Clarity About Your Career Is Critical in the Face of COVID-19

Career targeting is important.

It is hard to overstate the importance of career targeting as affected executives look out across the swamp of what is to come. Searching for the stepping stones of solid ground. Skirting the bogs, quick sands, and other treacherous missteps that predominate.

Consider the industry perspective, for example. Airlines, hotels, restaurants, sports, cruise ships, movie theaters… in fact any business that requires individuals to gather in groups and potentially expose themselves to the virus are taking a beating, cutting back their plans, targeting less affected niches… or simply closing down either temporarily or permanently. Their suppliers are similarly affected. Witness the wilting demand for aircraft in the short term and the knock-on effects on aerospace in general, for example.

Conversely, food retailing and hygienic products (particularly bath tissue and sanitizer) are booming as are on-line businesses and internet-based services. Fortunately, we see tremendous demand and activity at the interviewing, offer negotiation, and landing stages of our career management services. We report these on our Hiring Line website. The need to demonstrate transferability of skills and experience now is stronger than ever.

So, choice of industry is one important reason to think carefully about your next career steps.

On a recent call with our senior consultants I asked them to summarize why recent clients had signed on. The variety of answers was quite astounding. Here are a few examples:

  • recently downsized due to the virus
  • tired of being repeatedly downsized; wants to try a new industry
  • hasn’t looked for a job in 20 years and has no idea where to start
  • liked the idea of having a six-member team to support him
  • got bored in retirement
Let’s take an in-depth look at Would-be Career Changers.

Statistically, let us compare a month before the virus became relevant and a recent month to see how would-be career changer motivation has changed. Let us choose November 2019 and March 2020. The sample size in this case is approximately 2,500 individuals.

Please note that from an income point of view, our prospects declare their most recent income and we have no immediate way of verifying it.

There was an increase in the lower income bracket from November to March of 5% points and a corresponding decrease in the middle bracket by about 4% points. It seems that the lower income bracket’s interest in changing jobs has increased.

Would-be Career Changers Declaring as Unemployed

Overall, the share of all income brackets indicating current unemployment has risen by about 5% to 50% in total.

In terms of the reasons would-be career changers cite for changing jobs, these remain generally pretty stable, however, there is one major exception: fear of unemployment has spiked by 5% points.

Those of you who read this blog know that I often refer back to Daniel Goleman’s seminal work, Emotional Intelligence, and particularly his description of the basic motivations hard-wired into our reptile brains: fear, dominance and gratification.

Would-be Career Changers' Reasons

So, it may be safe to say that while the share of would-be career changers driven by a need for dominance and gratification has remained fairly consistent, the share driven by current unemployment or fear of unemployment has grown markedly. I know, you are probably thinking, “big surprise there, genius!” However, we at the Barrett Group try to be fact-driven whenever possible, even when we are providing significant emotional support to our clients.

Fear can make you do things that are not constructive.
Fear can also make you do things that are not constructive in the long run, of course.

And that is why at the Barrett Group we emphasize the Targeting stage of our five-step career change program up front.

This gives both the client and the six-person team that supports the client a very clear and holistic understanding of:

  • who the client is (at peace and under stress),
  • what the client’s life circumstances currently are, and
  • where the client would like to be (professionally) in the near term.

This clarity helps enormously. For example, it demonstrates the transferability of skills and experience while changing industry or role or reentering the job market after a pause. That is why we call it the Clarity Program©.

Here is what one client says about her experience during this stage of the process:

“I did not know what to expect using these services. I am pleasantly surprised by the positive outcome, feedback and strategic plan. And I feel empowered and focused to move onto the next stage of my career transition. My Clarity Coach (Todd) was excellent. Todd really took the time to explain what we were doing and why, provide feedback on the various diagnostic test results and challenge me to build a detailed, thoughtful strategic plan – which we accomplished. I am grateful for his leadership and input.”

April 2020, the client elected to remain anonymous in this case

Of course, we offer numerous testimonials, news on current hiring activity, and individual, named success stories on our website: www.careerchange.com.

So, whether you are motivated by fear or need, or a desire for something new and different, you may want to consult the established experts on career change, namely, The Barrett Group. We have been helping executives clarify their career targets. And then go out and get the job of their dreams for thirty years now. We can help you.

Peter Irish
CEO
The Barrett Group

Barrett Speaks

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