With 3,138,785 infected persons worldwide at this time, COVID-19 has so far led to the loss of about 218,009 lives globally. After shutting the whole world down the virus poses more threats ahead for economies to deal with. In the United States alone, more than 22 million jobs have been lost already. Last week, 5.2 million people filed unemployment claims, bringing the total to 22 million in the four weeks since President Trump declared a national emergency according to reports from the Washington Post. Experts fear there could be more in the coming weeks.
In this article, we will discuss global job losses and how you can prepare yourself for tough times as this. The 2008 depression was terrible but just 1.2 million jobs were lost in the USA and even compared to the great depression which took place between 1929 and 1933, only 12 about million jobs were lost in the USA. I’m using the USA because they have been the centre of the world economy for over a century now.
The number of jobs that have already been lost cannot be compared to any historic event in recent times. The reason it is not particularly being felt right now is that about 3 Billion people are still on lockdown and there are stimulus packages that are being put in the help economies as humanity deal with the greater threat, the virus. The full effects of this economic shrinkage will be felt when the world opens up again. Reports say Africa may up to 20 million jobs to the pandemic.
The world has been through lots of hard times and this will not be the last one. However, if there is anything history tells us, it is that hard times always yield more success stories than anything else. It is a little known fact that more millionaires were made during The Great Depression than in any other era in U.S. history.
What makes these people able to stand tall in times like this? How are they able to expand when all others are shrinking around them? In order to stay in the context of this article, I will not try to answer these questions. Instead, I will talk about the 3 things you need to do to enter the camp of the tough. When you get them right, you will not be pushed around by life situations, instead, you will thrive when all others are shrivelling.
Make sure to never need a job again
I asked a friend why she was starting a business instead of just getting a job. She told me she wanted to be her own boss. I realised that many young people think that to be your own boss you must have your own business. Due to this, young people that are not entrepreneurial seem to believe that they can never be their own bosses whiles working for someone. Nothing could be further from the truth.
When I say, “make sure to never need a job again” it does not mean you should not work a job ever again. What it means is that your job must need you more than you need the job.
A lot of companies will lay off lots of their employees but they do not do this through a shuffle. They carefully select the employees they can lay off with the least impact on their operations. If your value to the company is not very vital to their ability to achieve their set targets, you will always be among the first to go when they cannot afford the luxury.
In order to be your own boss even when working a job, you need to think like a consultant and not an employee. What makes consultants so valuable and companies are ready to pay so much for their time? It is because they know how to solve problems and bring value to the company.
You need to learn about your company and what their aspirations are and then you can develop yourself to be of the value they cannot easily part with. That is the only way you can braise yourself against sudden layoffs. If you learn to do this properly, even when you do lose your job, several others will be lined up for you no matter the economic conditions of the time. There are many ordinary employees but very few of the truly exceptional. So when you make yourself the truly exceptional you will never need a job again, jobs will need you.
Build your value
What makes a person valuable? Why will a business layoff their workers while they continue prospecting job seekers? The answer is value. So what exactly is value? Skill is value. There are some skills that the world needs. Those skills will always be needed no matter what the situation is and that is what makes value. If you want to be invaluable, you got to seek out these skills and try to acquire mastery at any of them.
Marketing and Sales
The world can never stop selling. There will always be things to sell no matter what. There is no single business that can remain a business without selling. This tells you how great salespeople are needed in the world. When you develop this skill, unless your company shuts down, they cannot let you go. Every company is literally searching for people with this skill.
Unfortunately, there has been a kind of negativity about sales among the youth. This is because many people do not take the time to understand how things work. They rely on what others say. They don’t listen to the successful people instead they listen to the majority. However, in almost every life situation the majority is almost always wrong. The truth is if you lack the skills of salesmanship you will most likely fail in life unless you probably were born by a billionaire.
Is this too a skill? of course, it is. Problem-solving is one of the most invaluable skills anyone can acquire. This is the skill that makes consultants valuable. Problems are one of the constants of life. Every company needs to continuously solve problems to remain in business. If you have the skills to open up issues and provide the needed solution no company will ever want to let you go. Even if they are idiots and do let you go, many other companies will be a lined up to take you in. Problem solvers are rare germ in the corporate world.
Critical Thinking and Creativity
This is one of the skill of the future as Artificial intelligence threatens more and more of jobs. This area is of the most difficult to automate and it is a skill that every business needs in this era to remain relevant.
These days things are changing too fast and no matter how big a company is or how long they have survived, if they don’t keep up with changes they will die off within the blink of an eye. This means that every company is seeking people who can think critically and come up with creative ways to keep up with the evolving markets. Acquire this skill and no company can let you go under any circumstance.
There are many other very valuable skills that are not mentioned here, it is your job to figure out which skills are most valuable to your industry or the company you work for. When you do, do all you must to attain mastery at some of these skills and do not be afraid to show your skills off. Let the company understand that you know your value and they will treat you like a board member all the time.
When you have a skill do not expect people to smell it from you or read your mind. Try to add value with these skills. Speak up in meetings if you have the right solution for the problem. Try out new things. Suggest ideas to your boss, let him know you are thinking about the company and ready to add value to it. Do more than just what is required of you. Whatever new skill you have acquired, make sure the company feels it through your actions and results.
You do not have to walk to your boss and say “look, I have acquired a new skill”. Let it show in your work. Let them feel the value you bring. Forget about the certificates and get your sleeves dirty.
See opportunities when all others see problems
The millionaires of the industrial revolution, the millionaires of the internet bubble and all the people who seem to remain afloat when all others are sinking has one thing in common. They see opportunities in problems. They know how to nose out opportunities in the most unexpected places and situations.
This trait is so valuable yet only a few people know how to use it to their advantage. It is much easier to curl up and cry in the face of adversity. Life has been hard on so many people especially in these parts of the world. This gives the youth the right excuse for a life of mediocrity. “It is our government”, “It’s our leaders”, “It is the economy”. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to say these excuses are false in any way but the truth is, they are only just excuses. Real winners are the people who are able to see opportunities in the face of adversity.
Let’s examined the story of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani education activist who was shot in the face by the Taliban for speaking up for girl child education. She had the perfect reason to stop after she struggled for her life. Her family was under physical threat and it would have been very reasonable to coil back in defeat.
But for the young Malala that was not an option. She was not going to allow this to stop her. She got more vocal and the world heard her voice. Today she is the hope for many young girls in Pakistan and other parts of the world. She is one of the most famous young people around and she is the youngest Nobel Prize laureate. You can read more on her story here.
It is all about understanding your situation and making the best of it instead of complaining or just crossing your arms. One thing about giving reasons and excuses is that it leads nowhere. Complaints cannot be banked and it cannot fill a hungry stomach.
Learn to see opportunities in the face of adversity and take the right actions. This is the surest way to becoming a change maker and the world cannot help but reward you for being brave.
Those are some of the ways to make yourself ready for any situation in life including the world after COVID-19. If you enjoyed the article please consider subscribing to my newsletter so you won’t miss on other interesting articles like this.
It is Dr Kannde, your youth coach and friend. I wish you the best, go win the world.