There is a well-established precedent for crises as a catalyst for progression and advancements. It is widely believed that COVID-19 will not be an exception to this pattern as experts usher in the ubiquitous ‘new normal’. There is no denying that the pandemic has had a disastrous effect on employment around the world and this should not be understated. However, despite this, indeed because of this, there is a growing movement among jobseekers to redefine their careers, to redefine themselves as entrepreneurs.
While the government was busy denigrating and discounting creatives in this country, the mass population were relying on the fruits of creative pursuits more than ever before. Lockdown and social isolation were managed for many by watching, listening, reading content produced by artists. It is emerging and established creatives who have dragged us through these difficult times, and it looks like they will solidify this position of importance, to the detriment of the tech industry.
We have seen people young and old leaning into their hobbies and beginning to reenvisage these hobbies into viable career opportunities. While circumstances that have led up to this shift in thinking have been dire, redundancy and unemployment levels not to be discounted, it appears that many have emerged with a cautious optimism. Where previously we might have not allowed ourselves the time to commit to a passion project, the time has been thrust upon many of us through furlough and loss of external work available. From slow fashion brands and candle manufacturing to delivery services and food production, we have seen small new businesses spring up aplenty. Budding entrepreneurs are met with a fertile ground in which more and more business is conducted online, and many consumers are prioritising shopping small and local.
It is worth noting that we cannot all be business owners - that kind of commitment and responsibility is obviously not accessible to all. While job seeking right now may seem futile, the career opportunities are out there, and often more accessible than ever to parents, carers, the disabled and neurodiverse communities and all workers who value flexibility. What we are seeing is a growing wave of newly unemployed people re-evaluating their skills, their experiences and their career trajectory to explore new possibilities. The barriers to change have been forced down. The pandemic has sparked fear in the world of employment, but also realisation and possibility. Whether you have found joy in working from home, stumbled across a different field entirely, or re-examined your workplace priorities, many are finding now as the time to take the leap.
According to Personnel Today, 70% of people are likely to consider working in a different sector as a result of the pandemic, and of those who have transitioned into a different career, over half say that change was welcome. In these uncertain times, make sure you value your unique skill set and broaden your expectations of where it could take you.