And if we see gaps, then put together a plan to address them. Maybe it’s setting new goals. Or speaking with our manager. Regardless, the key to achieving career success is knowing what we want and working toward that goal.

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