Metamorphosis !

As Bill Bridges has written in Transitions, “We need not feel defensive about this apparently unproductive time-out at turning points in our lives … In the apparently aimless activity of our time alone, we are doing important inner business.”


Mona Cheriyan, President & Group Head, Human Resources, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd.

This is a Greek word that means transformation or a complete change of form (as part of natural development). Let us understand this in simple terms as Reinventing Yourself……

Unforeseen events or shocks disrupt our normal routines or habits, jolt us out of our comfort zones, and lead us to ask big questions about what matters and what is worth doing. It is no wonder, then, that during the current pandemic, many people are rethinking their careers. The long coronavirus lockdown has given many people ample opportunity to reflect on life, including where their careers may be heading. Those who have lost jobs, been placed on furlough or been given a new perspective on work may be considering a change in direction to their careers.

Covid-19 and lockdown has put many roles at risk but the rewards are great for those who spend time in investing in themselves. Now is a great time to be agile and reinvent yourself! The pandemic has increased uncertainty and caught us unprepared — psychologically, financially, and infrastructurally. The situation feels threatening. It is hard to dive wholeheartedly into reinventing yourself if you are feeling low. Even in normal times, reinventing yourself is never an easy process. It often involves a confusing journey of exploration — and to do it right, you have to experiment with, test, and learn about a range of possible alternatives.

When you do not know what the future will bring, or when the path you thought you were on takes an unexpected turn, it makes sense to pursue a diverse range of options rather than just sticking single-mindedly to one. All of us have had ideas or thoughts about what we want to do – both personally and professionally. Some of our ideas are concrete and well-formed by experience; others are vague and hazy, promising but untested. Some are realistic; others are pure fantasy. Usually, some appeal more to us than others. The conflict in our mind is between “holding on” and “letting go.” However,

this phase is a necessary part of the journey of self-exploration because it allows you to process options that still lie ahead.

The current crisis is likely to inspire a lot of us to reinvent ourselves. While frustrating at times, this state has its benefits. As Bill Bridges has written in Transitions, “We need not feel defensive about this apparently unproductive time-out at turning points in our lives … In the apparently aimless activity of our time alone, we are doing important inner business.”

Taking advantage of this time to do that “inner business” may be more beneficial than engaging in a flurry of self-improvement efforts. The most common path to a career reinvention involves doing something to help you in your current role - cultivating knowledge, skills, resources, and relationships until you have got significantly better than where you were before.

Our current conditions of quarantine and lockdown limit the possibilities of going on vacations or going out to eat. However, there is no limit to opportunities to try new things or learn new skills. Self-reflection, paradoxically, is a practice best cultivated by talking out loud in social exchanges with kindred spirits who respond, sympathize, commiserate, question, read your body language, and share their own experiences. Just the simple act of explaining or painting a picture about what you want to do, can clarify your thinking and propel you forward.

It is ok to say that you are bored during this time, many of us are bored too. The question is what are we going to do about it? During lockdown, some of us have more free time on our hands than ever before, so one can either waste this time on negative thoughts or actions, or one can try and use the time for a positive purpose. Work from home is not as easy as it sounds. Some of us need to complete the usual house chores and then office assignments along with trying to reinvent ourselves. But where there is a will, there is a way!

We could try new hobbies like reading, cooking or art, begin re-decorating that room you have never had time for or even learn a new language. This time can provide us with a great source of creativity and productivity.

Snakes can teach us a thing or two about reinvention. Through moulting, they seem to be telling us: “You have to discard the old for the new, all through your career.” Moulting happens when a snake grows big. The old skin peels off as it is not big enough for the snake anymore. If you continue to fit perfectly into your old role, you are not growing big and you are certainly not making progress in your career. Just like a snake, you have to keep putting on a new professional skin. In the end, when it comes to reinventing yourself in this time of crisis, remember this important point: The time to get going is now!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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