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5 career development tips for the New Year

By Camille Mc Millan Rambharat

Yes, it’s been an interesting year for all of us and we had way too much time on our hands. Seriously. Way too much!

COVID-19 reminded me of that one time I was given a time out. “Stand facing the corner of that wall and think about what you’ve done.” Well, it seems like a time out of nine months and counting with no ‘leave’ option.

As a career coach and mentorship consultant temporarily based at home, I had to go within and do three things.

Firstly, I had to remove any toxicity which can sometime enter personal space. Next, I began catching the latest news and then turning off the television. And finally, I took myself on a journey of self-discovery and career transition.
For my career transition, I shifted my personal spending. One of the great things my friends and I joke about is how our savings increased as our unnecessary spending habits came to an emergency stop.

With those savings I created an education fund for myself because investing in myself was a much better option than having it sit at the bank with very little returns.

Here are five things I did in relation to career transition during the COVID-19 lockdown:

1. Join LinkedIn

I finally updated my profile and cover photo as I no longer looked and felt I was that person anymore. Before paying for LinkedIn’s premium membership, sign up for their three-month free subscription. Try it out and see if it is something, you want to invest in.

2. Download Eventbrite

The app is free, and it allows you to follow universities, cultures, self-improvement etc. At the beginning of COVID-19, there were numerous free and/or cheap tickets to events of your interest all online. Educators, activists of every kind and a host of other thought leaders were accessible, but my all-time favorite was Ibram X Kendi.

3. Take a Writing course.

Here’s an interesting story, one which reminds me of that quote by Rumi: “What you’re seeking is seeking you”. Pre-COVID-19 there was too much on my plate and I decided to go back to an old pastime of creating a vision board. On my vision board was “become a writer”. Don’t ask why because I never saw myself as a writer—the only writing I did were résumés and cover letters.

After signing up for the course in July, feedback from the lecturer and classmates was good. In August, I received a message via LinkedIn asking for my email, extending an invitation to join other writers to pen 5,000 words for a chapter of a book to be launched in 2021. After reading her message about 10 times my response was, “Yes! Tell me more”.

4. Check out YouTube

Lots of free educational, leisure, DIY content and I relished the one and only James Baldwin, Malcom X, Angela Davis, Maya Angelo, and Brené Brown. All assisting during those hard days as I deliberated shifting, rebuilding, reshaping, rebranding, and decolonising my entire existence. Embracing who I am, not as a daughter, sister, wife, mother, or friend but as me—allowing oneself to be free of self-judgement and shrinking oneself to make others comfortable—showing up as myself. Conformity was no longer how I was going to live my life.

5. Paid workplace bullying and harassment training

While there are many paid and unpaid events online, my education investment returns were returned with interest from day one of this online training. I took a horrible experience of workplace bullying and harassment and changed it into an opportunity to stand up and speak out on this silent epidemic.  The trauma survivors of workplace bullying and harassment go through is life changing, long lasting and affects them mentally, physically, and of course, financially.

Institutional discrimination has forced targets to hide their pain and shame while the workplace bullies are protected. Becoming an affiliate of this institution gave me more than the tools and understanding. The certification is a huge add-on to the career coaching and mentorship training I’ve been doing over 20-plus years.

This is just a fraction of the good which came out of a dreadful and traumatic 2020 as I transitioned in my career. And as we move toward a new day, new month, new year I want everyone reading this to know they can start now. Start where you are. Just start. Change matters. Find your passion. Create or rebuild your brand. Career building/transitioning is an ongoing journey.