What to ask when you need to find a job during COVID
Recently, a lot of people have contacted me through my blog to figure out how to make money now that they've lost their jobs from Corona. I get it. People are seeing carefully built jobs and careers evaporate through no fault of their own, and it can be massively stressful and terrifying. In that situation, people can and will turn to any possible port in a storm, and hopefully that port will be able to help them, not exploit them.
The problem is that when people ask me what to do in really broad terms, I'm honored they trust me enough to make themselves vulnerable and ask, but I don't really know what to say or how to help them. Because without knowing more about them, I can't be a compass that guides them, I don't know what direction to point. So instead of giving a prescriptive set of steps for what you should do if you find yourself unemployed or underemployed, I want to give you a series of questions that you need to answer for yourself so you can know what direction to take yourself. It's comforting to think that someone else will just tell us what to do and it will work, but in reality, no matter the person's expertise, they don't know us like we know ourselves.
So, without further ado, here are 4 key questions you need to ask yourself if you need to get yourself financially un-stuck in this Coronavirus ridden world.
What skills do you have? Often these skills can come from the job you have now or had in the past. If your current job is gone, can you go to your past job that may still be there? Talk to people at your old job and see if you can use your contacts to get something there. Even if it's something you don't love, getting a paycheck right now may trump perfect professional fulfillment, which is not a romantic notion, but right now being practical might just be the best way to be safe. Think about how your skills and knowledge from past jobs or hobbies can combine to open doors in new fields they hadn't currently considered. For example, my love of writing as an English teacher and my nerdy hobby of Personal Finance led to this writing job you are reading right now!
What are your passions? What have you always wanted to do? What are the things you've been obsessing over or creating in your spare time? Are there any people you know who are doing that as a job? Talk to them and see if there's a set of steps to taking your avocation and turning it into a vocation. This could be a chance to pivot in your life, to try something you never had the courage to try before, or investigate a suddenly booming career in this very new economic landscape we are all navigating. This is especially good if you have some money saved up and can take the time necessary to do any groundwork that is required to break in to a new field.
What are you willing to do or not willing to do? Sometimes the fields that are hiring right now may be ones where you have to have face to face contact with others, like health care, food service, or delivery. This can be a scary proposition in the time of a pandemic. But if you are desperate, you may want to think about a riskier career choice, even if staying far, far away from others would be more comforting. Only you know your risk tolerance. But figuring this out for yourself can allow you to filter out jobs that you think are too risky.
What does your community need? While we all may be dealing with the choppy waters of the pandemic, that's not to say that we are all on the same part of the ocean or in the same type of boat. You need to look around you and see what are the specific needs of where you live, or where you're willing to relocate to. Talk to headhunters and HR people that you may know. Google headhunters in your area and talk to at least 3 of them. It's OK if it's something you don't think you're particularly qualified for. Remember that the President of the USA was a reality TV host, so who's to say you can't switch careers to something unexpected?
It's a hard time for everyone, some people are in worse situations than others. If that's you, I think you really need to figure out the answers to those questions above. That, and stop all spending that isn't truly necessary. Give yourself more of a financial runway to figure out the new covid/post-covid landscape and economy. Network like crazy. Do everything in your power not to lose your job. Maybe learn to code. Be flexible and willing to take on new challenges. I hope your life goes back to normal as soon as possible, or even better than normal.
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