Time to keep your distance and hold your nerve

BY LIAM HORAN, sli nua careers

This week’s column is almost advice-free, given all that’s happened. It may be too soon for advice. People are still reeling from what has happened.

For the past week, employers and recruiters have been cancelling interviews at an extraordinary rate during this extreme ‘batten down the hatches’ period.

This phase can be expected to last some time, alas, and some jobs that were set to go to interview and/or appointment stage just a couple of weeks ago may never come to pass.

These days are eerily redolent of the chaos that descended during the economic crash of just over a decade ago, and it is now certain that we will be plunged right back into the worst days of our previous ‘Mister Hughes, gis a job’ time.

The current crisis, featuring health and economic concerns, is still unfolding; until the worst of it is over, we can expect a very slow time on the job front.

If you were chasing a new job or career, this is indeed a highly frustrating time. A dashed dream is a painful thing and a ‘woe is me’ reaction is entirely understandable. But, ultimately, sometime soon, you will have to dust yourself down and go again.

In the aftermath of the last crash, there was a dramatic re-ordering of what individuals did, and I would be very surprised if the same shift doesn’t occur this time.

If, as seems likely, things don’t just return to more or less exactly where they were, my view is that adaptability will be a key commodity in the immediate future. Some sectors will suffer much more than others – we can’t even be sure yet where the longest shadows will fall – and workers in those sectors will have to re-focus and re-train.

In any event, almost all sectors will take a hit.

In the years after the 2008 collapse, I saw builders retrain as carers for the elderly – and lament the fact they hadn’t done it earlier. I saw great people struggling to set up their own businesses. Others went for teaching after being in hospitality for years. Every avenue was explored.

Some of those are now faced with the prospect of changing again, and might be fatigued at the prospect. Others staring down the barrel of this downturn were teenagers when last we encountered a challenge like this and might struggle to contemplate how they will get through it.

I expect that many people will embark on new roads now. Change will be forced upon them. As a society, we will have to deal with this as best we can, and hopefully we will navigate all the challenges that lie ahead.

I felt we did quite well the last time. As I saw it, people and agencies all over the country made genuine efforts to lift us out of the morass; we need that spirit again now. We have come a long way since 2008, and we will just need to get back into the trenches again.

Not all is doom and gloom, however. I found myself launching a new wing of our business this week in response to a need that has sprung up in the downturn. I can’t claim any act of genius – I kind of stumbled on it – and it might tank rather than prosper.

Sli Nua Careers (www.SliNuaCareers.com ) have offices in Galway (Patricia Maloney, 091 528883 ), Mayo (Ballinrobe and Claremorris ), Limerick, Dundalk, Sligo, Tralee and a full online service. Their services include CV preparation, interview training, public speaking and presentation skills, and career direction. For more details, visit www.slinuacareers.com/galway-office


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