Guys! We made it.
As we wrap up the year, I am filled with several emotions, especially gratitude. 2020 is just one year but it feels like a decade to me. A lot happened this year – the pandemic, #Blacklivesmatter, #EndSars – but you, my friends, are still here, and for that, I am thankful.
This year, due to the pandemic, the workforce experienced a drastic reform; many companies were forced to operate remotely for a long time. With fewer people going into offices, cafes, and other public spaces, the chances to make connections locally (and internationally) decreased. At the same time, people spent more time communicating online, and we saw geography become practically irrelevant.
Let me share a few things I have learned in 2020:
Adaptability is a life skill
This year, many of us were forced to become more flexible and adapt quickly to the ‘new normal.’ Beyond being a survival skill, adaptability became a life skill – it allowed us to see the possibilities in unanticipated events. Our ‘typical’ routine became distorted, and no one was given time to rehearse or prepare for this, we all just moved. Now, in seeking prospective candidates, recruiters watch out for those who can quickly adapt to unprecedented circumstances.
No! Tech is not overrated
This year, the majority of us had to depend on technology to keep in touch with the world. With the restriction on movement, almost everything had to be done online, from graduations to weddings to medical consultations to talent management (recruitment, exit, etc) to board meetings, conferences, webinars, and so on. Technology gave us the platform to truly live without borders, and we did so much with so little. For example, the World Economic Forum reported that there was a 180% increase in remote job postings on LinkedIn from March to May and a 130% increase in applications. To advance in your career, take advantage of technology and stay abreast of the technological trends in your industry.
Digital footprint matters
During the shelter-in-place order, many people were glued to their phones and more connected on social media. This made it easy for most people to pay attention to online content. I read of people who got head-hunted because of their content on LinkedIn. This is a testament that people are watching, and we must be deliberate about what we share online. Remember, the internet never forgets.
Visibility is not a myth
In June, I shared why visibility was essential and how we can stay visible while working remotely, and I believe it is important to reiterate this. The year 2020 has shown that being available is not enough, you must be seen. To achieve this, you have to be intentional and strategic about your personal brand so you don’t become extinct because you are out of sight.
Develop your personal brand beyond job titles/workplace
A lot of people lost their jobs this year due to the pandemic. This shows that while your job title and workplace form part of your personal brand, that shouldn’t be all there is to you. So beyond working for your boss, remember that you are working on your skill, reputation, connections, and so on. Limiting your brand to your employer or workplace will be underrating yourself.
Personal development doesn’t have to be expensive
I have attended some of the best conferences this year simply because there was no need for logistics. I saw courses that were affordable, some were free and many people organised IG live sessions. This year, I attended a lot of conferences from the comfort of my home. We did much with ‘little’ (data). This shows that we can do more.
Your relationship matters
This year has shown among many things that access is almost everything. We saw people using their networks to get referrals for job opportunities. And truthfully, it is beyond the quantity but rather cultivating strategic and authentic relationships.
You need a sponsor
As many of us worked remotely, the subject of sponsorship came to the fore. We saw the top management of organizations meet to decide the fate of their staff. You need to ask yourself: “who is speaking for me at the decision-making table?” No matter how good you are at your job, the truth is that we all need someone to mention our name behind closed doors.
The year has been undeniably a difficult one yet many people showed up for one another. We saw people become more compassionate and kind towards each other. An example is the contribution of relief materials to underprivileged people during the pandemic, and the contribution of resources to help protesters during the #EndSARS protests. People became kinder, more understanding, and more united. As we go into the new year, we should all learn to practice empathy more.
What lessons did you learn in 2020? Share with me.