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Managing Careers, Conflict, and COVID-19

If you are reading this now (the date is March 2020), I hope that you are doing ok and staying healthy and safe. I recognize this email comes during unprecedented and difficult times as we face the COVID-19 crisis together.

These are challenging days. You may be working from home, looking for work while in quarantine, or wondering when everything will get back to… well, normal? These times of conflict can draw out the best in us, as a society, but they also challenge us to dig deep to face our own fears, and deal with each day as it comes.

During this COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve been doing the hard work of introspection on a topic that is so relevant in these times: conflict

Perhaps you are facing new changes to relationships in your life – whether rubbing shoulders with family or colleagues in new ways? In turn, these conflicts may be negatively impacting your sense of job satisfaction and career well-being. Here are some examples of what I mean by this...


  1. You have an unsustainable work load. Your load has become even more stressful now that you are trying to figure out how to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, but when you talk to your boss about it, he gets defensive because you’ve made it clear that you don’t think he cares as much as he should about your needs. Conflict.

  2. Your spouse confides in you about feeling demoralized in her home-based coaching business, especially given dwindling client leads and having to care for children during school closures. She feels like giving up and looking for a different job, but instead of empathizing, you launch into all the reasons why she needs to stay strong, given the urgency of mortgage payments and credit card debt. Conflict.

  3. You’ve always dreamed of helping young people learn resiliency skills by becoming a Youth Worker, and you are currently taking online courses in that field, but your family keeps telling you to get a “real job” that pays more. Conflict.

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? Can you relate? In each case, conflict is a symptom or a cause of real career pain, and how one navigates those conflicts directly impacts their sense of satisfaction and well-being.

To be honest, there are no quick fixes to scenarios like these. Most conflicts are managed (not completely solved) and it takes hard work to navigate them.

I’d like to share some helpful ways to deal with these three conflicts, but first, allow me to share about my own personal story, what my journey through conflict has meant to me, and how it relates to being a Career Coach.


I grew up fearing conflict. For various reasons during childhood, I developed a core belief that conflict was bad. And as a teenager, I often wondered why other people didn’t fear conflict the way I did. In fact, others seemed to handle conflict in ways that seemed to strengthen, not diminish, their relationships!