By Laura Browne
So much has changed in our world, and many people are nervous about their jobs. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help yourself and others get through this difficult time.
Make sure your boss knows what you’re working on and, most importantly, what results and value you’re bringing now to the company. Since many of us are working from home, it can even be more difficult for your great work to be noticed.
Now is the time to over-communicate. Set up more frequent and shorter meetings with your boss (and follow up with e-mail summaries), especially if working from home is new for you or your company.
Ask yourself what you can do right now to bring the most value to your team, company, and customers. Temporarily stop doing things (projects and day-to-day activities) that don’t bring much value in the current crisis, so you can focus on the important things. Ask your boss what his or her priorities are now and what you can do to help support them.
Consider asking your boss for more responsibilities. They might be really busy right now and would appreciate having you take over some of their tasks, even temporarily.
This is the time to show yourself as a problem solver. Join a task force working on the crisis. This can give you information, opportunities, and visibility. Share your ideas, even if they seem like a stretch – they could be just what your company needs right now.
You may not know exactly what to do, because there are no easy answers and many people are making up new ways to get things done. Take action, even when you don’t feel 100% confident. Don’t let mistakes or fear of potential mistakes stop you from moving forward. When you make a mistake, quickly acknowledge it, learn from it, and keep going.
Ask yourself what small action you can take today to get the company moving in the right direction. Then take that small action. Progress starts with small steps.
Plan for the future.
In every problem lies an opportunity. How can you find your opportunities? First, look for ways to expand your current job. What new areas can you take on?
Then, look for opportunities in other areas that need assistance. Can you offer to help out other groups temporarily if your team is not considered essential right now? That could give you some skills in a new area and information for a potential future move.
Watch what other successful people are doing. Learn from the people who are adapting well and consider how you can use this information to help you.
This is also the time to network, network, network. It’s always a good idea to start networking before you need to look for another job. This is the perfect time to send messages to people you haven’t connected with in a while and ask how they’re doing. Think about how you can help others in your network. That way, if you need help, you’ll be able to connect with them.
Develop your Plan B, and maybe Plan C and Plan D. We don’t know what is going to happen in the coming months. If your department goes away, what would be your backup plans?
There is a fine line between obsessing over this and spending time thinking about alternatives. Make sure to keep your focus positive – if it starts to feel negative or overwhelming, it’s time to stop and take a break.
We all need to be more flexible, creative, and willing to look at new possibilities
Take care of yourself.
Right now you might be thinking that there’s no time to take care of yourself. In addition to doing your job and possibly extra work because of the crisis, you may also be taking care of your children or worrying about your parents and other family members. But you owe it to yourself to make YOU a priority.
Think about it: When you’re on a plane, you’re told to put your oxygen mask on first so you can help others. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of anyone else at work or at home.
Be kind to yourself and realize that it’s okay to feel scared and distracted. Most of us are feeling that way, even if we don’t show it. We’re going to have good days and bad days.
Display a positive attitude, show confidence, and be seen as someone who says, “We’re going to figure this out.” Even though you may have no control of the circumstances, you have control over your attitude. And your positive attitude can help others.
Believe in yourself, be brave, be kind, be well, and do your best to support and inspire others. We will get through this together.
Originally published in Forbes.com.
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Laura Browne is an author, speaker, corporate trainer, and certified business coach who helps others be more successful in their careers. Her Amazon best-selling book, A Salary Cinderella Story (Or How To Make More Money Without A Fairy Godmother), shows women how to get raises and promotions at work.