Written by Olusesan Ogunyooye
So I’ve been seeing this mantra about people using this COVID-19 stay-home period to learn new career skills. I agree. But…
1. Learning a new skill shouldn’t – in my opinion – stem from the fact that you are idle this period. Working from home doesn’t give you more time. From my experience, it just gives you more flexibility.
So, anyone that is idle because of this period should check carefully if his/her job will still be relevant post COVID-19. If no, then you should actually learn new skills because being idle now means your organisation can survive without you – in some ways. I don’t think I need to say much about the implications of that in these trying times.
But if your job is really going to be relevant post-COVID-19, then you’ll find out that you don’t have as much time as the “learn-new-skills-advocates” think there is.
2. Given, post COVID-19 is going to come with job casualties. In fact, it’s already happening. This is the premise most of those “learn-new-skill-advocates” is coming from. But take a step back, how long will it take to learn a new skill, master it, and professionalize it? Let’s say you work in Operations for example, and because of what’s to come, you think you want develop a new skill in Data Science or Business Analytics. Do you think when this is over, you would have been one of the best data scientists or business analysts organization will be running after to be part of their post-COVID-19 rescue team?
3. Rather than learn new skills, what about honing the ones you already have? If you must learn a new skill, then let it be those that will enhance what you do and put you ahead of the park. Prepare a list of skills that will matter in your job role post-COVID-19 and start adding them – not to enter into another profession, but to expand your capacity in what you currently do.
4. Expanding your capacity in your role is a winner – both ways – post COVID-19. Reason is; a lot of organizations – including yours – will need to come back fast. So while there will be unemployment post COVID-19, there is also going to be talent war. So if you’ve expanded your capacity well, you will either fall in your current organization’s A Team or be a sought after by organizations trying to build an A team for post-COVID-19 stiff competition.
5. So except what you do is not one of those “jobs of the future”, just be the best at what you do now and don’t plan to change career post COVID-19 because you have learnt new skills now. You are not likely to make it into an A team if you’re just learning the skills now. You might have the knowledge, but you will have little or no experience – which is the best teacher.
6. Post-COVID-19 market is going to be like a football championship. While some players will be loaned out, some players will be paid so handsomely to come and help win the market trophy. This is not a time for a career switch, if you have not been planning it before now.