Lost your job due to COVID? Here's how to prepare.

Published on Sep 3, 2020

I was chatting with a friend on social media about the upcoming economic recession, and how many white-collar, mature, middle managers—or PMETs as HR pros like to call them—are going to lose their jobs. Imagine losing your job in a recession when companies are tightening their belts, freezing hiring, and retrenching like bad breakups, and all the while at an apparent 'disadvantage' due to age, higher salary expectations, and being over-experienced. But there's also some other challenges many will face:

Not prepared: Most don't prepare for potential retrenchment until it hits them. Pre-COVID might be stable and hence there's little need to make back-up plans. But with economic recession coming, the threat of job loss is very real. How to nudge them to even start thinking/planning ahead?  

Too specialized: Spending a career specialized in one thing might be disaster if your entire industry goes under (e.g. aviation, travel, events). Many simply didn't even develop diverse skills in other work areas, or even had hobbies (that could potentially be a side gig). Getting them to build redundancy, be more diversified in skills against the prevailing specialization narrative is hard. How might we show the importance of building a portfolio of skills and side interests? 

Over-reliance on online job search: Fastest way to find jobs is through the strength of weak ties (ex-colleagues, work acquaintances, past clients), but most spend too much effort sending out resumes on job portals. The prevailing (bad) advice seems to be "Sit down and send out 100 resumes everyday." It's basically spray and pray. How to help them be more targeted, reactivate weak ties, and get social proof and recommendations into companies?

These points made me think about my own preparedness when it comes to economic and financial disruption. I'm self-employed, so I won't 'lose' my job per se, but might lose my income sources. The threat of gigs drying up for the medium term is very real now. 

How can I get ahead of the disappearing gigs and anchor down other alternative sources of income?

What other skills do I have that I can explore and make first steps into right now? 

How do I reactivate weak ties for opportunities, new or old?

Good questions to muse over and to (start to) act on ASAP......