How to Level Up in Times of Crises

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Photo by Bluehouse Skis on Unsplash

I was finally gaining traction at my job.

I’d just hit my year mark as a project manager at a marketing agency. Even as Covid-19 took over every work-related project, I (naively) thought we were in good shape.

And then I was laid off, alongside ⅓ of our staff.

I’ll be honest, it took at least a week to move through the 5 stages of grief — mourning the loss of my full-time salary, health insurance, and idea of stability.

It’s like quarantine has pressed “pause” on our lives. The temptation is to pretend these months don’t count. Sit back, buckle up, let’s wait until it’s over… so we can pick up where we left off.

A nationwide poll revealed that 77% of the laid-off or furloughed workers believe they’ll be rehired, while a recent report from the Becker Friedman Institute “predicts 42% of the recent layoffs from the pandemic will result in permanent job losses.”

The future of our working world isn’t the same (as much as we wish it could be!). Like it or not, Covid-19 has irrevocably changed the way we do things… remote work, Zoom meetings and conference calls, online education. The digital space is blowing up.

The best advice in our current climate (for everyone, not only those who have lost their jobs!) is to diversify your skills and your income.

I began to look at quarantine as an opportunity — a chance to reevaluate where I am now, and where I want to be.

I realized I couldn’t — I wouldn’t — allow myself to come out of this quarantine the same person who went into it.

The self-improvement project is underway. This includes (but is not limited to): journaling, becoming a better writer, creating a profile on a dating app (a story for another day), investing in online courses, baking, reading, publishing my work on Medium, and learning to code.

I’ve started 3 side hustles in the last 6 weeks.

These are the 3 opportunities I’ve identified to both (1) leverage my current skill set and (2) build new expertise and increase my value:

Writing / Freelancing

Writing opens doors.

“I picked up a pen, and I wrote my own deliverance.” ~ “Hurricane” Hamilton

I’ve been writing for a long time, but I want to be better. My deliberate practice includes writing every single day, reading books on craft, and growing my portfolio by publishing articles on Medium.

I’m also researching freelance copywriting gigs.

Teaching English Online

I read this article about teaching English online as a side hustle. This made sense for me because I tutored in high school and college and have a passion for helping others learn.

You need a Bachelor’s degree and a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification. It’s fairly easy to get started, and I liked the sound of working remotely for a guaranteed paycheck.

I’m currently enrolled in a 60-hour online course for the certification. So far, I’ve enjoyed learning more about instructional methods and language acquisition theory.

Web Development

Learning to code is my “Hail Mary pass” as it’s more of a long term goal that I can’t be sure will work out. My interest in web development and design didn’t completely come out of left field — my dad is a web developer and I’ve launched several Wordpress sites of my own, so I’ve mastered the basics.

I’m knee-deep in a Codecademy course to learn HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Codecademy is an online learning platform, and they’ve granted me a free 3-month Pro membership — huge shoutout to Codecademy for donating 100,000 Pro memberships (complete access to all coding courses) to people whose employment was affected by Covid-19.

Final Thoughts

We’re all going to emerge from this period having changed in some way. Ultimately, I decided to have a hand in what that “change” looked like for myself.

What opportunities are in front of you? What kind of person do you want to be today, tomorrow, and when this is over?

“One life on this earth is all we get, whether it is enough or not enough, and the obvious conclusion would seem to be at the very least we are fools if we do not live it as fully and bravely and beautifully as we can.” ~ Frederick Buechner

Live fully, bravely, and beautifully… yes, even in times of crisis.

Written by

Writer & Storyteller. I write to process and share what I’m learning :) How to take notes in Obsidian (free guide!): https://brooke-harrison.ck.page/2521a68501

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