Looking for work in a Covid World — it’s possible

Looking for work in a Covid World — it’s possible

Being unemployed or under-employed and searching for work during the coronavirus pandemic certainly presents unusual challenges, especially when most work environments are still under a quasi-lockdown. In the U.S. alone, the furloughs and layoffs of more than 25 million wage-earners has adversely affected the economy, coupled with the reality that some companies are trimming wages of existing employees to help reduce the cost of doing business. Hence, any mere mortal might be forgiven for being discouraged.

Wherever you might land on the spectrum — from unemployed to underemployed — you can still manage your career amid the pandemic and all that it entails.

Beware the Prophets of Doom! Since the 2008 collapse of the U.S. economy, followed by 10% unemployment in late 2009, there has been a long stream of soothsayers on various cable networks predicting economic Armageddon. This pandemic, coming as it does after we have had an unprecedented bull market and a strong economy, can make unemployment even more daunting than usual.

The economy runs in cyclical patterns, and what goes up eventually trails downward. But listening to continuous negativity is not doing you any good. Having lived and worked in four countries, and having interviewed thousands of candidates for employment, I can comfortably attest to at least one fundamental truth: there is a strong and enduring correlation between your ability to sustain a positive attitude and your success in finding the job and career you want. Do yourself a favor and turn off your television.

Hold on to hope: The extent of our economic malaise will be directly proportional to the pandemic’s duration. However, the U.S. unemployment rate dropped in August to 8.4%, following the high of 14.7% in April. Most of this number was pandemic-related. When we reached that high, the economic naysayers were beside themselves. “Highest unemployment since the Great Depression,” they bellowed. And they were right. However, what they did not say is that, in the Great Depression, the stats touched 25% unemployment — a far cry from our April number. And note, the August numbers represented four continuous months of improvement. Yes, companies and small businesses are closing or laying off employees, but there are other companies that have adapted to produce pandemic-related goods and services. While the pandemic looks to be lingering right now, there is reason for hope.

Energy begets energy: Something magical begins to happen when you put energy into your career search. When you ramp up your networking —begin to make contacts, meet people (virtually or otherwise), and activate phone calls and emails — the universe responds to your activity. You undoubtedly have heard the expression “feast or famine.” Well, the feast is most likely to occur when you are on the hunt, not when your spear is locked away for future combat. The universe will reward you for your new-found energy output.

Be mindful of your emotional Doppler: You probably would not want to be on an unexpected job hunt by choice, but if you are in that circumstance, try to keep perspective. Framing the situation correctly in your own mind is vital. Say to yourself, “I’d rather not be here, but given that I am, how can I make the most of it?” The vast majority of people you encounter will want to help, though I always forewarn folks that, while you will be pleasantly surprised at who comes out of the woodwork to help you, you may be equally disappointed to see who doesn’t. The job hunt is hard work, and you need to manage your emotions. It is “show time,” and the best of you has to show up.

And a word for the rest of us: If you know someone who is on a job hunt, your world will not collapse if you devote twenty minutes of your week to network with that person. You can even do it over Zoom, or Teams, or any such video-conferencing program. There is such a thing as karma, and your kind and caring investment undoubtedly will find its way back to you.




  • Claire Fracker

    Charles This is a Great article and full of positive advice during these trying times. Keeping a positive attitude and the idea of hope and to continue to put energy and time in the search of jobs. Your expertise is such an awesome gift to job seekers out there. I will share this with my granddaughter as I feel it is an inspiring article for our youth.

    September 24, 2020 at 10:20 pm
    • Thank you Claire. I appreciate you passing this on.

      September 25, 2020 at 9:43 am
  • Anonymous

    Great advice. I have the luxury of choosing retirement in this crazy time but many of my colleagues were not so lucky. I am going to send them your article. The ones who are landing on their feet, are those you are positive and who are willing to come out of their comfort zone.

    September 25, 2020 at 12:10 am
  • Thank you anonymous. I hope this is helpful to your colleagues.

    September 25, 2020 at 9:44 am
  • Gordon MacNair

    Charles, great words of wisdom which I will share. Take care my friend.

    September 25, 2020 at 10:08 am
  • Great advice, all around. I’ll help anyone that reaches out and its important to encourahe others to do the same. Your network knows you best.
    And way to keep positive.
    Goid luck to you Chuck.

    September 25, 2020 at 11:49 am
  • Gordon Dalgard

    Hey mate,
    Well thought out supported with cogent rational thinking. As devastating as the Spanish Flu was, the world did not collapse nor disappear. There are many reasons to believe that despite everything we will survive.
    Well said Chuck

    September 25, 2020 at 3:15 pm
  • Gerald MacMillan

    Inspiring mesaage. You have eloquently put the financial hardships many are experiencing through these covid times into perspective while offering words of advice and encouragement.
    I will certainly pass on to friends, especially those from the North Shore!

    September 25, 2020 at 8:03 pm
  • Jean Short

    Yup! These same tips work for everything you want to attract in your life. Thank you Chuck for share this optimism.

    September 25, 2020 at 8:38 pm
  • Paul Mayer

    Great article Chuck.
    As there are very tough days during a job campaign, keeping a positive attitude and trusting in yourself is always key to success.
    I will be sure to pass along your thoughts as we conduct our weekly Networking meetings for all those in career transition.
    Your suggestion to assist someone during a job hunt is right on mark. We can all appreciate a helping hand as we make our
    way through this very unusual time.
    These insights will be valuable and supportive.
    Thank you,

    September 25, 2020 at 8:57 pm
  • William Dunn

    Great advice, Chuck. These times will pass, we need to be positive, adapt as needed and generate positive energy.

    September 25, 2020 at 8:58 pm

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