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Survival of the busiest

What is the most common problem faced by people during the covid-19 pandemic?

Is it not being able to use their skills to do what they have been trained to do because they have lost their job, and that causes severe stress and anxiety?

Actually, NO…

The real source of stress and anxiety is not because of not being able to do something they were doing before lockdown or Covid. The real source of all the stress and anxiety is their inability to use their mind for anything other than they had been doing for the past so many years. Hence, they have got too much time in their hands; worrying about not being able to work. Some of those suffering from anxiety and depression are pretty well off and have adequate savings to get through the tough times. Others, with no savings, have a real reason to worry.

Here’s an example; a friend, who happens to be a seasoned Waiter (or at least was before the lockdown) in a speciality restaurant in Toronto, was fuming the other day for not getting enough work to make ends meet. Because of Covid, the dine-in facility has again been stopped in Toronto and he’s out of the job and struggling to make ends meet. When I asked him if he tried to do something else other than working in a restaurant? His answer was; “I have done this for 20 years and don’t know if anything else will work or not.” In other words, he has not tried to do anything else apart from doing what he was accustomed to doing.

So, what is the next best thing he did while sulking about not getting a job? He started taking Cannabis. Well, why not? They are legal in Canada, after all. So, now he is depressed and high most of the time. Similar is the case with a trainer and a health and safety professional I know back in India and many more like these two. They all had been doing whatever it is they were doing for a long time, and when suddenly they lost their jobs/businesses, they have no idea what else to do. Some are even scared that if they pick up a temporary job in a different field, then they might not be able to return to their field after everything is normal. All these fears are normal, but you got to do what you got to do to survive. I mean, it’s not that we all are accustomed to pandemics happening every day or something. These are indeed extraordinary circumstances, and people are losing jobs all around the world. Companies have been forced to cut costs, downsize and use innovative ways to stay afloat with lesser spending. Hospitality, Aviation and Tourism sector being the worst hit.

‘An idle brain is the devil’s workshop’, is the apt saying I would use to describe their situation. Hence the title ‘Survival of the busiest’. Best way to overcome any kind of stress is to keep your brain busy with constructive activities. In this case find a survival job to keep yourself busy and to keep your account replenished.

There are only two options for job seekers, the way I see it:

1. Wait for a job in your respective field (Go for this option if you have substantial savings or even just enough to get you through the phase) else go for the option two below,

2. desperate times call for desperate measures, pick up a job which best befits your skills, experience and qualifications. Let’s call it a survival job, and you are not going to like it, it is not going to be pretty. You may have been at a senior position or have 20 years of work experience earlier, but now you may have to work under a much younger person with much less experience. So, swallow the bitter pill and get on with it.

So long as you can focus on the aim of survival or a temporary job; which is to SURVIVE the pandemic, point two mentioned above won’t cause any additional stress to you.

Using my experience in a survival job, through this article, I wanted to share the basic requirements for a survival job, ways to look for survival jobs and a list of companies offering survival jobs in Canada.

Few of the necessary skills required for a survival or a temporary job are:

1. English communication skills (some of the below mentioned would pay more if you know more then one language)

2. Technical knowledge (Basic to advanced computer knowledge depending upon the profile)

3. Expertise in customer handling and customer service

4. A drivers license and a vehicle

5. Capable of doing physical activities (some survival jobs require standing for an extended amount of time or lift objects)

To start with:

1. Pickup a few skills mentioned above and create separate resumes highlighting these

2. Start highlighting skills which were lying dormant for ages such as customer service, recruitment, etc.

3. Register with recruitment agencies such as ABL, Manpower, etc. They have a much broader reach and can send your profile to multiple companies simultaneously.

4. Apply with companies directly using job portals such as Indeed, Monster etc.

Here is a list of companies which are always looking for talent despite the Covid-19 crisis and the subsequent lock-down:

1. Contact Centers and BPO’s would be an excellent place to start with because they also offer work from home opportunities. This sector has got some of the most amazing options ranging from processes dealing in Banking, Technical Support, Telecom, IT, Education, Accounts, Insurance, Financial services etc. So, find your niche.

2. Retail sector is still booming so that might be the next place to look for when it comes to a survival/temporary job (Walmart, Weston Group, Empire Company, Costco Canada, Sobeys, IKEA, Shoppers Drug Mart, Metro, Canadian Tire Corp, The Home Dept, Dollarama, etc., to name a few are always recruiting)

3. Look for a job in a fast-food chain rather than only applying with speciality restaurants (McDonald’s, KFC, Subway, Tim Horton’s, Pizza Pizza, Popeyes, etc.)

4. Big clothing and apparel brands are always looking for people with good communication skills for customer service (Urban Planet, Zara, H&M etc.)

5. Security sector is always on the lookout for professionals (You can also do the certification for the security sector online)

6. Warehouses are always on a lookout for the workforce (Amazon and other big-brand warehouses are still on a hiring spree, and they also pay better than most of the jobs mentioned in points 1–5)

7. Food, grocery, and medicine delivery companies are always looking for people with a vehicle and relevant license (Uber, SkipTheDishes, Doordash etc.

8. Uber has made it easy for anyone with a license and a car to earn money. Explore Uber and other ride-hailing apps.

9. While you are at it, walk into a nearby mall or the shopping centre and start applying at places with notices for recruitment

10. The best of all, start your own business. A lot of unique businesses have come up during the Covid crisis. My wife makes gift items at home and sells them online, an ex-senior executive lady sells home-cooked food on Uber Eats after she lost her job during the lock-down, and many more. There are tons of case studies online for this.

Also, while you are waiting to get a job try one of these or all (might just work for you):

1. Research — See which industries/job profiles are at par with your current profile, qualifications, skill-set, and experience. And, then create multiple resumes and cover-letters for respective profiles.

2. Be flexible — This is the keyword to get through these troubled times. You will have to do a job you have never done before and work in a profile much less than what you were doing earlier but be flexible and give your best shot.

3. Learn — While you are at home, learn something new. A lot of portals offer online courses Udemy being prominent. Get yourself up skilled or learn a new skill-set. The list of online courses (long term & short term) is exhaustive.

4. Network — There’s nothing that cannot be achieved with good old networking. A lot of Facebook groups are there where you can discuss potential career and business opportunities with like minded people.

If at all the above doesn’t make any sense and remaining in constant stress, being irritable with family and friends, getting high and abusing the government helps you get through the Covid crisis, then by all means, go ahead, its a free country.

However, even if a part of this makes sense, at all, then get busy and make some changes now…

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