When you ask “What is resilience?”, you might learn about adaptability, how you react to unplanned events, or even how quickly you recover when things don’t go as planned.
Similarly, there’s also career resilience. And it’s about awareness, a certain ability and agility to tackle the challenges in order to achieve your goal, and the strength to grow and learn from the obstacles you’ve successfully hurdled.
Career resilience is especially important now, as the global economy slowly recovers from the massive hit the COVID-19 pandemic dealt it. Some industries are still hollowed out and recovering even more slowly (like aviation and tourism), and experts are only now saying that Singapore’s economy is beginning to see a more positive upturn, more than a year since the virus hit our shores in January 2020.
The most important thing to remember is that resilience is a trait that you can strengthen with practice. Just like how you can improve public speaking skills through practice presentations, you can also improve your resilience through facing tough situations with the right mindset and figuring out how to adapt!
Why is resilience important?
Resilience is not about irrational positivity or burying your head in the sand. It’s about learning to keep your eye on the bigger picture and not let temporary setbacks pull you down, and being confident enough in your strengths to be honest about your own weaknesses.
Learning to maintain a resilient mindset is key to a meaningful long-term career journey as well. The World Economic Forum even listed resilience as one of the skills employers need the most in the future! And a huge part of staying adaptable and nimble in the marketplace is to actively cultivate a resilient mindset within yourself.
How to start building resilience
With the ongoing global pandemic and slow economic recovery, developing resilience is now more important than ever. Because resilience is largely about facing uncertainty with the right mindset, you can begin by accepting that change is the only constant in life, and learn to embrace it good-naturedly.
Alternatively, you can learn to approach mistakes and rejection positively, and see them as learning experiences or opportunities for feedback instead of just burying them into the back of your mind or constantly reliving the pain. Your setbacks are not an indicator of your future success!
Putting resilience to work
Now that you’ve started cultivating a resilient mindset, how do you make it work for you in your career planning, especially considering the “new normal”?
If you’re looking at career resilience, you can turn your attention to picking up more skills. So, if you find out that the industry you want to enter requires certain skills or knowledge you don’t currently have, take the time to go for courses or read up on those topics to add to your repertoire. These courses don’t have to be long ones – in fact, there are six-hour courses on popular sites such as Coursera.
On the other hand, if you’re facing rejection, give yourself some time to grieve, regroup, and clear self-defeating scenarios from your mind before moving on, both stronger and wiser. Remember, you are not defined by the words “We regret to inform you”. Being resilient is having the will to be better than that!
The bottom line is, learning to approach your career journey with a resilient mindset is a key part of staying employable – whether during uncertain times or stable ones. Make it a point to keep practising it every chance you get, and see the difference it makes in terms of how you think about yourself – both as a person and a professional!