HiberNation: How to find work during the COVID-19 crisis

HiberNation: How to find work during the COVID-19 crisis

Earlier this year Luke Nesbit working as a key accounts manager for a beverage distributions company, helping to sell liquor. Then, he was laid off. So he started to build his ‘brand’.

And it brought with it a profound sense of disorientation.

Luke Nesbit barely recognises his life after being made redundant in March. Earlier this year, he was working as a key accounts manager for a beverage distributions company, helping to sell liquor. Then, he was laid off.

Sophie Meng and her husband Luke Nesbit at Balmoral. Photographer: Adam Yip

“It was one of those great roles which made it hard for me to stomach when the hospitality industry fell of the cliff,” Mr Nesbit said. “If you have no one to sell to, how do you sell? I had to find a way to survive mentally.”

His partner, Sophie Meng, was also struggling after being stood down as a corporate sales manager for a global hotel company.

“I had mixed feelings about this,” she said. “Everything just changed in a matter of minutes — seconds.”

With their careers on hold, the couple quickly found hope in a self-help book with the tools to build self-esteem, strengthen their reputation and stay relevant during a crisis.

From brand builder Garry Browne, Brand New Brand You motivated them to seek a more powerful position for themselves in their careers and personal life.

“It’s been a great starting point for me to start on my career and personal brand while hunkering down at home,” Ms Meng said. “Chapter seven has helped me identify my strengths and weaknesses and ensure I’m ready for the future.”

While Mr Nesbit said he always had work experience, he admits he never had his own personal brand. “It’s about establishing a new version of you,” he said.

Luke Nesbit and Sophie Meng look at Garry Browne’s book.

The book has given him the confidence to create a brand around his skills. Mr Nesbit is now working as an entrepreneur for an international artisan drinks company with the hopes to be head of the Australia market.

“It’s not just a book for now, it’s a guide for the future,” he said.

Mr Browne — who has extensive CEO and Chair experience — said if you want to make an impact, you need to be relevant especially we emerge from lockdown.

“No one can opt out of having a reputation, you have one whether you manage it or not,” Mr Browne said. “If you don’t actively manage this critical element of your personal brand, it can be detrimental to your credibility and ability to achieve your personal and professional goals.

“If you don’t manage your relevance, you’ll quickly become forgotten in this fast-paced environment we live in.”

It is tempting to succumb to fear in the face of uncertainty and unpredictability, yet experts insist there is still room for a bit of optimism.

Changing our stress mindsets about the coronavirus may not happen instantaneously, but it is possible to shift our reaction to the future, says psychologist Jemma Doley.

For those who may be feeling down or afraid, Ms Doley recommends taking some time to reflect on your career values and how you can continue to connect with those values during a crisis.

“If you’re between jobs, consider expressing your values through an alternative project such as writing a blog, starting a podcast, joining an online networking group or participating in volunteer work,” she said.

“Finding alternative ways to enact your values will help you to maintain a respected reputation while allowing you to utilise your strengths.

“Research shows that when we regularly use our signature strengths, this has positive outcomes in areas such as job satisfaction and overall wellbeing.”