“I miss my colleagues” or “How good it is at home. I hope to stay… a year!” What camp did your career find you on in the pandemic? Maybe you’re even more grateful for your job. Or maybe you don’t want to come back, and you’re already looking at job offers. You may have found your passion for cooking and dream of opening a cosy café with banana bread and leaven bread! ?
Andrei Alexandrescu, ATLAS Coaching Specialist, talks about how the pandemic has affected or helped us in our job life and what are the most frequently received questions in the last two months. Let’s see if we’re going to pick up banana bread or which road we want to go! ?
Career and pandemic – What has changed during this period?
From a natural human inclination or a bias, we went a long way towards pessimism during this period. Keywords such as crisis, stress, depression, loneliness, the negative effects of lack of social contact and walking, etc. were turned around. We’ve even got some in our heads. Our fundamental beliefs about the world and life have been put to the test, some even altered, but we have stayed afloat, demonstrating, once again, our natural resilience to shocks.
Survival, through his instinct, triumphed around us, but also in our thoughts. One of the areas has been and is the whole career – that is, that complex side of our existence, partially constructed, which provides us with data on the meaning that we have, that gathers our values and abilities in a bowl, and that gives us means of survival.
Regarding the two ideas, the beautiful part of this period that came to light both in my practical work, but with the same power and in leisure discussions, was that I quote by summary, it was a period of tranquillity, rest, calm, fresh air and a long time of career-oriented reflection and what would be desirable to do to increase personal satisfaction. It was and is a time when many of us have thought about what skills we have never used before, but whose implementation would bring them enormous satisfaction, what hobbies/passions have been “pulled over” and long forgotten on the grounds that they will never become methods of ensuring financial comfort and, not least, what they wanted to do in childhood, what they do now and what effects this discrepancy produces.
Many have kept themselves active through their involvement in various online or social/volunteer projects – they have realized that they like to help, share their ideas or make more use of their limbs in practical work. All the information about oneself has been put into a mixer, and on the basis of it solid plans for the future have been built – starting in a new field of activity (including in the public area, to ensure stability), career development or further studies in other countries, career orientation according to individual natural skills and inclinations, etc.
From the point of view of actual work, the period of work at home has been mixed with other spices – in some areas the workload has been significantly increased compared to the previous period, in others not. Returning to work is timid, of course, and amid legislative holes. Some lost their job/business; others didn’t. Some economic sectors have rumbled; others have failed. However, there was support from the state (technical unemployment), employers, friends, and families. Speaking of the beliefs we have, it’s not all that black, is it?
What questions do I get most often?
How does coaching/when people turn to coach help? How can a coach help you to get over everything that happens/or doesn’t happen in your life?
Coaching helps fundamentally – a social being cannot see itself as it is (it would also be one of the reasons why the mirror was invented), cannot lift all its blockages, and cannot generate optimal solutions “in solitude.” We have natural inclinations, an interesting way of functioning the brain (very few things are known so far). We have cognitive biases/prejudices, dysfunctional beliefs, and subjective perception. Because of these reasons, we very often don’t understand what’s wrong with us and “why things happen.” We have periods of good energy and motivation, after which they leave us. We want to be successful, but something doesn’t work – the same for money. We don’t know which way to go in life/career/relationships, living in some time periods guided “why fails” – we are not happy, nor unhappy, we are somewhere there, but we want more, and it does not work. The real reasons for coaching have their source of such stories – which is why most of the time (even every time), the core of the problem a client comes up with is not based on the “problem” that he brings out.
A concrete example, as a theme of reflection: I speak two people, the same age, the same level of education, dressed identically. The jobless one says, “I think it’s very hard to find work, especially something to like!”. The other, with a job, but who has also had ups and downs throughout his life, says, “Well, why do I have it?” I know you’d like more data, but, I ask you, as an exercise in instinct and imagination – What distinguishes the two?
Most of the time, people turn to coach in “crisis” situations, so to speak, when they feel they have done everything in their control and are looking for another option. This mode of operation sometimes comes laden with resignation and a stricken self-image, and “walking and working with a specialist” creates in the human mind a hierarchy of power that is not necessarily good and real – the specialist is the guardian of treasures. I want to change this so that working with a coach becomes something natural, human.
As one client used to say to me:
I realized that it’s very important in life to have someone to talk to, to put your thoughts in order, to feel like you have a moment of your own, to make yourself responsible and to have support… a man who’s prepared for that and has talent and passion in what he does. With these, even if you can’t find the 1 million euro solution, you gain a state that motivates you to do pretty much everything you want to do.
And that’s what it’s all about.
What are the opportunities we should not miss?
Many of us have made plans and gained clarity in our thinking about the future during this period. The greatest “opportunity” is precisely to seek opportunities based on personal values/needs/wishes and to take action. The materialization of the opportunity, whatever it may be, is done through action. Without testing reality and keeping our ideas only in the cranial space, we won’t know if our ideas are really good and right for us.
What career challenges are there during this period? Do people turn to a coach in these situations?
The challenges are given by the macroeconomic context as a whole. We’re going through a period that’s not about us and that we didn’t want. That’s the truth, and if we don’t accept it as such, we may create other problems.
How I learned on my skin from a mentor:
Truth makes you attractive (in general terms, without referring only to physical and relationships); you can also agree with it and be attractive (i.e., attract good things for yourself) or resist it and create lying scenarios. Tell me, Andrei, what do you say to yourself when there’s something obvious in front of you, and you’re looking for explanations to say it’s not?
From a technical point of view, career management in coaching has a fundamentally practical valence, and in the background, a flexible working methodology adapted to each. The strategy is to find and unlock the person’s natural abilities, dreams, moments and actions that have brought them satisfaction and have been memorable, etc., and to unite them all in an image that pertains to the individual self. Based on image and clarity, the practice is passed – the short option is to search directly for a job/open a business, with everything that involves this process (if the level of clarity is high), and the extended version involves the realization of a clear action plan.
These actions are intended to give the person the opportunity to “give the taste of a particular activity” to get a career – here they differ greatly depending on the person – people may prefer to document themselves from various sources or through the circle of relationships, others prefer a pragmatic approach, the form of participation in projects in the fields concerned (even their creation), pro-bono/practical work, etc. On the skills and implementation side, there is no methodology, or if someone has done one based on a theory, it completely fails. Things are much more complex, and individuals are unique, including as a learning style. What goes to X does not go copied and for Y.
Our licensed and verified specialists are here at any time of day and night if you need help identifying the problems or opportunities that come with the job. You can contact Andrei if you want to talk to him more about your career!