While the precise number of job losses can be debated since March, the numbers between 20-40 million people who have lost their jobs is staggering to say the least. With 50% of the U.S. population living paycheck-to-paycheck, and that same number not possessing a 401k, the recent rise in the stock market only helps half of the population. With that being said, how can people improve themselves during this time so they are poised to thrive much sooner rather than later both during and after the pandemic?
Be Strategic Online - What segments of the job market are thriving and will continue to do so after the pandemic? The pandemic has accelerated the move to people working from home and using technology to do so. This trend will be a permanent change with organizations realizing financial benefits that come from not having to own or lease unnecessary brick-and-mortar establishments. Thus, any certifications, degrees, or skills (like programming or coding) you acquire online can significantly improve your employment chances currently, and for years to come. The key is to be very strategic in how you invest your time and money. Make sure the skills are in high demand and continue to be so. Keep in mind financial aid is available, but be very targeted in how much you might borrow and the return on your investment.
What is in Demand? STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) will continue to be in demand as will the ability to analyze data and create new content online. While the trades (plumbers, electricians, etc.) may be stifled a bit during this time, there is a significant shortage of people in the trades and will continue to be so for at least the next decade. Search for the most in-demand skills, certifications, and degrees to help you make your decision.
Possess Grit and Be Entrepreneurial - The human spirit is indomitable, and people love a comeback story because we all can relate to going through very hard times. But with the support of our families and loved ones, we can accomplish greater things for ourselves than we may have ever believed was possible. For some of you, now might be that time to start that new business you have been dreaming about for years...maybe start it online? The key is to be very strategic in the decisions you make and the actions you take.
While these suggestions may not be applicable to everyone, they are very deeply embedded in management research and can result in very positive turnarounds for individuals who are struggling and/or looking to make advances in one's career. Feel free to comment or ask questions as the goal of management research is to help people improve their lives while helping organizations thrive.
Dr. Jason Cavich