The world is still learning to recover from the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve witnessed how countries were made to enforce quarantine measures in a bid to curb the alarming infection rates and rising death tolls. Countless businesses had to suspend their operations; the economy continues to take a hit, and the future as we see it, looks bleaker than before.
It seems perfectly reasonable for one to retreat to his or her comfort zone and stick to the status quo especially as job security becomes a huge question mark during these times of uncertainty. But for these two women, Melanie* and Carissa, bravely going against the grain and overcoming challenges in their respective careers helped them to emerge stronger and more resilient from this crisis. Read on to learn more about their experiences.
When the going gets tough
Melanie, a former project manager of an online news site, simply couldn’t ignore her survival instincts after her company had informed her that she had to accept a reduction in compensation due to the pandemic. “I was fortunate to have retained my job at my previous company. However, I had also felt stressed [about suffering a pay cut]. My family had been badly affected financially due to COVID-19 as well, and as the eldest child in the family, I was determined to lift some of that weight by pursuing a new role that could offer me better benefits and opportunities," she recalled.
As for Carissa, she re-entered the workforce and pursued a new career in cinema operations at Salt Media & Entertainment after giving birth to her son. “I had worked as a cabin crew for six years before deciding to leave as I felt that my career had stagnated. I was planning to start a family at that time too. The opportunity of a new career and support from Salt Media convinced me to take this leap of faith," she shared.
But as unpredictable as life could be, COVID-19 soon struck and it caused Salt Media to pause operations on its 227-seater cinema due to the Circuit Breaker. The company had to fast-track its plans in launching their new digital streaming service, SMIX, in order to survive. Carissa’s job responsibilities were now redundant, and this meant that she was at risk of being laid off by her company.
Embracing the winds of change
“I’m not as brave and bold when it comes to making career decisions as I tend to remain in my comfort zone,” admitted Carissa. Even then, she knew that change was the only constant, and the key to keeping her job was to develop new skills that could help her to contribute positively and adapt to the company’s business needs.
With the support and encouragement from her company, she embarked on a six-month-long Professional Conversion Programme (PCP), which allowed her to equip herself with the latest knowledge and skills in digital sales and marketing. Her willingness to learn and expand on her skillset helped her assimilate into her refreshed job role which now encompasses marketing duties as well.
Meanwhile, in a bid to secure a better financial future for herself and her loved ones, Melanie decided to bite the bullet and resign from her job. “I adored my job and my colleagues at my previous company, but I knew it was time for me to to be realistic about my situation,” she confessed. With a lot of courage, enthusiasm and optimism, she soon landed a new role which was able to provide her with a more competitive salary package.
The journey ahead
Looking back at their moments of courage in taking stock of their future, both women realised that the toughest challenges could be conquered as long as they set their hearts and minds to it. Carissa advised: “If there’s a new role that you’d like to pursue, be brave and embrace the hard work that comes with it. It will not be easy at the start but it gets better over time if you continue putting in the effort. COVID-19 and the economic recession has affected us all, but with resilience and adaptability, we will be able to overcome it. Even though it might seem like a long road to recovery, we should look forward and not lose hope."
Apart from echoing Carissa's thoughts, Melanie also stressed the importance of remaining optimistic even when times get tough. “Although it is nerve-wracking to be switching careers during these unprecedented times, we’ve also seen how people are starting new businesses, how traditional businesses are re-strategising their plans, and how the world is also learning to ‘reset’ and adapt to this new ‘normal’. Nothing is impossible.”
Nothing is impossible, indeed.
*Name has been changed to protect the privacy of the interviewee.
(Cover photo from: pexels.com)
Now, hear from more bold, brave and inspiring women by clicking here.