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How to 'rejoin' the world as a more effective you

Covid-19 has been a welcomed 4x2 to the face for me, and I hope I’m not the only one.

This time of reduced outings, reduced pay, reduced connection and interaction means there’s been space. Forced space and time which can (and sometimes does) create loneliness, but it can also create opportunity. 

Opportunity to learn a bit more about ourselves (i.e. self-awareness), about the type of people we’d like to be when we finally get dressed out of our PJs and join our colleagues or the workforce again.

Side Note: I am very well aware, that there is a large portion of our community that has not had the luxury of time ‘off’ to think or be home. Granted, these people would absolutely still be learning massive amounts about themselves, and the rest of us! Because of these people, our decisions and steps forward as we ‘rejoin’ the working world, are even more important.

Now, I’m not talking about learning new languages, getting online degrees and starting YouTube channels. If you have managed to accomplish these things, then props to you my friend. 

My accomplishments have been more like, watching every episode of the US Office and The Blacklist and finally using that buckwheat flour I bought a year ago.

Without selling myself short, I have more importantly used this downtime to conduct a self audit, reassessing my values and objectives and I encourage everyone to take a mirror to themselves, however confronting it may be.

Before COVID-19 really kicked off, I started a new job. A great, exciting, corporate job with good money, exciting prospects, great title for the CV, you get the idea.

On my third day, just after my direct report and I had high-fived each other in a meeting room due to a breakthrough, we were all called to the gourd floor to hear that the business would be closing.

Just like that.

There’s plenty an article and you can look up my LinkedIn profile if you’d like to connect the dots, but it’s irrelevant info here. I’m grateful for that opportunity and experience. I was ready to jump straight back into looking for similar roles, having still been in the honeymoon phase of a new role where you rock up early, and where the new clothes.

And COVID-19 made that more challenging. Less jobs to apply more, more competition, but I’m a person that believes everything happens for a reason. I left my last job for a reason. This company ended for reasons. And there’s a reason/lesson to be taken out of this madness so many of us find ourselves in now.

I don’t know what the reasons are for you, but for me it’s been a reason to take stock. I’ve asked myself these questions, so maybe, now that restrictions are lifting, and some of you are finding yourselves wondering, “what next?”, these questions can help you a little.

  • Do I want those corporate jobs, or do I have passions and values that are more aligned to a different industry or job function? 

  • What can I live without, or what am I willing to sacrifice to do the work I want?

  • Have I let go of something or some skill in the past that I wish I could still engage with now?

  • What would I have to set up, in order to do that again?

  • Is there room for volunteering? 

  • What charities, NGOs, and NFPs are doing it tough right now that I care about and could help?

  • If money was no object, what do I wish I was doing?

  • Could I afford to work casually or part time and leave some room for the side hustle I’ve spoken about for years?

  • How long could I make that work before potential panic kicks in?

You may have already asked yourself all of the above, so the second instalment of questions is really around how do we maintain this new found level of ‘enlightenment’. 

  • What have I learnt that I really want to hold onto?

  • What practises or habits did I start that might be challenging to maintain when I start work again, and how can I protect these?

  • Who will I check in with to help me ensure some of my COVID-19 goals stay on track?

  • What commitments can I set up now, so that I’m ready to go?

  • How will I be kind to myself if I can’t maintain it all?

You may not have experienced big, life altering changes, but chances are there was something you reflected on and realised could be different, improved or savoured more.

Whatever it is, I hope you find a great balance as you return to the new normal!

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