In times of crisis, it’s human nature for our first instinct to be sheer panic. Panic of what’s happening, what’s to come and, overall, just the unknown. 2020 will forever be noted as our generation’s pandemic, as it jolted us in more ways than one. From emotional to economic loss, it’s easy to fall into a hole of uncertainty, both personally and professionally.
But, if this has taught us anything, it is that in such a time of crisis, we must reach for meaning, understanding and self-discovery. It’s intended for us to uncover layers we may not have even thought existed within us. For PR and marketing professionals, some may ask, is this even the right time to explore new or unchartered avenues within my career?
Well, the answer is yes.
Whether you’re on the market for a new job or looking to expand your potential within your current role, there’s no better time to be intentional about leveling up in your career, or reinventing yourself as a professional.
Here are some ways to take action and be deliberate during this extended time of social distancing.
Rub (virtual) shoulders with changemakers.
Whether new business or a potential dream job, your next big opportunity can come in many forms. While successful networking is primarily personal interaction, COVID-19 has taught us we now must be creative with bumping into decision-makers. After all, traditional networking may be dead now, but it’s still very necessary.
Now’s the time to join or become more involved with associations that not only speak to your profession, but also lead to where you see yourself going and growing within the next several years. Attend virtual events or conferences that include a speaker line-up of guests which you aspire to be in the future. To seed the start of a meaningful relationship, make personal introductions with those same people through social media. Whether now or later, that same person could be a catalyst for what’s to come for you professionally.
Since social distancing, another thing we discovered is the gift of time. It’s as if we have an abundance of it now, and for creative professionals, too much downtime can lead you down a path of feeling like you’re in a rut.
Thanks to the virtual powers and possibilities that exist, expanding one’s skill set has never been so easily accessible. Prestigious universities like Harvard and Stanford are offering affordable (and some free!) courses to learn new skills and become acquainted with emerging topics that will fuel and expand your expertise.
Birth a passion project.
While too much downtime could stunt your creative growth, it allows for the opportunity to explore other ideas that fuel your passions. But, you’ve long been putting off because of..well…life before the pandemic.
Under the current circumstances, learning new skill sets can lead to birthing that passion project you’ve been delaying for some time, and could be something very rewarding in the long run. Now, you may feel this is an unwarranted experiment that doesn’t make sense when leveling up your career. However, the purpose is to be a part of something bigger that provokes you to explore new avenues and spark a different way of creative thinking that could then be applied to what you do professionally. For MFG, this became a reality for us when birthing our Act in Solidarity initiative, a pledge challenging agency leaders to commit to eradicate racism, and be the change needed to influence more positive interactions and opportunities for Black industry professionals.
While we’re still in a phase of the unknown, there’s no time like now to embrace and explore. In the business we’re in, ‘wait and see’ doesn’t exist – even if the current circumstances were different. Savvy PR and marketing professionals know that being ahead separates good from greatness. Don’t be a ‘wait and see’ person on the sidelines – get on it now to prepare for what’s to come.