“Grabbing the Tiger King by the Tail (and other COVID-19 personal and professional coping tips)” – April 9, 2020
For the overwhelming number of Americans now living under “shelter-in-place” guidelines, it’s fair to say that every day seems much the same as any other. That certainly doesn’t mean any new normal has taken hold. Not with estimates from the Economic Policy Institute and the United Nations that suggest the COVID-19 outbreak may cause the loss of the 3 million jobs in the U.S. and 25 million worldwide by summer, respectively.
Few things remain the same as they did just a month or so ago. We’ve been separated from our passions as surely as we’ve been separated from each other. Social distancing—by no less than six feet—along with shuttered restaurants, bars, theaters, malls, amusement parks, zoos, libraries, and non-essential retail stores, among dozens of others, have fundamentally changed life to the core.
And yet, some fundamentals remain.
Foremost among them is the need to earn and keep a job. Or, to find in a better one. The Coronavirus has even changed that on every level. That said, opportunities are still out there. Taking advantage of them will require presenting yourself at your professional best. And to do that, well, that will require some changes in thinking on a daily basis.
Here are four suggestions to get the wheels turning:
- Feed your mind, body, and spirit. You must trust in your talents and fully accept yourself for who you are, what you’ve done, and where you stand. Angling to put a different spin on past accomplishments won’t do the job. Instead, apply your energies to being constructive during the downtime. Learn something new or refresh your studies within your field. Take time to eat right, exercise, meditate, and get plenty of sleep.
Stress is an energy vampire in the best of times. Now, in the age of COVID-19, it can drain your immune system to dangerously low levels. Go ahead and binge-watch Tiger King if it gives you a kick, but make it the exception and not the rule of what you put into your head. Most of all, pace yourself and try not to take on everything at once. Be patient and live respectfully with others around you, especially at home.
- Block out anything that doesn’t boost. The infection and fatality numbers are bad. Likely to get far worse in the days, weeks, and months ahead before they get better. Staying glued to the updates as they come in, like they were the latest tallies in a PBS fund drive, is going to be nothing but counterproductive. Far better, then, to develop alternative downtime habits apart from following the blow-by-blow on the news and potentially spreading false information through social media.
Instead, cherish your relationships with your closest family members and friends. Call mom and dad, often. Never pass on the chance if you can, while you can. Especially today, when every contact by phone or through apps like FaceTime can help us better cope with all the drama. Unfortunately, for now, getting back to normal isn’t an option. On the other hand, doing normal things—like laughing regularly and even crying occasionally for so many in the midst of such widespread heartbreak—comes highly recommended.
- Double-down on what you do the best. If you have consistently made a living as a professional in any field for any reasonable length of time, you have got a story worth telling. Persevering in a chosen occupation, despite unexpected circumstances or changes in employment, can be a powerful part of the narrative. The loss of a job isn’t nearly as impactful as showing the resiliency to come back from it.
By and large, reworking past glories in the resume format only goes so far. As famous author and religious theorist Charles Swindoll once wrote, life may indeed be 10% of what happens to us and 90% of how we react to it. Given that context, your resume should primarily emphasize not the best of what you’ve done, but rather, the best of what you’re capable of doing.
- Keep your friends close and your contacts closer. The links between your resume and LinkedIn profile should seamless in every respect. That stands to reason, particularly in light of the fact that the platform’s user community is more than 500 million strong. As a general rule, you should always be looking to add the most sought-after influencers to your contact list.
Position yourself as the “hero” of your own story and you’ll likely attract similarly minded, brand-driven professionals to your page. In turn, when you follow stories or posts from other contributors, you’ll open up direct paths toward meaningful dialogues. Most every aspect of modern business is changing, but the one that will remain the same is the value of building relationships.
You never know when you’ll be in the position to either request—or grant—a favor.
For the time being, all of us at Resume Professors want you to know that our hopes and prayers are fully behind those stricken by COVID-19 and the medics, nurses, doctors, and support professionals who are risking their lives on the front lines to save them.
The Coronavirus tiger will meet its master.
With or without any help from Joe Exotic.
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