Are we nearly there yet?

Ever been asked that as a parent or remember sitting in the back seat and asking that question 20 times on a road trip as a youngster?

As a child back home in England, I used to holiday twice a year with my grandparents to a place called St Anne’s (a spot just outside of Blackpool in the North of England). My brother and I would have asked ‘are we there yet‘ before we had even hit the motorway, a sign of things to come for my ever-patient Granny and Grandad.

To make the long journey palatable we would celebrate landmarks from the back seat. About 30 mins into the trip we would get to the house that sits in the middle of the M62 (because the owners wouldn’t sell their plot to allow for the motorway to be built, so the council just built around them). Half an hour later we’d hit a spot where my brother once dropped his favourite toy out of the window and every year we’d drive by and look out to see if it was there by the side of the road. Next was the ’round house’, a house with round windows, a round front door, spherical bushes in the front garden and a bright red round mail box. The last milestone was Blackpool Tower and then we got really excited as we had almost made it.

In between milestones, we would play games like ‘spottabug’ meaning points were won for each sighting of a VW Beetle; we’d play the old classic ‘eye spy’; and my brother and I would learn a secret handshake to perform for our grandparents at the end of the trip. It wasn’t always enough to make the journey a smooth one. There was the inevitable boredom, fights, tears (a nap always helped) but ultimately we reached our hotel and it was time to let the good times roll.

During the pandemic, we’ve seen huge numbers of people displaced from their roles, either temporarily or permanently. My job has been as much about providing advice and strategies on navigating the journey out of COVID19, as it has been about working with my clients and placing roles.

For many candidates, this COVID19 journey has been a long and emotional one and in my many daily calls, I have been doing my best to offer hope, strategies and advice to job seekers, but always knowing that with the best will in the world, anxiety will remain until ‘we’re there’.

Acknowledging and celebrating milestones is really important. Taking the positives out of this developing situation is crucial and truly, each week that goes by, is a week closer to the end. We have seen restrictions easing, little spikes in jobs advertised online, the ASX back on the up and this morning I rose to news of a scandal that the Queen may have had her hand photoshopped in a recent official photo. To me this is great news. Why?!…. Because it’s a slow news day! And that means we’re not headlining COVID19 anymore which can only be a good thing.

With the spare time you have, learning new skills through online courses and improving existing ones is a great opportunity. The obvious upside is the acquisition of a new ‘string to your bow’ but not just that, you’ll have a much more constructive answer when in your next interview you’re asked “so, what have you been doing these last few months since your role was impacted?”. Being proactive and demonstrating your fighting spirit will be massively attractive to a prospective employer.

Don’t apologise for the toll this may have taken. Tears are fine, quarrels with those closest are almost inevitable and taking time for rest is just as important as everything else.

Academic theory on recessions categorises three key shapes: V Shaped (sharp down turn followed by a sharp upturn), U Shaped (a slower drop followed by a slower bounce back) and W Shaped ( we go down, we bounce up a bit, dip again and the bounce back strongly).

Whichever journey we’re being taken on, history tells us that we always come back strongly. So please consider the above, acknowledge the small steps, use the time to learn, don’t worry about behaving like a human being and have belief.

Oh, and eat lots of sweets!