Forbes Coaches Council
When COVID-19 quickly spread across the United States in March, our daily routines changed almost overnight. While adapting to stay-at-home orders, many individuals have been using the additional time around the house in productive ways, such as catching up on reading, tackling repair projects or learning a new skill. This should also be a time to take stock of your career and reinvent yourself.
There are some great examples of how people have all been able to adapt to this new situation, largely through technology and creativity. Many couples are still getting married, albeit with guests watching from laptops or from a far distance. People are still buying and selling homes, carefully, of course. Kids are still working on schoolwork at home, and virtual high school graduations are being planned.
Despite the circumstances our country is facing right now, there are still many reasons to feel optimistic about your future and your career. While we have been forced to make temporary changes to our lifestyle, we don’t have to put our lives on hold. As many people have altered their routines and are now spending more time at home, this is the perfect time to take stock of your career and reinvent yourself.
History suggests that this is a good time to start something new.
As we all try to navigate through this current situation, it can be instructive to look back into the past. The Great Depression (1929-1939) seems like the absolute worst time to start a business, but a lot of success stories began then. Just a few of them include:
• Publix Super Market: The supermarket chain was founded on September 6, 1930, almost a year after the Great Depression began. It’s a pretty interesting story. The founder, George W. Jenkins, was a store manager at a Piggy Wiggly. When the chain started struggling, he quit and took $1,300 that he was planning on using to buy a car and put it into Publix. When he died in 1996, it was a $9 billion company. Now its estimated worth is $38 billion.
• E. & J. Gallo Winery: The family winery began in 1933, when the Great Depression was well underway. It’s now worth almost $10 billion.
• Westin Hotels & Resorts: Founded in 1930.
• Clark: Now operating gas stations in 32 states, the company started in 1932.
• Meijer: Popular in the Midwest, the department store began in 1934.
And while the franchise industry was in its infancy, I’d be remiss to point out that in the 1930s, White Castle was doing very well, probably because its 10-cent hamburgers were just what an impoverished nation needed.
As long as someone has ambition and enthusiasm, there’s no reason they can’t make a career change at any time and become very successful.
You may have more free time than you’re used to.
A lot of people joke on social media about all the free time they have while being at home. That may or may not be true for you, but if you do have extra time, these months in some ways may be a gift.
Turn off the news, block out all the outside noise and focus on the opportunity you have with your free time to reassess your career and what you want to get out of it. After all, you may finally now have the time to really educate yourself, become aware and discover what your Career 2.0 might look like. There are all sorts of things you can do to move forward if you think about it. A lot of career-building is spent at a computer and in your home, anyway.
You are more powerful and ambitious than you realize.
Either the threat of this pandemic will eventually be minimized or the virus is going to stick around. Regardless, we will probably have to coexist with this virus for a while. Meanwhile, a lot of us are going to look back on how we spent this time and wonder if we put our time to its best use. Baking bread, reading books, organizing the family album, appreciating your family — those are all things that feed the soul and are excellent ways to spend time. But so is thinking about and planning for the future.
It doesn’t matter what point in history you are living. Pandemic or not, your career goals are still going to happen … if you want them to.