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July 17, 2022

What You Can Do To Advance Your Career When Everything Looks Awful

The Challenges We Must Deal With Doom and gloom are what most people feel about our current situation. Going online or watching cable television news, all you see and hear are negative news about the economy, inflation, and rising costs. There is unrelenting bitter bickering in Washington, D.C., the plummeting stock market, and housing prices declining as interest […]

The Challenges We Must Deal With

Doom and gloom are what most people feel about our current situation. Going online or watching cable television news, all you see and hear are negative news about the economy, inflation, and rising costs. There is unrelenting bitter bickering in Washington, D.C., the plummeting stock market, and housing prices declining as interest rates rise. The litany of woes also include increased crime, school shootings, the war in Ukraine, fear over the recent waves of layoffshiring freezes and job offers rescinded.

The challenge is to go about your life and work with all these awful things hanging over your head. It's hard to stay positive when you’re barraged with negativity. You rightly worry about holding onto your job. If you commute into New York City or San Francisco, there is a reasonable concern for your safety. Young adults, new to the job market and excited about moving to Manhattan, are confronted with apartments with an average monthly rental cost of $5,000.00 per month.

To survive and thrive during this challenging time, you need to build a strategy for success. This includes both tending to your mental health and successfully navigating your career. Here are some tips to help you manage your work-life during these tumultuous times.

These Tips May Seem Simple, But They Work

The business world is like a game; you need to understand the rules and play to win. There are simple first steps to take. Ensure that everything you do makes you the go-to person within your division. By always taking on the complex assignments and helping out your boss and peers, you’ll be deemed an essential person who won’t be under consideration when talks of downsizing come up.

Cultivate a vast network. Forget about the negative old-school stereotype of networking. You want to have a large base of like-minded people who want to help each other succeed. It is an intelligent way to learn about job openings before they’re posted online. You’ll find out about the hidden job market as a friend will tell you about an internal opening before anyone else.

Check your ego. Listen more than you talk. Be open to new ideas. When you succeed in a project, publicly offer accolades to everyone else involved. Find a mentor. Return the favor by tutoring a protege.

Avoid office politics and gossiping at all costs. Don’t over-promise and underdeliver. Set expectations lower and exceed them. Avoid engaging in conversations regarding politics, social issues or religion. It’s a no-win endeavor, and the chances are high that you’ll end up hurting someone’s feelings in today's compassionate environment and get called into human resources.

Don’t Get Defeated

If you are worried about being laid off or have been downsized, it's understandable to feel anxious, upset and resentful. Although it's reasonable to feel this way, carrying the weight of the world around won’t help. Attending interviews with the baggage of resentment due to a layoff that you had no control over will end badly as the interviewer senses your unresolved feelings of hostility.

The hiring managers involved with the process get why you are coming across as a little moody and short-tempered, but inwardly they feel it's not their problem. They’d instead pass on a person who they deem malcontent in favor of another candidate that projects a positive and enthusiastic attitude.

It would help if you did some inner work on yourself. Take time to reset, refocus on priorities, and realign yourself with your goals. It’s not possible to be your best self when you are doing things that are self-harming. Make sure you regularly monitor yourself for signs of destructive behavior that end up hurting you and the people around you. It's not easy, but things will start coming together when you’ve accepted the termination or have to tread water every day, hoping you’ll survive.

Start with thinking of all the positive things in your life. Appreciate and focus on what is going well with you and your family. Substitute ruminations of negativity with more positive and productive thoughts.

Take good care of yourself. Focus on being the best version of yourself. People will notice the positive changes. You’ll start attracting higher-level projects. Leaders will want to partner with you, headhunters will begin to solicit you for jobs based on your reputation, and bosses will offer raises and promotions to keep you from leaving for another opportunity.

Avoid Comparing Yourself To Others

We all look at our university friends and former coworkers and feel a twinge of regret and jealousy. Their careers and lives seem so much better than yours. It’s a natural tendency for this to happen, but don’t give in to constantly comparing and benchmarking yourself to others. It's a losing game. The only person you want to compare yourself to is yourself, and you want to focus on improving your own life and not pay attention to others.

You never know the backstory of those whose careers you covet. They may have been lucky, being in the right place at the right time. Maybe a parent of a family friend hooked them up with a great job which led to their meteoric rise and success. Think of all the sad stories you hear about famous people.

Many had terrible things happen to them and their loved ones. Some people who look successful from the outside are inwardly sad, lonely and depressed. Since you never honestly know what someone else is going through, it's not worth the time and energy to compare yourself to others.

Take Action

After taking time to process everything that’s happened, grieving the loss of a job or lamenting your precarious position in your career, switch over to a plan of action. Rather than continuing complaining, think of how you can better your situation. Brainstorm with people you trust who always have the correct answers. Figure out what you’d like to do next. Write down bullet points of how you can execute your plan.

Everything is on the table. It could be pivoting to a new role, completely reinventing yourself by pursuing a new career, returning to college or subscribing to online courses to learn new skills that will open doors.

If you are in a job that you hate or live in fear of being the next person selected for being let go, start searching for a new role. Get in touch with headhunters, and seek advice and job leads from your network. Join LinkedIn, the premiere career and job seeker platform. Then post content, connect with people in your field, and get on the radar of human resource personnel and hiring managers at the companies you want to work for.

Look After Your Mental Health And Emotional Well-Being

It's easy to give up. Don’t do it. In addition to focusing on your career, take care of yourself. It's essential to exercise, eat healthily, pursue social activities, and spend time with your family and friends. Take up hobbies and do things that make you happy. These actions will put you into a better mindset. Your decisions will be made with greater clarity as you're coming from a place of strength.

People in the office or when you interview will pick up on your attitude and notice that you seem happier. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Managers and coworkers want to be with happy and motivated people and avoid negative folks trying to drag them down.

You’ll find out that you perform better in interviews with an improved mindset. A multiplier effect kicks in. With the attention and accolades, your mood keeps improving, you have more energy, your product improves, and you’ll start receiving more job offers. At work, you’ll be given higher-end responsibilities and top-tier clients.

Remember that you may not be able to solve the world’s problems, but you can do your part to improve your work-life and the situation for those around you.

Article written by:  Orville Lynch, Jr.
Mr. Lynch, a member of the legendary two-time Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame Award winning Lynch Family. Mr. Lynch is a nationally recognized urban media executive with over 20+ years of diversity recruitment and serial entrepreneur with numerous multi-million dollar exits.

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