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Sheltering at home, social distancing and wearing a mask has become the new standards set by the Covid-19 outbreak. There’s another related new normal that has emerged throughout the pandemic—sheltering in your job.

Since the outbreak started last March, about 80 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits. Some sectors, such as hotels, travel airlines, restaurants, sporting events, concerts, gyms and businesses that require face-to-face contact or large gatherings, saw massive layoffs.

There have been hot areas, like online retailing—Amazon—and other digital businesses that didn’t need to rely upon physical locations.

Even in areas where there are jobs, according to a study conducted by LinkedIn, people are not aggressively looking for a new job. The Workforce Confidence Index survey of 5,520 members in late January of the professional-focused social media platform said they’re reluctant to leave their jobs for another one.

They are afraid to take the leap. As job search strategist and Top LinkedIn Voice for 2020 Kamara Toffolo said in a LinkedIn Live, “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.” Some people feel it’s safer to stay where they are rather than take the chance to find a different job. It’s especially nerve-wracking, as the recent weekly and monthly jobs reports show that hiring is stubbornly slow, and the U.S. still has 10 million less jobs than before the pandemic started.

The fear is that you’d accept a job, only to find out later that the company is laying off staff, as their business conditions have declined. The prospect of interviewing through Zoom, and not meeting people in person, seems cold to many prospective job seekers.

They may also feel uncomfortable that the new job would have them  working at home without the chance to meet with and get to know their  new co-workers. It’s too easy for folks who are relatively content with their jobs to keep their heads down and wait things out.

They’ll rationalize that it’s not worth the risk. Even if they receive a 10% raise, after taxes, it’s not very meaningful. It’s not worth the stress, aggravation and uncertainty of engaging in the job hunt and accepting a position that may or may not work out well for a small salary increase. There’s the feeling that since we waited nearly a year for the pandemic to end, why not hold off for a few more months to see how things play out.

According to the LinkedIn survey, “When job-holders were asked about their motivations for staying in their current role, 74% cited some variant of ‘shelter in job.’”

LinkedIn’s Workforce Confidence Index study shows that collecting a steady paycheck (59%), enjoying a company’s perks and benefits (30%), waiting for a more favorable job market (15%) and having no time or energy to make a switch (14%) are motivations for employees to stay where they are.

Respondents also said, in addition to sheltering in a job, other motivations included truly enjoying the nature of one’s work (47%), applying or growing existing skills (24%) and building more expertise (21%).

There are, however, people who are dissatisfied with their current job, have a cruel boss, bad co-workers, aren’t learning or growing and feel the need to move on to something new and better.

For those who are in between jobs or unhappy in their present position, the survey indicated, “More than 60% of them are willing to switch industries or function. More than half are seriously considering going it alone—either by setting up their own business or taking a shot at freelancing.”

Although people may deem this as a risky time to make a career change, Diana Y.K. Chan, career coach and job search and interview expert, believes where there are risks, there are also rewards.

Instead of sheltering, she encourages people to remain proactive in managing their careers, stating, “I have found that those who are willing to make bigger bets are uncovering new opportunities or new roles.”

Chan advises those looking to make a change, “Stretch out of your comfort zone. Try something new and act in spite of fear.” She sees firsthand, in her line of work, how this fearless mentality proves to be meaningful and effective. “In the last two weeks, I’ve had over 10 clients land multiple job offers, making over five figures more. It’s crazy,” Chan said.

It will be interesting to see how things change once the vaccines are rolled out, a large percentage of people are inoculated and large financial aid programs, such as President Joe Biden’s $1.9 stimulus package, are enacted.

When this happens, businesses will quickly reopen. People will start feeling comfortable enough to get out of their houses and start living their lives once again.

The result should be a big boom in hiring to meet all of the new pent-up demand. The people who were riding out the pandemic will refresh their résumés, contact recruiters, career coaches, in-house corporate hiring personnel and jump-start their job search. We could see the ushering in of a new exciting, positive era of job creation.

Source: Forbes

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