Use this lockdown reset to up-skill and re-skill
It’s time to hit the big switch
Blindfolded, force-fed six cups of Americano and then forced to sit on a rollercoaster without warning. That’s probably what the current situation feels like on many levels. As the Instagram meme gods say, what a year March has been.
Suddenly, we are forced to cook, clean, do laundry, and every now and then, Zoom our way into those work calls. Some of us who forgot their Tupperware dabbas at work and thought they’d pick them up on the Monday after Janta Curfew are still living in regret.
But that’s just 0.2% of the population we suppose. There are major concerns on the work front, and as much as we cloud our screens and thoughts with the ever-spiking virus stats, we know the numbers aren’t looking bright for the economy either.
Employees, with good reason, are fearful of what lies on the other side.
“My company sent out a mail addressing the pandemic. They shared concerning details about cash flow and cash reserve. They also mentioned ‘weeding out inefficiencies’ in the near future. There’s a lot of doubt, but work must go on,” says Raul DaCosta, 29, manager at a digital cinema technology firm.
Freelancers have already started facing the brunt of the situation. “Work has slowed down. Some pitches are cancelled. It’s unfortunate but understandable,” says Kamakshi Ayyar, 30, journalist.
While it can be alarming, the only solace is that we are all in this together. It’s time to go back to basics and build from there.
Upskill and reskill
There’s always a silver lining to chase. Always. Since most of the workforce is forced to be at home, there’s some extra time to work on your resume, and what the HR experts call, “upskill and reskill”.
“This is an opportune time for people to upskill or reskill themselves as they have more time and fewer entertainment options. This should give a boost to the online education and training sector,” says Zairus Master of Shine Learning, a professional courses and career skills portal.
Finally, there’s time to learn those Photoshop cheat codes and start morphing your friends’ photographs into famous movie posters. Or start baking. Or sign up for the Google Analytics courses you’ve been wanting to complete for months now.
“It may not have a significant impact right away because every sector will undergo major changes, but by choosing to reskill you’ll certainly stand out in the crowd as well as become a stronger asset to the company,” says Pankhuri Jain, lead executive HR at Acuity Knowledge Partners, Bengaluru.
Jain also shares some ways to up your game while you’re dodging your brain’s 25,6873 questions per second thoughts during lockdown.
Hacks to upskill and reskill
- Learn from home:
Coursera and LinkedIn Learning offer free courses across fields. “Google Analytics courses are mostly overview of concepts, but Coursera and UpGrad has courses for niche specialisations,” says DaCosta.
UpGrad provides certificate courses in artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science. Ayyar is taking up an online food writing course. “There are several exercises. It helps you stay in that writing zone. The goal right now is to make ourselves more valuable to the companies,” she says.
- Up your LinkedIn game:
Increase your visibility. Update your resume and your profile on LinkedIn. Most employees in India don’t understand the value of LinkedIn. Utilise this time to create your brand online. This is the hot spot of your future employees. Be clued in.
- Invest time in hobbies:
Unleash the masterchef within you or grow your own kitchen garden. Document it; use your digital marketing skills to share your experiences online.
If you’re already a visual communicator, this can be your way of upskilling, while for others, it can be a way to re-skill. Put your work out there, especially freelancers. You won’t know where the next project comes from.
- Work on soft skills:
In data-driven and technology fields, a large section of employees don’t pay enough attention to their soft skills. They maybe great at problem-solving and their job, but when it comes to leadership roles, corporate communication and people management, a lesson or two will not hurt.
Techies can now sign up for those personality development and management courses to make themselves more indispensable than ever.
- Networking time:
You don’t need to know wine etiquette or how to pronounce hors d’oeuvres or schmooze with strangers in real at awkward-as-hell networking events anymore. It’s all become digital now. But don’t break the habit. Attend webinars, live sessions online to know the changing trends in your industry and keep up with the news.Make new connections and exchange ideas. Your next job might just be around the corner.