Opening Up


There are a lot of positive signs that we will soon see the light of day and the other side of the pandemic. This is good news no matter who you are and what you do for work or play.  And while the future is starting to look like life post Covid will be similar to the world pre-pandemic, vigilance and caution remain important considerations.  For now we should all adhere to local health mandates and requirements, reading instructional postings at the entrances to stores and businesses, and follow the rules intended to protect ourselves and our loved ones, keeping in mind that one can be asymptomatic and still carry the COVID 19 virus and unintentionally infect others.  And we must also remain respectful.  Not everyone has achieved the same comfort level being in public knowing when to wear or not wear a mask, getting vaccinated, etc.  


On a recent road trip to Southern California, several factors about some of the pandemic’s effects were quite visible.  There were an awful lot of empty store fronts, many of which will remain unfilled for a long time to come.  Many of them small mom-and-pop businesses, but chains and franchises have also felt the impact.  Yet, now that people are moving about more freely, it is very evident that the public is spending money.  Retail shopping is picking up, and both the restaurant and hospitality industries are showing signs of revival.  Although many places can’t operate at full capacity yet, people are making reservations, eating indoors at restaurants and starting to travel.  Hotels are claiming an uptick in bookings and stays, even though most people aren’t traveling too far from home quite yet.  


This also means businesses are hiring.  In droves! Throughout the country, as more cities and towns open back up, their local economies won’t begin to really improve until more people are employed, have cash in their pockets and start to spend.  Along our various routes through California, we saw a lot of billboards advertising a wide variety of jobs. Among them, retail openings, restaurant and hospitality positions, legal and paralegal work.  If companies are announcing that they are hiring via billboards, they are motivated to hire and do it quickly – ads along major highways aren’t cheap!  The takeaway being that jobs are starting to become available to those who are motivated, willing to learn something new, are open to constructive feedback, and are able to face challenges.  If your current background or skills are even somewhat applicable to the requirements of a new position and career path, your chances of getting hired are substantially higher than those of an applicant without close-to-relevant experience.  But employers are so motivated now, they are investing in training so that regardless of related experience or not, they are willing to train the motivated and enthusiastic.  


While the above mentioned openings may not be in your chosen field, if you are presently out of work, you may want to rethink previous career aspirations and pursue something different, even temporarily, especially if you feel your former job may no longer fill your needs or may no longer be available. You could pursue something outside your previous experience just to keep money coming in and your mind and body occupied with productive activity.  Should your preferred type of work open back up again, there’s nothing to stop you from going after what is more professionally familiar and desirable. 


To lessen the fear and anxiety that comes with looking for a different kind of work, some communities are offering free retraining programs and financial incentives to pursue new jobs and careers.  Companies that are hiring are offering hiring bonuses and other incentives to on-board new staff as quickly as possible.  


Ironically, for many lower wage earners, the incentive to find work has been impacted by their receipt of unemployment checks and federal stimulus payments that have been adding up to more than they were earning or believe they could earn in a new job.  


There’s also the question of how much impact Corona Virus vaccination rates will have on employment?  How many employers will insist that their employees – new hires or returning/current workers – show proof of vaccination before being allowed to return to their place of business?  In what industries?  In some industries, their employees come from populations that have so far been slow to get vaccinated, or for any number of reasons, they are afraid.  This will definitely impact the ability for some to get (re)hired.  


Whether you’re looking for a highly skilled position, or a basic, entry level job, your motivation and commitment to work will determine your success in finding employment.  Right now, while so many people are still on the fence about their comfort in familiar work environments, is the best time to make your case to employers with jobs of interest to you.  There is a little less competition at the moment giving you more opportunities to get your foot in the door and demonstrate the impact your skills and motivation will bring to that job and employer.  


So, yes, things are opening up.  Will the door to a new position for you be one of them?