Life in the time of COVID-19

Updated: Jul 29, 2020

Happy Friday to you all!

Is it me, or does Friday seem like the entire month of April, and April is the 687 days that it takes for Mars to orbit the Sun?

What a beginning to Q1 2020 it's been in the employment sector: in 2009/10, America stood at 10% unemployment. In 2010, we experienced a series of several centralized Federal intercessions, new technologies, and the institutionalization of the gig economy, which drove a decade of incredibly low unemployment rates and incredibly strong stock-market activity.

Now, economists and workforce experts have said that these are not necessarily signs of sound economic and, more importantly, employment health, any more than great blood pressure is for a smoker who chain-smokes daily. These rates have nothing to do with things like unemployment, under-engagement, temporary/contract, and transient (gig) workers.

Fast forward to today as we look deeper into the statistics, we are seeing states that are being overwhelmed by unemployment claims as almost all persons have been crippled from delayed "stay-at-home" orders, small business closure (99% of 28.7M US Firms) and social distancing. (Though I went to the grocery store in gloves, mask and abided by the six-foot rule, the aisles aren't six feet across, so the jostling for the toilet paper began...)

States like Louisiana, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Indiana have been devastated with a projected 30% to 45% unemployment rates. These are incredible numbers that haven't occurred since the Great Depression. Many states were prepared for regional devastation(not for a pandemic) with quick recoveries through diversified economies that can mitigate some of their employment losses. But, who could've seen Q1, 2020 with a Frankenstorm of COVID-19, a trade war, and an oil battle between the oil titans? (Thanks, OPEC/Russia)

In other news, Florida, which was previously known for its ridiculous stories, such as these, pre-COVID-19 stories, were great comedic relief. (Crossfit, anyone?)

What isn't funny is the state government's inability to create, approve, and maintain a functional unemployment insurance program. Recently, Gov. Ron DeSantis stated that their unemployment technology is "cumbersome" and that they're working on claims as fast as possible. Now, I find changing an oil filter "cumbersome," so perhaps this is just a gross misperception of their current status or it's just political speak surrounding a catastrophic failure? Florida has approved 34,000 out of 800,000 claims and those claim submission numbers are increasing at exponential numbers (100K weekly) due to their economy being primarily focused around the hospitality, service, and tourism sectors that are being excoriated.

Florida is one of the worst states to live through a massive unemployment crisis. The lowest rates at a maximum of $275 a week, 12 weeks of support, and technology/paper-based claims that take 6-8 weeks to process have given them this distinguished award, but hey, they don't have an income tax, so that's nice. Gov. DeSantis, please for the love of all that's good...

I fully expect that there will be many workforces and industries that change as we live through the full impact of COVID-19, such as organizational restructurings, massive lay-offs, hiring freezes, and my favorite song by the corporate gods, "you have additional responsibilities, or else!" Many industries, careers, and jobs will change rapidly as companies try to recover. Many of you should be asking yourselves "what does Post-Covid-19 look like?" I'd like you to realize this is the largest temporary and potentially permanent human capital displacement, since World War II. Post-COVID 19 will have ramifications that ripple through all industries, careers, and lifestyles. I don't say this as a doomsayer, I say this as a pragmatist, who has experienced this ripple, myself. If you're not preparing for the future; then prepare to struggle in the future.

There is hope, though! New workforce patterns that are evolving to create the "Future of Work." For Instance, the immediate national acceptance of technology-enhanced work, remote work opportunities, increased technology-enhanced socialization, and my second favorite song, "You need to calm down" by my girl T-Swizzle.

Socially there is an interesting idea that I read recently, "The Great Pause." My colleague and inspirational muse, Jim and I, will be discussing this next week on May the Fourth.

Are you stressing about your future, absorbed in social media and the crazy amounts of information (disinformation), learning to be around your partner, kids, barking dogs 24/7, or "quarantining and chilling?" Or, are you keeping your eyes on the trailhead in front of you and proactively preparing for the future?

At Journe, we believe that everyone's story is as unique as your DNA and that your story doesn't start and stop with your resume. We've all experienced the failure of the antiquated career search and the application black hole that impacts us every day. We're here to empower your Post-COVID-19 career transition with a full suite of products that will accelerate your career readiness and career transition.

Come join us as we revolutionize the career journey.


Bryan Dyer

Your Career Concierge

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