Accepting What the World Will Let You Do: Advice for Job Hunting During COVID-19

Be flexible: The average person changes jobs at least eight times in a lifetime. Post-COVID-19, you may need to switch careers, particularly if you are coming from an industry such as Travel, Hospitality or Retail. If you are going to do this, be sure to think big – you will probably need to adjust salary expectations, maybe…

Accepting What the World Will Let You Do: Advice for Job Hunting During COVID-19

Be flexible: The average person changes jobs at least eight times in a lifetime. Post-COVID-19, you may need to switch careers, particularly if you are coming from an industry such as Travel, Hospitality or Retail. If you are going to do this, be sure to think big – you will probably need to adjust salary expectations, maybe take a temporary or part-time job, partake in longer commutes and even relocate. These things will become commonplace and if you are not prepared to do them, someone else will.

I was recently speaking with a very competent, professional, intelligent, delightful young lady who, six years ago, completed her university degree and secured a role with what was her “dream company” – a great opportunity with an exciting brand and fantastic culture. She performed very well in the roles she had there and progressed steadily until, in March of this year, she was stood down indefinitely, along with a significant number of her colleagues. 

Unfortunately, the company she works for has been hugely affected by COVID-19 and have not done a great of job of communicating regarding the cuts they’ve had to make. Being the intelligent lady she is, she can see the “writing on the wall” (her words) and has started applying for other opportunities.

The roles she is applying for are commensurate with what she did very well for the last six years. There is no doubt that she is more than capable of performing these jobs, and she is prepared to accept the same salary she was on in her previous role. However, despite her suitability, she is now finding that there are people applying to the same role who are far more qualified, will accept a salary lower than what they were on previously and in effect are prepared to “step back.”

While this is nothing particularly new and the same scenario is playing itself out all over the world, the interesting thing here is that although this lady understands what is happening and knows that she also needs to step back, she just cannot bring herself to accept it yet!

So, this is not a question of understanding the situation; it is a question of accepting, both mentally and emotionally, that the world has changed. 

We have had a favourite saying in recruitment, which is “What will the world let you do?” It simply means that it doesn’t matter if you are capable, experienced and proven; what matters is the supply and demand in the “world” (or in this case, the employment market). Right now, the “world” will not let this young lady have her previous role at her previous salary level because the supply and demand situation has changed. Simple, brutal but true.

Acceptance is Key

Understanding is not the issue – acceptance is the key. Right now, there are literally millions of people across the world who are going through this process of accepting the world has changed, and most will have to take a step back before they can step forward again.

The difficult thing with the COVID-19 is that not everyone is in this situation. For example, IT workers, online business employees, healthcare and community service workers are all in businesses where demand is higher than it was pre-COVD-19. It is highly unlikely they will need to take a step back – rather, they will be taking two steps forward!

Accepting What the World Will Let You Do: Advice for Job Hunting During COVID-19But those in the travel, hospitality, retail, some areas of construction and manufacturing, as well as support services such as marketing, training and human resources, are in a completely different situation. There is a separation between the “Haves” and the “Have Nots” which has nothing to do with skill, talent or hard work – it is the luck of the draw, and this makes acceptance very hard.

I feel for everyone who finds themselves on the negative side of this equation – it is not fair! For these people, the sooner you can emotionally accept the situation, the sooner you can move on. 

To do this, you will need to be flexible. This means you will probably need to adjust your salary expectations and step back a level in your profession, you may need to take part-time, casual or contract work, consider relocating, find some podcasts and commit to a longer commute, or even start that business you have been thinking about for the last few years!

Whatever it is, be nice to yourself. And remember, the world is a big place, and although it may not let you do some things, there are plenty of other things it will let you do!

If you need support with identifying your next step in this challenging market, get in touch with us today. 

 

Pete Davis is Managing Director of Frontline Recruitment Group (FRG). FRG is a specialist recruitment company with offices across Australia and New Zealand – they have been operating since the early 1990s and have worked in high unemployment environments with job hunters in many different industries. This blog series is about sharing some of the lessons from the past and integrating them with the technology and business practices of today. We hope you enjoy these articles and welcome your opinions.