Think 2021 will be another tough year? Think again – it’s what you make of it. Here’s why more career and money opportunities could be open to you than before
It may have begun with yet another lockdown, but don’t be tempted to write 2021 off just yet. Granted, it’s going be far from a ‘normal’ year. Constant change across every industry, restrictions imposed at short notice, and things that were once the accepted norm now feeling like they’re from a distant era. But, after 2020, you’re used to that. You found ways to cope. And in 2021 you can do more than cope: you can adapt, get ahead of the game, and succeed.
Now is the right time to assess your plans for the year – in terms of career goals, investments, and preparing for the future. Be realistic, but don’t be a doomsayer. ‘Change’ is a neutral word – it doesn’t necessarily mean for the worse, or for the better – and in 2021, new opportunities will open as much as old ones close off. That’s what business does: it creates new markets, responds to change and gets ready for the future. You can do the same by putting your focus in the right place.
So how do you make the most of 2021? Rather than think about specific savings, investments or positions, think about what matters on the most fundamental level: you. With the toll successive lockdowns have taken, ‘self-care’ has become a buzzword, but we prefer its cousin, ‘self-investment’. It’s the equivalent of following all that personal advice – eat more fruit, go for a run, turn your phone off – but from a career and money perspective. Done correctly and consistently, self-investment can put you in the right position so that opportunities will come.
Investing in yourself starts with a series of basic questions. Do you have the skills you need to take the next step in your career? Have you set goals for the coming year? Are you getting the right coaching and advice? Are you sinking time into activities you could really do without? Do you have enough control over your finances?
Next, consider these three tips:
- Make the most of your time. Being compelled to stay at home might feel limiting, but it does give you extra time that you can use to free yourself fiscally. Give your finances a health-check: are you saving money, are you paying down debt quickly enough, are you spending on subscriptions that you don’t need, can you switch your bills and finance to a cheaper provider? If you can save money just with an admin session, it will have benefits beyond your bank balance figure – it can reduce your worries so you can focus fully on your next career move or business project.
- Upskill yourself – it’s easier than ever. Online training has undergone a huge boom in the last 12 months, with countless courses moving to digital, self-timed formats, so you don’t need to commit to a lengthy or inflexible curriculum. Have a look at FutureLearn or Coursera for free or paid courses you can start right away – giving you a first step towards advancing in your career or starting a totally new one.
- Think big. Fancy a total change of career? You might be in luck. After a year of ‘lockdown business’, barriers to entry in many industries have actually come down. Companies are taking a more open approach to hiring: they are happy to interview remote workers for any position, and they’re likely to be more transparent about the candidate they’re looking for and more flexible over issues such as working hours around childcare. If that ‘big opportunity’ always seemed a bridge too far, make sure you apply for it anyway. You have nothing to lose, and your chances will be better than you think.