.. can be devestating. There is a bloodbath in the post-COVID job market, and it is sparing no one. Senior management, middle management, fresh recruits, support staff, housekeeping, all are impacted – and there is no hope in sight.
A few days ago, I spoke with a former colleague who had lost his. In his mid 40’s, with a home loan EMI, a car EMI, multiple devices purchased on EMI, and two college-going kids, his family is going to rely on the income of the spouse, who is a college teacher. And, we all know how much teachers make.
Students, I have taught, at the MBA level are reaching out to me after their offers have been withdrawn by those who offered them placement. They don’t know when their career will start. All in all, it is rather scary for them.
For many of us, our sense of worth comes from the jobs that we do. We can argue until the cows come home on whether that is appropriate or not. But, the fact remains that is the way it is. And, suddenly a fair few people we know don’t have jobs. And, in a Post-COVID job market, with few jobs – there seems to be little hope of getting one in the near future unless there is a miracle, and things change.
In the scheme of things, compared to what migrant workers face, or small shop owners face, it may not be a huge thing. But, for those going through it, it possibly feels like the end of the world. So, what do you do if this has happened to you?
In a paper in the Academy of Management Review, authors Dean A. Shepherd and Trenton A. Williams write about Hitting Rock Bottom After Job Loss: Bouncing Back to Create a New Positive Work Identity.
They say:Hitting Rock Bottom After Job Loss: Bouncing Back to Create a New Positive Work Identity, Dean A. Shepherd and Trenton A. Williams
individuals who eventually hit rock bottom come to realize that the identity has been lost, which can lead to a path to recovery or to a path to dysfunction. The path to recovery involves escape through identity play and the oscillation between disciplined identity play and identity refinement/validation. The path to dysfunction involves escape though cognitive deconstruction.
There was a time between two companies where I had no job. No consulting, because i had given up all my consulting and teaching work to join the first company – and I was in a state of numbed shock. I can’t explain it, but it felt that I was walking around with this big sign on my forehead that said “she has no job”. It was quite devastating. And then, three months later, a job found me. I went back to being my normal happy self.
What Can you Do?
For older people in this situation, with relatvely large CTC’s you may need to take a call if you want to take a pay cut. Companies value experience, but, in a market like this, they may not be able to afford the experience. And, when you make that choice embrace it with your full heart. Don’t go in to the new job with resentment at earning less. Your pay scale does not define you, even if your job does.
For those who are entering the workforce – you may have to take a similar call. Pick up experience, and tenure, and jump when the market gets better. But, remember you are in uncharted territory as far as the job market goes. We don’t really now what the future of the job market is.
Life Long Learning
You will need to commit to a programme of lifelong learning. Little courses that build your theoretical base, others that build your skills. In my view, there are going to be a lot of lateral movements.
When I joined the media industry, it was a time when we were expected to be generalists. Lean, mean, teams were the order of the day – simply because we couldn’t afford more people. Most people my generation, learned multiple things in the media. We learned to make shows, ads, etc. We learned to manage people, teams, P&L’s. We learned to negotiate and sell, write and distribute. We learned on the job,
Today, you don’t have to learn on the job. There are courses, micro-courses, webinars that are available at little or no cost, to help you scale up. And, you need to keep adding to your portfolio of knowledge and skills. There is no choice. Embrace this.
Pick up volunteer positions with NGO’s, with civil society groups that are working hard to help those worse off than you. Can you help on a campaign? on Distribution? on building an app? On helping them keep accounts? How can you use the skills and knowledge that you have learned to build up your experience portfolio, whiled doing good.
This serves two purposes – one it looks good on your CV. But, the more important one is that it will make you feel good about yourself. It is a way out of the sheer darkness you think you are facing. And, at the same time you are helping others (but really, you are helping yourself).
Don’t Just Chill Out on Social Media Platforms – Network
Most of our time, energy, and effort on social media platforms is useless. You need to make it work for you. Engage with people in your industry, comment on their posts, get into conversations. DO NOT BE ABUSIVE or CLINGY. Maintain your dignity.
Use Linkedin Well. Don’t add contacts and immediately ask them for a job – it will be a turn off. Connect with them, communicate with them, and then see if there are opportunities. Join groups on Linkedin, that are associated with your specialisation.
Try your hand at the Gig Economy
Don’t Lose Hope
As Scarlett O’Hara said in Gone with the Wind “Tomorrow is another day”, and it may bring a better day for you. Thing may seem bleak, but it is always darkest before dawn breaks.
You will have to carry a positive attitude, and hope that things turn around sooner, rather than later.