Sustaining your Career Asset Amid Social Distancing

As an outcome of the COVID-19 health crisis, we’re beginning to see an unfortunate uptick in reported layoffs, downsizings and other negative job-related impacts. Regardless if your job is at risk or not, networking and ensuring your skills are up-to-date are always good career asset habits to practice.

It would be easy to say “I can’t invest in my career and adhere to social distancing at the same time.” This is simply not true. While it may require some additional creativity, social distancing does not limit your ability to network and participate in virtual learning opportunities. And investing in these habits contributes to the value of your career asset.Career networking and social distancing

“When the pandemic hit the US, I actually saw a decrease in activity with my coaching clients,” said Jane Dolan, a personal certified coach and owner of JEDInc Consulting (jedincconsulting.com).

“I think for a while, people were adjusting to new ways of working and interacting that they forgot about investing in themselves.” Dolan reports that now many of her clients who pressed the “pause” button for a time are returning in full force for coaching. According to Dolan, her clients are now more comfortable receiving coaching virtually where in the past they may have insisted on face-to-face sessions.

“Social distancing forced people to learn new ways of interacting and working using technology. Being forced to use those technologies on the job helped make people feel more comfortable using them beyond purely business applications. There is no excuse not to be networking,” Dolan added.

“Conferences and other large group gatherings have been cancelled, but there is a ton of content available to help people work on advancing skills, much of which is offered at no-cost,” she said. Many industry conferences have made adjustments to accommodate virtual attendance. While it’s not exactly the same as being able to network and learn in person, there’s no excuse for letting your career languish when so many alternatives are readily available.

LinkedIn is a tool that allows you to build and stay connected to your network even when you can’t physically be in contact. Making sure you’re keeping your network engaged with and informed about your skills, talents, accomplishments and more will put you ahead of talent competition if/when a job search becomes necessary.

Dolan also suggests setting up virtual coffee breaks with people as another way to stay connected to your network. Online video conferencing through tools like Zoom, GoToMeeting, Facebook Messenger, or Google Hangouts make it easy and cost effective to stay in touch.

Now is actually a great time to be taking advantage of technologies, coaching, and on-line learning opportunities that can be seamlessly integrated into your normal workday. Continuous learning and networking are two habits that can help keep your career asset producing returns for your financial well-being. Don’t let social distancing deter you from diminishing those returns.

Michael Haubrich, CFP® is a fee-only financial planner and Certified Senior Advisor® with Financial Service Group Inc., a registered investment advisory firm at 4812 Northwestern Ave., online at www.ToYourWealth.com

As seen in the Racine Journal Times | July 2020

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