How to Protect Your Career If the Worst of Covid-19 is Ahead

Marcus J. Fila, Ph.D.
5 min readJul 9, 2020
Photo by Mohammad Fahim on Unsplash

Whatever our individual reactions to the coronavirus, it’s undoubted that these are unprecedented times for the modern world of work. Reactions from organizations have varied from closure, to laying off various proportions of staff, furloughing, and cutting away non-essential positions and resources to protect key workers. Some have received public funding. Many have re-engineered their business to parachute their way through this crisis. For those working in professions where work can be carried out from home, some processes have likely changed, either through intentionally managed changes, and/or through other more intuitive methods adopted in order to survive and continue as normally as possible.

A few weeks ago things were looking brighter. Cases were dropping across the country, and social restrictions were being lifted. The question on many lips had been “when are we going back to our workplaces?”. But since around Memorial Day cases have been rising again. They are now surging in many states, and parts of the south and west are recording more cases than at any previous time. Not only are we far from out of the woods, but the worst may be yet to come. This raises questions about whether there could be a full-on second lockdown: more working from home, and perhaps more damaging, more questioning our organization’s and industry’s tolerance for downturn, and in many cases more fear about what the future holds for our jobs and careers.

Here are four ways to protect your career if the worst is yet to come.

Get to Know Your Job More Broadly. We all have an identity in the work that we do. Some of that is wrapped up in our present organization, but some reaches beyond that and is grounded in the profession itself. Now is a good time to ask how your organization, and others, structure your job. If this is your first or second job within your field, you may assume that your job would look the same everywhere. If you have held the same position for considerable time, you may regain perspective on how the same job looks elsewhere — and some aspects may have changed in other organizations, particularly with re-organizations on the rise. It’s a good time to re-examine what the parameters of your role could be, and how task and reporting structures could result in needing to…

Marcus J. Fila, Ph.D.

Work Stress speaker, researcher, author, and consultant to organizations and individuals. Psychologist, and management professor. Visit