All over the country things are starting to open up. Coronavirus cases have dropped dramatically thanks to those who have gotten vaccinated and followed recommended health protocols. But so many employers – in almost all job categories – are complaining they can’t find qualified applicants, and blame the worker shortage on extended unemployment benefits and federal stimulus payments. Rent and mortgage moratoriums didn’t motivate the unemployed either. Too many would-be workers believe they are better off staying at home collecting those benefits and economic incentives, but in fact, they are wrong. Unemployment benefit extensions will not last much longer, and at the moment, there is no guarantee there will be more federal stimulus payouts.

 

This was a missed opportunity for too many potential workers. Sadly, not enough people took advantage of their down time to get retrained or acquire new skills that would enable them to earn more when they returned to work.

 

The real benefits went to those few who chose to work, even if only part time, collect and bank their earnings and stimulus payments, giving them the opportunity to put aside some money every month for their savings. In fact, during the pandemic, the national savings average went up by one third!

 

In reality, when everything has fully reopened, the jobs people held before the pandemic may be available, but it is unlikely they will be paying more than they were when things shut down. Sure, some employers are offering hiring bonuses and other incentives, but they won’t last if the business can’t keep their doors open!

 

So the real question is: What are you waiting for?

 

Instead of sitting on your duff waiting, maybe enroll in an online course or take a class at the local community college. Many schools have been offering their own incentives to help people in their communities prepare for returning to work; some have dropped tuition fees, some offering discounted enrollment, and there are also some special programs for the long-term unemployed.

 

You don’t want to return to a minimum wage job? Improve your current skills and learn new skills!!

 

You don’t want to be passed over for that next promotion? Improve your current skills and learn new skills!!

 

You want to dress up your resume with more to offer an employer? Improve your current skills and learn new skills!!

 

You want to compete against other job seekers? Improve your skills and offer something to an employer other candidates can not!!

 

It’s easy to accept the comfort of home and the company of your partner, spouse, children and pets. But companies are inviting their employees back to the office, so your spouse may be leaving home daily to their job. And by the fall almost all kids will be returning to the classroom. So it might get awfully lonely on that couch all by yourself. Now is the perfect time to get some new skills under your belt, particularly those that will raise your value in the work place.

 

Really! What ARE YOU waiting for?

By Hank

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