Looking for work under normal circumstances is challenging. There’s resumes and cover letters to write, people to find and network with, interviews to prepare for and attend, traveling costs, phone calls to make and of course lots of time spent in front of a computer monitor trying to find the right jobs in the first place. That sounds like an exhausting process to undertake – especially when exactly how long you’ll be in job search mode isn’t known.
Now throw in the Covid-19 pandemic. Remember when it was just beginning? Nobody knew (or knows) exactly the length of time this pandemic would or will run. Will it be over by the end of this year or drag on well into 2021?
Living through 2020 hasn’t been easy for most people. Even if you’ve remained healthy, you’ve been forced to make changes to your every day routines. Shopping more online and using curbside pickups, having dental and optical appointments postponed, seeing your doctor over a computer monitor, more home cooking and far less eating out. And missing family. With every change, there’s a hit to your mental health; just another small stressor that forces you to adapt from your norm.
It’s scary for many to think of job searching at the best of times. If you’ve lost your job in 2020 however, you’ve likely felt it harder to reverse your fortunes and find employment. Why? Well, you either fear exposing yourself to people you don’t know who could transmit the virus to you, or you’ve had to learn how to meet and be interviewed over a computer screen.
Having had conversations with some unemployed people, I’ve found some put off the job search in the Spring because they thought the pandemic would be over quick. Why risk exposure? Then it dragged into the summer and these unemployed people ‘took the summer off’ to enjoy what they could. Don’t judge them too harshly; it may have preserved their mental health. With the rising numbers now in the fall, those same out-of-work folks are writing off 2020 entirely and looking to job search in 2021.
Some readers will feel that these unemployed people are likely the kind of people who are looking for excuses not to job search; and the pandemic is convenient. Like I mentioned earlier though, I can understand that protecting one’s mental health as well as one’s physical health is what they feel they are doing. To be blunt, people have died; a lot of people have died. Being out of work is pretty small compared with exposing oneself to a deadly virus and leaving loved ones behind for a new job at minimum wage.
Yet, despite the world-wide pandemic, people are looking for and finding work; employers are still advertising, interviewing and bringing new employees on board. The prudent thing is to be responsible and smart as you job search or hire. Take the time to look and you’ll see business owners being extremely mindful of increasing their safety measures. Hand sanitizer and facial masks are the new norms now, as is the 6 foot distancing rule. Handshakes are out, and while it’s taken some getting used to, we demonstrate that we are in fact a higher species when we adapt without exaggerating, “how simply impossibly inconvenient” these new norms are. Those that complain about having to put on a mask to enter a store to shop for 10 minutes should try working as an employee and wearing a mask for a 7 hour shift.
Job seekers have had to learn how to use Zoom, Teams or Skype and mobile phones are no longer luxuries but mandatory items of business. Working remotely has happened in companies where it would not have been thought possible less than 6 month’s ago. Adapt or go under.
Those who do job search at this time are doing so in innovative ways, networking via LinkedIn and WhatsApp. Can you imagine the problems we’d all have had the pandemic hit when we had no cell phones? It sounds ironic and odd, but in some ways I believe we’re closer to people than we were before the pandemic. Truly, we care more, we reach out more and we collaborate more in remote team meetings etc.
Maybe we’re healthier too? With less cars on the road, maybe we get out to ride bikes or take walks more often. Maybe we take in the sun in our backyards while in team meetings rather than sitting congregated in office spaces without windows.
There are advantages to seize if you’re job searching if you look for them. When you are interviewed, you can have all kinds of resources on your desk that you couldn’t take to an interview. You’re in the sanctity of your own home and you never have to worry about wind-blown hair or excessively sweating in scorching sun before arriving for your interview.
You have to decide for yourself when it’s the right time for you to job search. Just saying, “Not now when there’s a pandemic” isn’t good enough though, because people – a lot of people – are having success doing so. Whether it’s right for you personally is another thing and it’s okay if now isn’t the right time. On the other hand, being safe as you job search has always been good advice whatever the year and whatever the circumstances.
Take care people.