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"Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future." - President John F. Kennedy, 1963

Time for change

How do you start a new life in the middle of a global crisis? 2020 has been a life-changing year for almost all of us, but the economic turmoil and uncertainty have made things particularly difficult for those who were in the process of switching careers when the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

But perhaps this experience has given those individuals a head start. Whether or not your circumstances shielded you from the initial shock of COVID-19, we're all going to have to embrace change over the next couple of years.

On the 10th of August, the Financial Times reported that even established businesses - especially those in the retail, hospitality and travel sectors - were facing unprecedented challenges:

"According to the Enterprise Research Centre, a group of several leading universities, 21,000 more UK businesses collapsed in March than in the same month of 2019. The number of new companies also dropped dramatically, by 23 per cent."

Conversely, many entrepreneurs and their businesses are now thriving, most notably in construction and the trades. People in these sectors have been forced to learn new skills in order to overcome the setbacks that COVID-19 has thrown at them, and those new skills have opened up new opportunities.

In a survey of tradespeople and homeowners that was carried out by national builder's merchant Jewson across June and July, 73 per cent of tradespeople said that they were "optimistic" about the amount of work that will be coming their way over the next six months. The survey also highlighted the fact that 77 per cent of homeowners are planning to carry out work in their homes within the next six to twelve months.

Andrew Cushing, Jewson's Customer Director, said:

"We're delighted that the outlook is positive for the trade. Long may that continue, and we look forward to helping our customers grow their businesses."

So is this a good time to change careers after all? In the Financial Times article, a venture capitalist (an investor who provides funding to companies with high growth potential) said during an interview with journalist Janina Conboye that uncertainty can actually bring its own opportunities:

"If a change or a new beginning feels [...] right for you, I would say that being open to - or rather maybe willing to accept - all the unexpected opportunities is what will give you the strength to deal with the down moments of your choice or change, and ride the highs."

This might resonate with you if you're thinking about a career change but feel that it's not feasible right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Maybe you've been reading all the headlines about the current uncertainty, and even though you're craving change, your fear is telling you to err on the side of caution until things get back to normal.

Changing your career certainly isn't a decision to be made lightly - that's true even during periods of stability. There are many factors you must consider, including your personal commitments and your own individual circumstances. But remember: while most decisions can be reversed, regret can last a lifetime.

With so much upheaval going on at the moment, it may be helpful to think about what your answer would be if, at some point in the future, you were asked this question:

What changes did you make during COVID-19?

Will you have a good answer? Will you be able to say that you followed your aspirations and achieved your goals?

When considering a career change, months or even years ago you might have said 'soon'. Last month, you might have said 'later'. And yesterday, you could have said 'tomorrow'. Is now your time to change? Only you can decide - it really is up to you whether you make that change or not.

As the proverb says, opportunity never knocks twice at any man's door. Whether you agree with this sentiment or not, remember: changing careers is your choice. Don't waste another day, week or month - we are here to help you get there. Talk to us today!

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