Employed One Day, Unemployed The Next

unemployed man sitting on stairs


Lately, we’re seeing tons of articles with advice on how to have a video interview, how to work from home during COVID-19, etc. While it’s great to have resources, I’m not seeing too many articles about how this is really affecting people’s daily lives. What happens if you get laid off? What happened to our “normal” lives? How do we cope?


As a staffing firm, Staffing Solutions has always tried to help people through career transitions. We’ve been around since 1992, and I remember the challenges of working through the great recession while trying to help our applicants the best we could. Now, we have a whole different set of challenges that are facing our applicants—causing extreme anxiety and stress.


For the next few weeks, I want to talk about what’s REALLY happening as we try to adapt to this strange new world. What is this doing to people’s lives? What’s the “data reality” of our situation?


I had a video interview with a candidate earlier this week. She was having issues connecting to the Zoom program so we rescheduled for the next day. My first instinct was to be frustrated at the situation. But when we finally connected, she shared with me that she still struggled with getting the tech to work, and almost had a meltdown because she thought she’d have to cancel again. After a quick prayer, she was able to connect to the call 30 seconds before our scheduled time.


Our conversation had been off to a rocky start with the connection issues—and you could hear children running around in the background.


But—she was dressed beautifully, professionally, and it was obvious she took this interview seriously. As I sat and talked with this woman, I had a feeling that something more was going on in her life.


So, after we talked about her work history, she shared with me that she recently married a widower with 4 small children. Since he’s currently working 14 hour days on the front lines, she’s been taking care of the kids herself ever since she was recently laid off.


She also shared that her sister works overnights in a warehouse. They’re scared about the increased risk of infection, so her sister’s 2 kids have ALSO been living with this woman until the virus is under control.


I couldn’t believe it. After being laid off, this woman is now caring for 6 small kids (none of her own) while trying to find a job. We cried together, and I’m just in disbelief of how devastating this new reality is for so many people.


The bottom line: people’s lives are turned upside down. Nobody knows what the “rules of engagement” are for life during a global pandemic. People are scared of losing their jobs, losing a loved one, getting sick, paying their bills, finding jobs… the list goes on.


What can we do? We can be hopeful, and stay positive. We can try to help our applicants in their job search because it is the scariest time to go at it alone.


After that woman poured her heart out to me, I’m deeply determined to do everything I can to find her a job. Even though she’s overwhelmed and stressed, it was inspiring to see how strong she was and what she’s willing to do to take care of her loved ones.


This is the world we live in now, and it’s important to understand the reality of what people are going through and how they’re doing their best to manage. I’m sharing these stories with you so that when this is all over—we can learn from it. We can make changes to help people get the support they need when times are tough.


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