Regardless of what line of business you are in and whether you are self-employed, a business owner, employed or freelancing, we can concur that the COVID-19 crisis has left a good deal of industries reeling and apprehensive. As a very much “9-5” career woman, the thoughts racing through your head about the security of your livelihood are enough to trigger all sorts of angst and distress.
This isn’t the time or place to try shame 9-5’ers about why they would be better off being self-employed or owning a business. Besides the fact that our destinies are different, there’s no way ascertain that it’s THE foolproof way to keep the streams of income flowing. Nevertheless, there are a few learnings that the full-time employed can draw from this crunch. Here are 5 lessons that a 9-5 career woman can learn from the COVID-19 crisis.
1. UPSKILL. UPSKILL. UPSKILL.
Very few employees (if any) can say that they are indispensable. Between industries being ever-changing and the repercussions that this crisis will have on business models and structures, companies will likely see more value in an employee who wears more than one hat. Staying relevant is the best way to keep ahead of the working game. There’s a range of free and paid online courses available from various institutions in your country and globally. Google Digital Skills it has a range of various short courses one can do; with some being eligible for certification once completed. Familiarize yourself with what’s on offer and what’s relevant to your field and invest in your knowledge and skills.
2. ENSURE YOUR RAINY DAY FUND IS IN ORDER
The importance of a rainy day fund is seen in times like these. As a 9-5 career woman, you might get so comfortable in knowing you have a steady, “guaranteed” income and maybe even a benefit like a provident fund from your employer that you neglect to do your own financial preparations and arrangements. Setting money aside for unforeseen circumstances is imperative as a working professional in any form of employment or sector. To reduce the temptation of impulse purchases, try stowing your coins away in a 32-day notice account or maybe even using a separate bank with a separate card. You can give it to a friend or family member to hold for you. And ensure you have NO banking app to transfer the funds between accounts!
3. KEEP PROFESSIONAL DOCUMENTS UP TO DATE
Even if you are not actively seeking employment, make it a habit to regularly update your LinkedIn profile and CV. Opportunities may come at any given moment and you don’t want to find yourself on the back foot and losing valuable time because you first need to find your CV that you last updated when you were seeking an internship. Certain opportunities may not even require you to leave your current job but merely offer something for you to do outside of your job, which might help you boost your skillset or income.
4. BE WELL CONNECTED
Truth be told, knowing and being connected to the right people in your industry can get you so much further than if you were simply relying on a stroke of luck or being a lone wolf. Connections are built online and offline; through platforms like LinkedIn as well as attending events and striking up a conversation with those around you. And you don’t have to build contacts solely on the need for new working opportunities. Sharing industry knowledge, thinking and providing mentorship is one of the ways to keep you inspired, motivated and your mind in gear.
5. START A SIDE HUSTLE
Two (or more) streams of income are always better than just one. There are scores of articles online about what you can do to earn an extra income – from selling and consulting to teaching online. An important factor to note is to ensure that whatever it is you do does not contravene your terms of employment or your contract. The fine print might require you to disclose of any additional “employment” or activity you partake in outside of office hours. Don’t be caught out for moonlighting; read through the paperwork with a fine-tooth comb to guarantee that you aren’t putting your main stream of income at risk.
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