Since the pandemic forced us to lockdown, businesses have suffered dramatically. In order to survive, they have swiftly adapted to remote work, and many have resorted to downsizing their workforce to match the decrease of revenue. Businesses continue to struggle while enduring the painful process of reopening, and there is an air of uncertainty in these troubled times.
Women and especially women of color have suffered the most. The most recent unemployment numbers released in early May show that women represent 55 percent of the 20.5 million jobs lost in April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In February, the unemployment rate for adult women was only 3.1 percent, in April it jumped to about 15 percent. The unemployment rates for black women are 16.4 percent and Hispanic women 20.2 percent.
Job security is threatened as our businesses face daily challenges to cope in this new environment.
One thing is very clear. As a professional woman, you need to be vigilant. Not just to avoid illness, but to avoid losing your job. It’s more important than ever to do what it takes to stay in the game.
Here’s how to stay marketable and keep your job.
Challenge your assumptions and negative beliefs about your job security. Your limiting beliefs have the power to sabotage your success. If you believe, for example, that you’ll lose your job no matter what you do, you may unconsciously pull back and not do what’s necessary to keep it. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
During this time, it’s important to recognize what may hold you back, reframe some of these negative beliefs, and demonstrate that you’re committed to keep your job and support your company.
For example, “I know I’ll get laid off” becomes “There are many ways that I contribute value to this company and I demonstrate that every day.” When you say this to yourself, your energy shifts and people perceive you as someone who is invested in their job and the organization.
Declare your ambition. Don’t assume that your manager knows your career goals. Set up a meeting to share your goal, even if it’s to keep your current position or make a lateral move. Ask for their input about where you can continue to contribute the most value to your team and the organization, and then work together to create a career path. You want to let them know your ambitions and get their ongoing support.
Be strategic. To best support your career goal, create a plan for how you move from where you are now to where you want to be. What experiences and skills do you need? How do you get them? Who can you solicit for support? Reach out to your network. Put together a plan with your manager or HR representative with timeframes and hold yourself accountable for each step of the plan.
Maintain a growth mindset. According to psychologist, Carol Dweck, individuals who believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others) have a growth mindset. When you have a growth mindset, you look for new opportunities to learn and improve your performance. As a result, you are perceived in the workplace as someone who is invested in their job and eager to grow professionally.
What courses does your company offer that will help you do your job better? Ask your manager or your HR representative for input. Do you need more technical skills? Managerial expertise?
Look for outside courses and perhaps seek reimbursement if they’re job related.
Listen to appropriate business-related podcasts or online courses or those that help with professional and personal development.
So much information is now easily accessible. Decide what will support your career growth and find resources.
Ask for feedback. Asking for constructive feedback can be tricky. You don’t want to appear needy but you also don’t want to work in a vacuum, assuming that everything’s ok and set yourself up to be blindsided. Asking for feedback, demonstrates your commitment to doing the best job possible.
Meet regularly with your manager and ask specific questions to get the best useful information. For example, a general question about how you’re doing, will only get a vague response. Try instead a pointed question about a current project or situation and don’t be afraid to dig a little deeper if you still don’t get the feedback you need. You can help your manager in this way get better at giving feedback if you set the stage by asking good questions and are open to hearing their opinions without getting defensive.
Advocate for yourself and others. Knowing your value proposition, how your work leads to successful business outcomes, is the key to advocating for yourself effectively and authentically. Look for opportunities to contribute value to your team, your manager, and your organization. You gain visibility and credibility by helping others reach their objectives. Send a weekly status report to your manager highlighting what you’ve accomplished that week. Call out your colleagues for their contributions and praise their ideas. Make a pact with a colleague to talk up each other’s successes. After your virtual zoom meetings, send an email to recognize a team member’s idea.
Be visible, share ideas, speak up. Meetings are now virtual and it can be challenging to get uninterrupted time to speak. Plan ahead if possible. Ask for the agenda beforehand. Do your homework and prepare your thoughts about the topic so you can effectively communicate them during the meeting. If appropriate, build consensus for your ideas with key stakeholders before the meeting. You may want to request dedicated time to share your idea. After the meeting, send a follow up email detailing your thoughts and ask for feedback.
Read the full article on Forbes.com.