COVID-19 has dramatically changed how we all live and work. Many of us are looking for new careers after being laid off or we are looking to make a change in a very uncertain environment. While life can certainly feel a bit out of control these days, taking charge and building a career you love is still very much within your reach!
On October 14th, 2020, the BWF Community engaged in an hour-long discussion on the topic of Work in the Time of COVID-19: The Changing Future of Career Progression. Below is a brief recap of this program and the bios of our speakers.
This year has proven to be life-changing for many, whether it be child or elder care obligations, health challenges, or just looking for a sense of normalcy. How can we continue to proactively plan for steady career growth in unforeseen and turbulent times? Sometimes this seems impossible with everything else we are juggling right now. How can we remain positive when our energy is zapped from all of the other challenges that this pandemic has thrown at us?
Tips, Perspectives and Advice
When the pressure gets too great, it is important to take a step back. Everyone you meet is facing different challenges. Some are feeling the stress of unemployment while others are feeling the heavy burden of taking on additional work because of lay-offs and cutbacks. When we combine this with home-schooling and hybrid schedules for our children, there is no wonder that our anxiety is through the roof! It is important to give ourselves grace during this time and also be considerate and supportive of our friends and colleagues who are also struggling.
It is important for us to remember that the ecosystem of our career is for us to decide. Even when a bomb gets dropped into the middle of it, we still have the power to regroup and make our careers what we want them to be. Set specifics for what you want and refuse to go back in your career progression. Even if you are asked to take on tasks that are outside your typical responsibilities, continue to be transparent and honest about your career goals. It is important to be able to demonstrate that you can pivot and help out when necessary but don’t let these pivots derail you from your ultimate career goals.
Communication / Staying Focused and Committed
In our session we talked a lot about communication. While it is important to adapt and take on more work because of these unprecedented times, we also need to continue to advocate for ourselves. Now more than ever, we need to be purposeful and move forward with vision and confidence. Opportunity is out there, regardless of circumstance. It is important to continue to learn and grow during this time. Maybe the job you are in really isn’t the best fit. Perhaps the company doesn’t have the culture you are looking for. Know that you have the power to still make changes. They just might not happen overnight.
Managing up and maintaining visibility is crucial during this time. It is critical to have candid and open conversations with leadership. It’s not easy to remain visible when your boss can’t see you in the office every day. Continue to focus on your executive presence. Be an active participant on zoom calls and turn on your video so your colleagues can “see” your active engagement.
The Power of Humility
Humble and modest leaders are willing to put aside their ego and empower others. This makes us better and more successful. It is important to check in on colleagues and ask people if they need help. Be mindful of what people are going through. Everyone is facing something different and many of our colleagues are feely very isolated whether they live alone or not. Many people just want to talk or vent so be a good listener and help build people up and make them feel valued.
This quote from Maya Angelou is always timely….”People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
About Our Speakers
Kayla Moncayo, Employee Relations Advocate
Kayla Moncayo is an Austin, TX based HR professional with a specialty in Employee Relations. Kayla has worked in the government, non-profit, and private sectors around the globe and believes in a human centered, vulnerability-based HR practice. Kayla’s expertise is in crisis management, investigations, data analysis, and stakeholder relations. When Kayla isn’t practicing HR she’s enjoying her family and her dog Ezra, advocating for the Black Lives Matter Movement and the LGBTQ+ community, riding horses, and drinking lots of wine.
Meghan Beaupre, Principal, Private Equity M&A, Mercer
Meghan is a dynamic, vision-driven people leader with an extensive background in Total Rewards and HR Operations. Formerly an HR executive at Unidine and United Site Services, Meghan has worked in highly transformative and acquisitive environments where she managed teams and organizations through significant change. In her current role, she works with Private Equity firms on human capital strategy for platform and add-on deals to ensure there is a roadmap for the integration and professionalization of the HR function. Meghan is a highly collaborative and inclusive facilitator with a focus on elevating people and creating high-performing teams, and a firm believer in emotional intelligence and leading with empathy and authenticity.