The coronavirus started out as a health pandemic, but the outbreak will create long-lasting changes to the way we live and work.
Non-essential businesses were closed and government officials—at federal and state levels—told citizens to stay home. Schools were closed, forcing elementary to college students to remain housebound too. With nearly everyone working and studying at home, online video calls became the go-to medium to stay in touch with co-workers and friends. Prior to newly learned security breaches, Zoom became an overnight household name in video conferencing.
Now that companies recognize that employees can relatively easily work from home, executives are likely to encourage this behavior. The chief financial officer will tell her CEO about how much money will be saved by ditching pricey New York City offices and allowing employees to work at home. Human resources professionals will echo this sentiment and cite how much happier their workers are since they don’t have to endure a brutal two-to-three-hour round trip commute to and from work. They’ll also point out that employees can now watch over their young children, take care of older or sick family members, attend important events and enjoy a higher quality of life. It will be hard to bring everyone back from home once they’ve tasted freedom from the shackles of a commute and sitting in a cubicle for eight hours each day.
College tuitions are sky high and out of control. It will be prohibitive for many young adults if it keeps going this way. Only the very rich and poor—who receive financial aid—will be able to attend. The middle-class kids will have to bear even larger debt loads that will weigh them down for the rest of their lives.
With the schools closed, we are conducting the biggest test of online teaching and homeschooling. Once the glitches are worked out, online education will have proven to be a viable means of education. While it currently exists, the usage will skyrocket. It will be used in conjunction with traditional in-person schooling. College costs could decline tremendously as more students will like via online methods.
It wouldn’t be surprising if many high school graduates decide to enter the trades. They’ll look at their parents who’ve lost their jobs and older siblings who are crushed with hundreds of thousands in debt, while toiling in dead-end jobs far beneath what college promised, and think there has to be a better way. Becoming a union electrician, carpenter, plumber or craftsperson offers steady work, decent pay and good benefits. If a person has an entrepreneurial streak, they could then open their own business. Since so many people have gone to college and avoided the trades, there is a dire need for these “blue-collar” workers.
Eventually, we will overcome the coronavirus and go back to some sort of normalcy. Certain pre-COVID-19 standards, such as flying around the world to meet clients, will be questioned. Management will calculate the costs of airfare, hotel stays, car rentals, and taking clients out to expensive restaurants and deem them unnecessary and extravagant.
They’ll tell their employees to just have a video call instead, as it will save thousands of dollars.
People will also demure traveling. Employees will think about the possible health risks of catching something while flying, staying at hotels, and eating at crowded restaurants. This feeling of fear will last longer than the virus.
We will also pay closer attention to our health. Americans have a lot of health issues.
We tend to be obese (compared to other countries), have high amounts of people with diabetes, heart and lung diseases, and an array of other ailments. Watching the morbid death counts on cable news may have been the kick in the pants we needed. We now know the stark reality that life is fragile and people with pre-existing conditions are more susceptible to catching and suffering from a new virus strain. It is logical for people to eat more healthily, exercise, refrain from bad habits and visit the doctor more regularly.
A disturbing trend noticed during the outbreak was the heavy-handed nature of the government. Whether you agree or disagree with the closing of businesses and orders to stay home, it smacks of “Big Brother,” 1984 Orwellian stuff. Government officials telling citizens to “rat” on their fellow Americans seems scarily like something you’d expect under an authoritarian regime.
If you haven’t noticed, once rights are stripped away, it’s hard to get them back. When was the last time you saw a toll booth removed? As government officials and bureaucrats gain more control, they’ll enjoy wielding even greater power, as they’ll always believe they know best and the citizens are just dumb “spring break” partiers.
Post Sept. 11, we sacrificed our liberties for safety. We accepted that we’re being listened to on our phone calls by government agencies, our bank and investment accounts are scrutinized and we’re forced to be thoroughly searched as if we’re criminals before boarding a plane. Many people aren’t aware that we used to walk right up to the plane without two-hour waits, metal detectors, and the TSA patting us down.
Although Senator and former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was vilified by his socialist agenda, our present administration went full-blown corporate and individual socialism. When the dust settles, trillions of dollars will have been printed by the Federal Reserve Bank to resuscitate the economy.
The Fed provides funds to banks and is offering a living wage to people. Big companies, such as airlines, were being bailed out and financially rewarded for their mistakes, such as self-enriching stock buybacks and not putting away money for a rainy day. The alternative was too awful, so the airlines, hotels, cruise lines, and other large industries had to be rescued; otherwise, they would’ve gone bankrupt. So, we were forced into corporate socialism. The Fed also promised that, in addition to printing money, it would do “everything it can ” to prop up the markets, including buying securities.
Small businesses now have the opportunity to obtain loans that don’t need to be paid back if they retain personnel for a predetermined length of time. Millions of Americans will literally receive a check for over $1,000 from the government. Workers who claim unemployment will be provided $600 per week on top of what their state also provides. Many will earn more from not working than if they were to work. Once this starts, it will be hard to stop, as the economy will be on wobbly legs for the foreseeable future and millions of Americans will continue to lose their jobs.
There have been reports of shopping malls, department stores, retail clothing chains, restaurants, hotels, airlines, automobile manufacturers and real estate owners having extreme financial difficulties. Some will survive and many won’t. With people ensconced in their homes and apartments, they’ve been buying everything on Amazon. Rather than risking their health going to the supermarket, they rely on Instacart shoppers.
We will see Amazon getting even bigger and stronger as the brick-and-mortar stores just can’t compete. This will be echoed by Netflix beating out movie theaters. Why should you go to a movie with dozens of strangers who may potentially carry a disease and cough on you, when you can watch something in the comfort and safety of your own home?
Apple, Google, and a handful of other companies will gain more momentum, as their beleaguered competitors fall by the wayside. Our now socialist-lite government may break up Amazon, Google, and Apple, as they will be deemed too monopolistic, destroying any and all rivals if allowed to continue the status quo.
The wealth gap will get even wider. Millions of people will become long-term unemployed or endure intermittent work. Once some people get a taste of unemployment benefits, they may stay on it for a long time and try to enhance their income by taking off-the-books jobs or do a little Uber driving on the side.
Industries that have been bitten by the effects of the coronavirus won’t be able to afford lush salaries. Whereas big companies that keep getting bigger can afford to pay very well to lure the best and brightest. If you work in a vibrant sector for a company that was immune or even benefited from the outbreak, you can earn a nice living and maybe get some stock that increases in value. A lot of salary workers will plod along. Millions of Americans are no better off 10 years after the financial crisis and many are worse off. The same will happen this time.
Post Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity
By Scott Galloway
Companies in industries that rely on part-time or lower-paid workers will have power over their workers. Millions of displaced restaurants, hotels, airlines, music and sports events, cruise lines, and factory workers will be fighting each other to obtain a job. Hiring managers will have a wealth of résumés to choose from. As a consequence, management won’t feel the need to pay well or offer good benefits, as the company will already have so many folks competing for a job.
A good number of people have lost a lot of money during the outbreak. Some lost their jobs and others lost their businesses or saw appreciable declines in revenue. Those people who bought stocks at their high and sold at the nadir, lost hard-earned savings. If you look at your 401(k), college tuition and retirement plans, they’re all down.
With a loss of money and jobs, we will see that young adults will move back home with their parents. Picture the poor unfortunate college students graduating this spring.
The likelihood of them finding suitable or any jobs is low. They won’t be able to afford rent and everything else they need. The only rational answer is to return home, save whatever little money they can earn and hope that their situation can improve over time.
We’ve heartbreakingly seen a large amount of deaths at nursing homes due to COVID-19. Many Americans, watching this horror, will elect to have their elderly parents and
There’s a Chinese proverb that says, “May you live in interesting times.” Some misinterpret this as a good thing; it’s not. It does look that America will be fast-heading into interesting times. relatives move in with them to keep their loved ones safe. This will be a reversion to America’s past when multi-generations all lived together under one roof.
About The Author
Jack is the CEO, founder, and executive recruiter at one of the oldest and largest global search firms who is passionate about advocating for job seekers. In doing so, he has founded a start-up company, WeCruitr, where his mission is to make the job search more humane and enjoyable. His career advice covers everything you need to know, including helping you decide if you really should seek out a new opportunity, whether you are leaving for the wrong reasons, proven successful interviewing techniques, negotiating a salary and accepting an offer and a real-world understanding of how the hiring process actually works. His articles come from an experienced recruiter’s insider perspective.
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