My how quickly things have changed. There’s life as we knew it “pre-corona” and life as we’ll know it after. And the defining elements of this new universe will be marked by masks and gloves and colored with phrases like Social Distancing, Self-Imposed Isolation and Shelter-in-Place. Wow…just wow.

Oh, the good old days. Remember when we were free to roam about our planet? Moving around countries, cities, towns, stores, companies, and social events with our carefree attitudes? Unconcerned whether the person in the adjacent airline seat, ahead of us in line at the grocery store or in the next cubicle was unknowingly spreading a potential villain with their breath or on their hands? Yikes. It does have rather sinister and surreal overtones, yet this is life now. With fingers crossed and prayers to our respective deities, let’s hope this isn’t forever, but we do need to prepare for a transition. It seems to be the start of a whole new world for us all – personally, socially and professionally. Yes, there’ll be an adjustment period but seeing as we humans are responsive, creative, adaptable creatures, I sense we’re going to be just fine in the long run.

Professionally speaking though, what can we expect? Work for many people isn’t just a four-letter word, something dreaded and awful. It’s something we love, something we’ve cultivated like crops in a garden or nurtured throughout a lifetime. Something that provides us with not only money, but purpose. How can we continue to do what we love and do it safely and efficiently, yet remotely?

Well, let’s be real, there are still a few jobs that can’t be done remotely at this time. We don’t have robots (yet?) manning grocery stores, caring for the sick, repairing cars, harvesting crops or cooking and serving in our favorite restaurants. These jobs already look different though. Grocery clerks are behind plastic screens. Caregivers are covered head to foot in PPE. Car repair technicians wipe down steering wheels with sanitizer before a test drive. There are concerns there may be shortages of field workers who can’t travel yearly to farms. Fewer tables mean less customers, so less servers will be needed. Chefs are boxing up meals for take away.

But what about those who work in a traditional office setting? How will things be different there? A few months ago, who would have thought so many people would now be working remotely? Well, some did, like savvy tech startups, forward thinking companies and innovative leaders who already knew that retaining some of the best talent means being flexible with space and time. This isn’t a new concept folks. But, for all those who’ve struggled with employers who still maintained a “tush in the cush” (I know one who said this phrase regularly) attitude emphasizing a hard-nose start to finish time in the office, hang tight because there’s change afoot.

As employees, for those of us who have already dabbled in remote work, the transition will be a bit easier. For those who haven’t there’ll be an adjustment period but trust me, you’ll get used to it. You grow to like not worrying about getting home to walk the dog or checking if the kids are ok, because they’re right there with you. This can also present a challenge, well, because they’re right there with you. The dog will to tell you when he or she has to go out and even the quietest of kids need attention. So when you’re struggling to focus without distraction, just think of the money your saving on “work clothes”, commuting, and lunches out.  

For employers, virtual meetings and file sharing have become regular occurrences with staff. With the ability to connect distantly, costs associated with in person meetings, seminars and conferences have diminished. With slashed budgets, this mode of sharing information will be more desired than ever before. And employers now have to do what some find unimaginable, actually trust that their employees are doing their job. 

So, business as usual is now business as unusual. Yet, some business is still getting done. People will find a way. It’s what we do. And work-life in the new coronaverse will be the same as before, only different…a new brand version of both order and chaos, working side by side.


Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

Job Loss, Change, and Metamorphosis

I’ve been thinking a lot about the word “change” lately in relation to job loss.  By definition the noun form of the word means, “the act or instance of making or becoming different”, and there’s no question that a sudden job loss is defined by change in its truest and very unsettling meaning.  But, what’s interesting is that when you look deeper at synonyms for the word change, some other words arise.  Adjustment and modification are expected, but look at some others such as, transformation, reconstruction, and metamorphosis!  My personal favorite happens to be metamorphosis.

Many of us have experienced sudden, unpredicted job loss either first-hand or through the people we know and love.  Job loss initially invokes (and rightfully so!) shock, fear, anxiety, and perhaps even loss and grief.  For those of us that put a lot of heart and soul into our work, it can even seem more unsettling.  Maybe we didn’t want to leave our job, perhaps we’ve developed an extended family in our workplace, and maybe, like many of us, we’re unprepared for the financial stresses associated with a sudden job loss.  Perhaps our confidence is shaken, and we feel we won’t find work again.  Well, I say two things about those thoughts. One, there is ALWAYS, ALWAYS work to be done in the world, so that statement is null and void. Second, try to let go (even a little bit) of those negative thoughts and take a little bit of time to focus on yourself. 


Below are some tips to help navigate the transition.

Then…let’s reflect on the word metamorphosis!


Give yourself a little break!  Take a little bit of time to let the shock, anger, and grief pass through. Maybe it’s a week, a few weeks, or a month.  Everyone is different, but also be aware that the longer the negative thoughts continue, the longer the change process will take.  I’ve seen people still not able to get past job loss years later, yes years!  Pay attention to your feelings, as they’re expected, but if you’re focusing on the negative for too long, it may be harder to reach something positive.


Get your ducks in a row.  Take some time to look at the actual “data” associated with your finances. Know money-wise, just what you need (need, not want!), to get through the next 1 -3 months.  And, you may have to consider forgoing that Grande Mocha Frappuccino with a double shot of espresso for just a bit.


Call in the troops! Now’s the time to not be shy and to let your network of friends, family, professional and personal acquaintances help you through the transition…the same as you would do for them.  Find “the doers” in your support group and not just the ones who will wallow with you in self-pity (although there’s a little place for them too, in small doses!) It’s amazing how much people want to assist others, so let others help!  And, they might even treat you to that occasional Grande Mocha Frappuccino with a double shot of espresso!


Develop an action plan. Do you need a resume or CV updated? When was the last time you updated your LinkedIn profile? Have job search and online applications changed since the last time you looked for a position? Probably! Take some time to update your professional resources and then develop a realistic plan of how many positions you will apply for daily/weekly.  Job searching today needs to be targeted and tailored, so don’t just be willy nilly and apply for anything and everything out of panic.  Those types of job searches rarely are productive.


Make some time for self-care. Although the initial desire may be to avoid people, the gym or even the mirror…keep some of your daily routines.  Get up at a regular time, open the blinds, get dressed for the day (get out of those pity party jammies, as appealing as they may seem!), hit the gym, and spend some time talking to people throughout the day.  If you don’t have a defined routine because work and personal life took precedence, now may be the time to start one, and focus on YOU!  Grab a buddy and go for a hike, take that yoga or spinning class you’ve been considering.  Getting some exercise helps oxygenate the brain and you’ll think clearer.


Reflect on the word metamorphosis and what it could mean for you! Think about the possibilities of what “work” could look like next year at this time.  Will you return to school and be a student again?  Could you be in a whole new industry or even a different part of the country… or world!  Perhaps you’ll come to the realization that your last position was holding you back from pursuing other amazing opportunities.  I’ve seen people transform their lives in new, unexpected ways, so give yourself permission to consider the possibilities!


Caterpillars, those weird, furry, little creatures don’t wake up one day and say, “Yeah, I just don’t feel like changing today”.  Their change happens regardless, and the result is spectacular to say the least. Job loss is change.  Change is metamorphosis.  Metamorphosis is a spectacular process.  Face it…embrace it…and you may soon be pleasantly surprised at what emerges!


by Christine Demcie