How To Uplevel Your Career Even In The Wake Of A Recession - Part One
You've probably heard about (or may have been impacted by) the layoffs at Meta, Twitter, and other large companies recently. And while yes, it is scary, I'm here to tell you that everything is going to be ok.
Remember that you have survived 100% of your most difficult days, and today is no exception.
If you see the headlines pointing to the doom and gloom of an upcoming recession, it's hard not to buy into the hype and fear of it all. If you're an empath or highly sensitive person, it's double hard to filter it all out and find your truth amongst the chaos. So in this series, I'm sharing some practical ways you can set yourself up for success, internally and externally, in the wake of a recession.
Let's get into it.
For part one of this little series, we are focusing on the practical. What can you do to recession-proof yourself and even uplevel your career and life, right now?
A lot of people in the career space talk about "upskilling" because it is a powerful, affordable, and effective way to increase the value you bring to your work. But what most people don't talk about is which courses or skills are worth your time, energy, and money.
How do you decide which skills to add to your repertoire?
There are two easy ways to go about this, and ideally, the skills you add would check one, if not both of these boxes.
First, ask yourself what you are genuinely interested in learning, even if you think it is totally unrelated to your job or career path.
Because your interests are like breadcrumbs that can lead you toward doing work you actually love. And even if you take a course just because you enjoy the subject, and it doesn't turn into a revenue stream, it still matters.
Not only does learning new skills add to your life in meaningful ways, but it doubles as a secret networking opportunity.
Putting yourself in spaces with like-minded people is a great way to leverage the Happenstance Career Theory of Stanford University professor John Krumboltz. You never know whom you might meet in that watercolor class you've been wanting to take for years but never found the courage or time until now.
Watercolor painting might not be a new revenue stream (although it definitely could be), but the more people you connect with, the larger your network becomes. Especially when you think about the fact that each person you meet has a whole network of their own. So if you find yourself looking for a new job, or clients to add to your new business venture, having friends in your corner and being part of a community is invaluable.
Second, take a look at the roles, fields, or even job descriptions that genuinely interest you, even if you think you're not qualified to do them.
Notice what skills or certifications they require. Choosing just one that you are interested in learning can give you a huge boost in terms of employability, credibility, and value.
The dream is to add skills that are both in demand for the work you want to do and genuinely interest you. These are the skills that will help you uplevel your work and enjoy what you do.
Some great places to look for affordable courses are LinkedIn learning, Grow with Google, Coursera, and Udemy.
You can also check out and join professional organizations in your industry (or an industry you're looking to break into). These are amazing places to find training, courses, and networking opportunities.
2. Add additional income streams by doing things you enjoy
What do you love to do? Almost any hobby or interest can be repurposed into a stream of income, and hobbies can make excellent side hustles or even careers.
*I will add a disclaimer here, which is that asking your hobby to make you money can be tricky, and should be done with caution. Monetizing a hobby can lead to a decreased interest in the thing you once loved to do. But, if done consciously and thoughtfully, it can be a great way to add a cushion to your finances.
There are so many skills that are in demand and so many creative ways to make money using the skills and knowledge you already have.
Do you enjoy writing? Copywriting or editing is a growing and in-demand field, and one you can do remotely and as a freelancer.
Love to cook or bake? Why not teach a course? Or start a recipe blog?
Ask yourself what else you can do to generate income that would be fun. It's important that it fills your bucket, and doesn't drain you.
What would you feel so lucky to get paid for? What comes easily and naturally to you? Start there and try it out. See how it feels, and always be willing to course-correct if needed.
In the book Free Agent Nation, author Daniel Pink outlines the importance of having multiple streams of income, and a greater say in how and when we work.
He points out that if we have only one income stream, that makes us vulnerable to losing it all in the event of layoffs.
Having multiple streams is like diversifying your portfolio of assets.
If one goes down, we have several others to rely on. I highly recommend checking out his book, it's full of inspiration, ideas, and insights worth reading.
3. Connect with your people
I really hate the word "networking." It makes me think of overly confident men in suits glad-handing each other around a big, boardroom table. Bleh.
I like to think of networking as just connecting with people. Any people. It doesn't have to be with the agenda of gaining new opportunities. Your network is just the people who know and trust you.
Yes, that includes your friends and family and co-workers and your neighbor's dog.
I'll tell you a funny story about how I got a job in the most roundabout way.
In 2014 I followed a hunch to move to Denver, CO. I had a few friends there but that was about it.
When I first arrived I was couch surfing at a friend's house. One day, his roommate's friend came over and we started chatting in the kitchen.
She opened up to me about her life and relationship struggles (I'm a good listener so this happens to me a lot).
The next thing I know, she's inviting me to join her and her friends at brunch the next day.
"Sure! Why not?"
At brunch, I sat across from a friend of hers who asked me what I do. I told him I had just moved to the area and was looking for a job in social work.
"I have a friend who works for a non-profit doing social work, I'll connect you."
And that's how I got my first job in the social work field, where I stayed for three years.
Did I go into that brunch thinking I would get a job out of it? No.
But that's the power of connecting with your people and sharing about what you do, what you are passionate about, and what opportunities you are looking for.
I challenge you to chat with three people this week about where you would like to be headed career-wise. You never know whom they know, and how they might help you get there.
Let me know how it goes!
Looking for more guidance and support in up-leveling your career? I've got a (very affordable) workshop coming up just for you!
Here's a little sneak peek... message me if you want more info!