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3 things to consider for your career in 2021

4 Jan 2021

2020 was a turbulent year for many people’s careers, so it may be time for a change in the new year.

The new year is often a time of transformation. Many make new year’s resolutions and look at the different aspects of their lives with the bigger picture in mind.

While Covid-19 has complicated many aspects of normal life, and brought others to a grinding halt, the start of the year is still a good time to evaluate your career direction.

In fact, the continued remote working for many employees might even make it easier to consider alternative options. The worry of a commute for the dream job might almost disappear completely.

Self Makers, a Dublin-based company that aims to help independent workers such as contractors, entrepreneurs and freelancers succeed, found in a recent pulse survey that seven in 10 respondents are anticipating a new career move this year and more than a third planning to start a new venture.

Founder Conor Lynch said he expects the turbulence people experienced in 2020 to continue into this year. “People are on the move in their careers, some by choice but many by necessity, and a consequence we can see is that people are choosing to take greater control of their career,” he said.

While turbulent times can be a cause of worry, they can also enable employees to think about future-proofing themselves. So, what can you consider this month to help you figure out your 2021 career strategy?

1. How did 2020 affect you?

Reflecting on the previous year has never been more important. 2020 threw many employees curveball after curveball, the most common of which was setting up a permanent office space in our own homes.

How have the changes of 2020 affected you? What parts of remote working brought you better work-life balance? Which parts do you want to change? How the pandemic affected your career and working life will help inform your decisions going forward.

While not all changes from 2020 will be permanent, most experts agree that nothing will quite go back to the way it was before. How each employer moves forward will differ but they will also most likely be flexible to their employees’ needs.

2. Figure out what you want

While this might sound vague and oversimplified, it’s important to really think about what you want and what makes you happy on a day-to-day basis. This isn’t about going after your dream job at any cost (although if you have a plan, go for it). This is about creating a life that gives you the satisfaction you need.

Make a list of your priorities and figure out which ones are non-negotiables. Then, ask yourself how you can achieve them. It might be a matter of discussing a career development plan with your own manager or you may be on the lookout for something new. But having a tangible list of the things that will make you happy rather than a list of jobs you might like will help you on your journey.

3. Think about upskilling

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that adaptability and flexibility is key. While countless employees had to completely switch careers and roles due to Covid-19 putting their own jobs on pause, others had to pivot their role internally as organisational needs and priorities shifted overnight.

While this may have led to a lot of quick upskilling and learning on the go, a new year can give us time to think about upskilling before we need to leap into action. And once you’ve made your list of priorities and figured out some areas in your career you’d like to change, you may have also identified some skills gaps you’d like to address.

If you’re looking for some inspiration for your skills journey, Lisa Ardill examined some of the skills that could be in demand this year.

Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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