By Dr. Cindy McGovern
If your big plan for 2020 was to finally land your dream job, it might be time to make a new plan.
The health crisis and the shaky economy are slowing everything down, including your progress toward your next level of earning, promotion and job satisfaction.
Still, don’t let it get you off track. What you do right now could determine what you get to do once your dream job becomes available.
It’s OK if the job you have now isn’t your dream job. It’s OK if you have accepted temporary work as a store cashier, a bartender, a warehouse packer, a delivery driver or a maid while you wait for the position you really want. It’s OK if you have decided to go back to school and are making that your job for now.
Or at least it will be OK if you embrace your job—whatever it is—and give it your all.
No matter what job you have right now, treat it as if it’s your dream job. Do your best work. Greet your bosses, co-workers and customers—in person or online—with a smile. Treat your work as if it’s the most important thing you will ever do. Be a team player. Go the extra mile. Exude gratitude.
That attitude could lead you to your actual dream job.
This is a surefire way to be taken seriously at work, even if you are younger than your colleagues. If you take your work as a bartender seriously, treat it as important and do your best possible work, others will believe that you will take a job as the bar manager or the bar owner or the distribution coordinator seriously and that you will work hard at that, too. No matter what you do, own your work and be proud of it.
Everything you do will tell others something about you. Everything you do will sell someone on something.
Do you want to sell them on helping you get your dream job? Or are your behavior and attitude selling them on believing you don’t deserve to have it?
Think of it this way: What impression are you making on your bosses, professors, colleagues and friends who, when times get better, will be the ones your potential employers will call for references? Based on what you do and how you behave now, what will they say about you later?
Nobody knows how long the pandemic will last. Nobody knows when employers will start hiring again. Nobody knows when Friday date nights, Saturday night parties and Sunday afternoon cookouts will be safe and normal again.
Embrace this time of fewer commitments, obligations and deadlines to make a new plan—one that will guarantee you will be ready to go out and get your dream job as soon as the opportunity presents itself.
Make a backup plan
So Plan A isn’t possible right now. That’s no reason to hide under the covers all day. Instead, make a Plan B.
Plan B is what you will do right now instead of what you had thought, hoped, dreamed or expected you would do. Plan B is what you will do right now instead of doing nothing because you don’t have a job or you don’t have the job you want. Plan B is what you will do when you realize that the impact of the pandemic is going to last for a long, long time, and you can’t just wait around for things to get back to normal.
You can’t change the state of the world right now. What you can change, however, are your attitude, your mindset, your decisions, your behavior—and your plans. Here are 10 things you can do to get started:
1. Embrace this opportunity to rethink your next steps. What, exactly, is your dream job? How will you go about getting it—eventually?
2. Create a new plan for how you will spend your time until that day comes. Your plan should be realistic for the near future.
3. Make a strategy for eventually transitioning from your short-term solution to a permanent or longer-term situation.
4. Learn and practice new skills that will make you more employable (or more fun, a better friend, more well-rounded, smarter, more amazing).
5. Spend time thinking about what you really want, for now and forever.
6. Craft a personal brand for yourself that will help you get what you really want.
7. Figure out what’s important to you—not just for your career, but for your family, friendships and mental health.
8. Reach out to those who have helped you, mentored you, taught you and befriended you, and say “thank you.”
9. Outline the steps you will take, post-pandemic, to make a real contribution to the world we live in, whatever that may look like once the crisis passes.
10. Get ready to go. Prepare yourself for the time when you can get out of the house and start your search for your dream job, your new company, your campaign or whatever your next thing is.
Dr. Cindy McGovern, CEO of Orange Leaf Consulting and Author of the Wall Street Journal best seller Every Job is a Sales Job: How to Use the Art of Selling to Win at Work