Where Are They Now?

What a crazy time we’re living in. The COVID-19 pandemic hit this country and much of the world, hard! In many areas, shelter at home orders are still being imposed or re-imposed because of increases in infection numbers, and face coverings are still encouraged for those times you leave your home. And if you are one of the lucky ones who still have a job, must you leave the comfort and security of your domicile for the insecurity and potential health danger of an office or other work environment? If you must leave your home to go to work, I sincerely hope that you are able to stay safe and healthy, and maintain appropriate social distance for your own protection and that of those with whom you work and those you encounter on your way to and from the job.


But for the millions of folks who have lost their jobs – furloughed, laid off or fired – where will their next jobs be? Competition is brutal due to the high levels of unemployment resulting from the virus, so creative thinking and potentially pursuing nontraditional or part-time transitional employment might be the answer for many job seekers. And right now, for too many people, any job is better than no job!


The type of jobs some people will now go after will certainly, in part, depend on their comfort level with things like contact with the public, utilizing public transit and other individualized circumstances that at presently could pose health risks. Remember: Mitigating health risk is a 2-way street; everyone must protect themselves, but also be mindful & protective of those around them. Hopefully, those around you, those you’ll be working for, and with, will agree with and take seriously that necessity!

Among the positions that are in demand at the moment are census tally workers. Because of COVID-19 the collection of data for the 2020 Census was dramatically delayed, and in many communities, census tally workers are still needed to count and break down the collected data.


Those who are able to clearly communicate in more than one language have an advantage over those who are monolingual, for their ability to speak to those for whom English is a second language. People adept in American Sign Language (ASL) are as in demand as those who speak foreign languages to be inclusive and provide a more diverse workforce.


Applicants with good foreign language skills can often find work at hospitals, clinics and related facilities to help with translation for non-English speakers. Lots of businesses use translators on a regular basis for document translation or localization projects. So if there’s a particular industry where you’d like to be and have strong language skills beyond English, there might be some interesting opportunities.


Contact Tracers are also in demand. Some of the work is face-to-face, and some of it is conducted over the phone. If you are the kind of person that others open up to, and you can make strangers feel comfortable enough to reveal sensitive information about their health and with whom they have been in contact, get in touch with your county health department to inquire about local and regional Contact Tracing positions.


Now that we’re in the last couple of months of the year, the need for package handlers, sorters and delivery personnel is on the rise and will stay high through the end of the year, at least. The pandemic has dramatically curtailed retail shopping, replaced by online ordering. The U.S. Postal Service, FedEx, UPS, DHL, Amazon and other carriers large & small are all hiring right now, and should continue to ramp up their hiring at least until the end of the year. Not just driving jobs but warehouse, sorters, route supervisors and other positions need to be filled.


Many small, regional and local package delivery companies are also looking for drivers. Flower shops, supermarkets, grocery and food delivery app companies like DoorDash, GrubHub and InstaCart, cannabis dispensaries, pharmacies, personal shoppers and more are all looking for reliable people with good driving records to keep their goods moving.


Nursing homes, elder care and rehabilitation facilities, home health providers are all looking to fill openings right now. The pandemic has made this sector very difficult to keep staffed. Obviously, along with the usual clerical and administrative staff, trained and licensed personnel such as doctors, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, dieticians are among those needed. But so are those with less training to keep patients company, help them with their daily routines, assisting with shopping and personal care. Compassion and empathy are the starting requirements.


Obviously those mentioned are just a drop in the bucket compared to the real number of positions available out there. July, August and September showed very positive employment gains, and hopefully the pandemic will recede enough for more jobs to open up and hiring happens in big numbers. But until then, don’t sit around waiting for things to get better. Be proactive. Whether you’re looking for your first job, hoping to return to what you were doing before the Pandemic or need to rethink your employment options, check the respected job search sites like Indeed, LinkedIn, GlassDoor, Monster, Simply Hired, and the websites of individual companies that interest you to see their openings, learn of their qualifications and to submit your resumes. Even in the age of COVID-19, there are opportunities for gainful employment. You just need to go after them vigorously and convincingly.