Changing careers in a pandemic

On the radio again, this time with BBC Radio Hereford and Worcestershire. You can listen to the recording here:

As part of the researcher the journalist found:

  • A musician who lost her job of 25 years, and now does painting and decorating
  • A publican who’s become an undertaker
  • A property developer who now sells tools in a shop
  • A retail manager turned photographer
  • A marketing worker who now sells pizza from a pop up tent with his brother, who also lost his job as a landscape gardener

As some people prefer to read, rather than listen, here are my comments against the questions asked, and a few other things too

Is there any such thing as a job for life?

There were many changes before Covid due to greater use of technology resulting in more professional jobs (law, accountancy) moving to technology with job loss. So, we all need to focus on keeping our skills up to date, noticing the changes out there (for possible new jobs) and good relationship and communication skills will be help

What advice would you give people who are out newly of work?

  • Understand who you are and what you can do
  • Notice what jobs are available
  • Have a good cv and focused applications
  • Know that most jobs are not online – reach out to people and contact companies direct
  • Stay positive
  • Keep active and see how you can develop yourself
  • If you feel down, talk to someone – mental health is important

and plenty more detailed advice in my book – Find Work at 50+

Is there an important mental side to this – if people believe they CAN do something, are they usually right?

It has to be based on reality – I’m never going to get a job as a ballet dancer or pilot – without extensive training and aptitude, BUT if you really want to go for something and you can see how you measure up you need to

  • Be able to articulate WHY you are good for the job
  • Do research  – find out as much as you can on the job and show how you measure up
  • Have some relevant expertise/ skills – and you may seek to develop that as the first step
  • Believe you can – talk to yourself like a sportsperson before e.g. a race or match.  Be clear on all the reasons why, but it does need to be based on reality

Will we see more people change careers now?

We will – if your job has ceased to exist for now, or you have been laid off and there are few vacancies it is time to look for something new

  • Could be you were never happy, and this is your chance to retrain as e.g. a florist or data specialist or undertaker
  • Maybe as a short term move till what you want to do starts opening up again
  • You are pragmatic you must get ANYTHING – remember your job doesn’t sum up who you are. Some of the senior people I work with, their personal identity is tied too closely with their job and find it hard to no longer be the boss/ have power, things change, but not for ever. Keep reminding yourself of your strengths and the many other roles you have – father, daughter, friend, volunteer …

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