The world is still reeling from the devastating effects of the Coronavirus. No one saw it coming, or could have predicted the catastrophic impacts of the virus, not even the experts. Humans have made so much progress in innovation through technological breakthroughs, artificial intelligence, modern medicine. Yet, we did not know that a virus can cripple the entire world economy as COVID-19 did.
It initially caused a lot of panic buying and immediate scarcity of hand sanitizer and toilet paper, which has since spread to bread, flour, and frozen foods. The disease has also created a new normal with the whole idea of social distancing, homeschooling, curb-side pick up in the grocery stores, and online worship.
The earning season is here, and many businesses have started reporting revenue losses as a result of the current lockdown situation. China reported a contraction in quarterly GDP for the first time in almost thirty years, due to Coronavirus. In the United States alone, over 26 million people are now filling for unemployment assistance, also as a direct effect of the novel virus.
If you are like me, you know that even though no one saw this event coming, you know it will end someday, hopefully soon. The biggest concern for strategic thinkers is how to adapt and thrive in a new norm created by the novel virus. To achieve both, you cannot afford to play catch up and assume that the world will return to business as usual. You need to stay ahead of the curve.
Countries with visionary leaders will learn from this incident and make some adjustments by upgrading their infrastructures and welfare programs for the citizens. The way we do business will change, as many more organizations will find ways to allow more employees to work remotely. Companies will adopt the eCommerce model by allowing for more online transactions, more restaurants will shift focus to online orders, with more of the Brick and mortars stores struggling to survive as more people will embrace online shopping. Individuals will and must find ways to create more than one source of income. Companies like Microsoft, Cisco, Zoom that have created platforms for video conferencing will thrive. More people will embrace the idea of virtual clinics and remote health care delivery through telemedicine. Employees must learn to future-proof their careers by developing an entrepreneurial mindset and working to create side gigs that will generate passive income to diversify their income sources.
The need to stay ahead is the impetus for writing this piece to help you discover ideas that will make you stay ahead of the curve and position yourself for a new post-COVID world. As an individual, here are some things you should note.
1. Take Initiative (Disrupt yourself): In the post-COVID world, the future belongs to the people that are proactive and who will not wait to be disrupted before they take action. In the time past, Blockbuster was the household name for home entertainment in America, but the company failed to disrupt itself, and so it got disrupted. In the same way, Toys’ R’ Us, Sears, RadioShack, Sports Authority, and many other brick and mortar stores were driven out of business as a result of disruptions from companies that providing the convenience of online shopping to their customers. As an individual, you need to find means of disrupting yourself so that you won’t get disrupted. Disrupting yourself and taking initiatives means you should develop some appetite for risk-taking, do new things that will challenge you intellectually and get you out of your comfort zone. You should ensure that you become a creative thinker and a solution provider who is not just interested in maintaining the status quo, but ready and willing to provide a new and better way of doing things.
2. Become an Independent worker: More people will embrace freelancing jobs as a means of generating more income. Through freelancing platforms such as Fiverr, Upwork, 99designs, and many more, people are finding it easier to package and market their skills and make money in the process without joining the traditional workplace system. On these platforms, all you need to do is create your profile, and you can start making money by offering services such as graphic designing, technical writing, video editing, and many more. The post-COVID world will push more people to become independent workers, because of uncertainties and constant disruptions in the job market, and their desire to own their future.
3. Invest in yourself: To participate in the wave of the gig economy that will be created post-COVID, you must learn to invest in yourself by acquiring skills that will help you to future proof your career. To some, that investment may be to go back to college for an advanced degree or to enroll in an online course to earn new certifications. You do not need to go through a traditional school system now before you can learn about programming, artificial intelligence, data analysis, and many other courses. Coursera, edx, Codeacademy, LinkedIn learning are providing platforms for people to learn and gain new knowledge at their own pace. If you are not regularly investing in yourself, you may soon find out that your education may become out of date.
4. Entrepreneurial thinker: Having an entrepreneurial mindset means you must be able to foresee problems before they arise, and you must also come up with creative solutions to deal with any potential issues. An employee with entrepreneurial thinking will be able to come up with strategies and ideas to cut costs, improve processes, and save money for the employer. An entrepreneurial mindset is not exclusive to business owners only. At your workplace, you must think creatively, and think outside the box, challenge the status quo, always raise your hands for new challenges, and you should be among the group that is willing to go the extra mile to help make more money for your employer.
5. Stay creative. Stay hungry: Coronavirus has shown us once again that there is nothing like a safe, secure job, in a world that is continuously being disrupted by technological development. Many hardworking people have lost their jobs due to no one’s fault. Employers must make difficult and tough decisions to ensure business continuity. If you have been impacted in any way, you must stay hungry and persevere as you go through the difficult period of finding your path. Staying hungry requires that you don’t lose hope or confidence in your ability to get back on your feet when you get disrupted. As the saying goes, if you fall down seven times, you should stand up eight. Don’t give up. Always remain optimistic and make sure you take ownership of your career life. No one else can plan it as well as you.
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