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Remote Work and What It Means to Get Lucky

by | Jan 24, 2022 | Anxiety, Career, COVID-19, Emotional Regulation, Motivation, Tools & Resources

We didn’t think that “2 weeks of lockdown” would turn into 2+ years of quarantine, job insecurity, stress, worry, and fear. Some say that 2020 was the year the internet happened. Lockdown accelerated digital adoption, and we collectively started spending more time in front of screens, and less time interacting with others, IRL.

Many things that used to be the same for a long time suddenly flipped. For example, in 2020 the New York Times’ digital revenue outpaced its revenue from the traditional print magazine. Their website was making more money than their world famous print newspaper! 

Doctors who never practiced in telehealth, began participating and using remote technologies as a first line of defence for public health. Why visit a clinic or hospital and risk spreading a virus, when you can check in with a doctor about your presenting problems from your own home?

Among the many things that flipped, the shift from in-person to remote work was certainly one of them. Jobs, meetings, projects… entire industries suddenly shifted. What used to be conducted in person suddenly became online-first. Through this process, it created new opportunities like a flexible work schedule and more time saved from commuting. However, it also created new struggles, such as learning to balance work and life, or finding time to socialize with people outside of work.

The pandemic has brought feelings of stress, financial instability and general uncertainty about the future. As entire positions, departments, and industries switch to a remote-first work life, there can be added stress about managing your work, adopting new norms in your work culture, and always wondering if you’re “doing enough”. You may be feeling stuck and considering a career transition, or are unsure about a career path that you previously felt was meant to be.

When things go online, the talent pool for opportunity increases, but so does the competition. We are entering into the era of true globalized coordination and competition. You can be a part of a company that has no physical location or head office, employees work from all over the world, and projects and deadlines are being coordinated from people’s homes. This means that you can work for a company from anywhere in the world, but are also competing with others around the world for the same position.

The world has changed. For many jobs and industries, you don’t have to live near where you work. Due to the pandemic and the uncertainties with career and work, you may at times feel like you are down on your luck. Below, I describe four different types of “luck”, and how luck relates to the post-COVID world of remote work.

Blind luck: You got lucky because something completely out of control happened.

Luck through persistence: You are trying new things, you are generating opportunities, and with enough time and practice, you begin attracting new opportunities.

Spotted luck: You are skilled in a field and attune yourself to a lucky break that others haven’t yet identified. You become sensitive to luck via your skills, knowledge, and work.

Luck that finds you: The most unique type of luck. For example, imagine that you grew up doing deep-sea diving as a hobby, and liked to explore the sea for fun. Someone announces that they have found hidden treasures in a given location, and is willing to share the treasures with whoever can help them extract the treasure to shore. He comes to you with an opportunity, because of your unique set of skills, talents, and aptitudes, and his luck also becomes your luck. 

You’ve created your own luck, and put yourself in a position where you can capitalize on such luck. You also attract future opportunities, as your current luck brings greater awareness and recognition of your skills, to more people. Below are some questions you can ask yourself, to help brainstorm how each type of luck can be considered in your life:

  1. Blind luck (dumb luck): There’s nothing you can do about this luck. Consider it fate, or destiny.
  2. Luck through persistence: What skills do you have that are adaptive in the digital-first economy? What skills have you wanted to learn? Are there goals that you’ve persisted with, up until now, that require a bit of change or modification?
  3. Spotted luck: Is there specific and unique knowledge that you are already aware of, that most people wouldn’t know about? How can you apply that knowledge to position yourself to attract opportunity? Where are the missing gaps between what you know, and what you can do about these gaps?
  4. Luck that finds you: What do people already come to you for? What traits or advantages do you currently have, given your language, location, abilities, skills, and talents? This luck comes partly from who you are, but also with demonstrating and honing your skills, building a reputation, and leveraging yourself for future opportunities that come through you. This type of luck comes with time, patience, and persistence, and makes luck attracted to you.

With the uncertainties of the pandemic, career counselling can help you navigate and position yourself in a place where you can maximize your luck, and adapt yourself to the dynamic changes in that world that have rippled since the pandemic began. 

There is no certainty in uncertainty, but we can learn to build resilience, foster growth, learn to balance our mental health with work, and pivot at the right time to help meet your goals, and maximize opportunity.

Career counselling so often has to do with resolving anxiety, depression and inner child work. While some people benefit from individual counselling, couples therapy, low cost counselling and even psychedelic integration, my goal is to help you identify what fits for you.  At Thrive Downtown, I would be happy to help you balance your mental health and help identify a career pathway that is dynamic, adaptive, and fits your personal strengths, values, and personality. 

Mohit is a counsellor and career specialist at Thrive Downtown Counselling Centre.

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