We are in a summer filled with so many questions. What will my work look like moving forward? Will I still have a job? If I have a job will it be the one I still want? Will I have any choices? What can I do to market myself if I need or want to change? What will my kids be doing in the fall and how will I be able to work with that? How do I coach my high school/college freshmen student to best serve him/her in the near future?

From my perspective based on what I am hearing from business and educators in the Great Lakes Bay Region, there are some foundation ideas to keep in mind as you try to answer these questions.

  • You cannot go wrong investing in the quality of your technology devices, access, or your technology education. High quality online access will relieve your stress level no matter what your age, your profession, or your status as a student. Your own knowledge will be of great value if you are working from home and also make you more marketable if you look to work at a new company. Take a class, study on youtube, research your access options.
  • Use the collective powers of family, friends and close communities. There is power in your ability to share childcare, homeschooling, networking, acquisition of new knowledge, mental and emotional support with those you know best and most likely share similar values. Mental health problems become overwhelming during times in which so many crises at once feels like “piling on.” We are fortunate to have so many small communities in our area that act as extended families. We have been feeding, clothing, and providing physical and emotional support not only during the Covid-19 pandemic but as we faced a historic flooding disaster. Find new connections and continue to nurture those supporting relationships!
When you feel like quitting, remember why you started.
  • Add certifications and short term training to your portfolio if you are considering a career change or have not embarked upon a career path yet. Have you committed to a career path? Employer demand will change in many areas. Look carefully at your own employment situation and ask yourself if you are “essential.” Unless you are committed to a high demand, high paying profession requiring a 4 year degree, look at investing your time and money into high quality/high demand education and/or short-term training. Certifications such as welding, NC3, IT, Administrative Assistant, Mechanic, Nursing Assistant and CADD look to remain in high demand. If nothing else, those certs make great back-up in the event your current job goes on a hiatus (like recreation, food service, small business, and travel in our current crisis) I love our local CMU and all that they offer. I am an alum myself and place high value on my degree. But in a time of crisis and a future filled with questions the university experience is expensive as an exploration exercise . WE WILL NEED healthcare, engineering and technology professionals more than ever in the near future. If you are committed to one of these paths please get in to the university and forge that path forward. For high school students, contact your school counselors and Career Navigators for advice and to participate in as many inquiry and investigative career activities as you can! So many of these are available online. For early college students, contact your educational institution’s Career Center. And adults looking to add to your hiring potential to find a job or in the event you need to change jobs, contact your local Michigan Works! office. The quality of their assistance and advice has been top-notch throughout this crisis and their commitment to our local economic health is superior.

If you are committed to one of these paths please get in to a college or university and forge that path forward.   
Adding volunteer work to your resume is a move that always pays off big at an interview.  It also is a way for you to make connections within your chosen field.  Governor Whitmer  suggested volunteerism in her recent Newsletter with several resources to contact: https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98178_98811—,00.html.    For high school students, contact your school counselors and Career Navigators for advice and to participate in as many inquiry and investigative career activities as you can! 

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  • Keep your mind open and find reliable sources for information! What a crazy, shocking wave of helpful and reliable but also shockingly horrid supply of information we have been supplied so far this year. Do we wear the mask or not? Do we help local eateries by ordering or stay away from possible exposure? To pay the mortgage OR the car OR the credit card bill? No one has wanted to get back out there more than me. But no one wants less to get this virus than me. Be smart. Find the balance you can and should live with. Find resources that are scientifically sound and try to stay away from decisions based on a political agenda. Again, I go back to family and community. What are your most trusted, intelligent connections saying and doing? But be ready to change if the science and the government says that you must! Live smarter not harder.

Again, these are the threads of many conversations I have been a part of among some local business and educational leaders. Of course, there are many varied perspectives and thoughts about what we should and shouldn’t be doing. I am passing on what I have heard from people I respect.

As I said in an earlier article, Don’t let this prevent you from living your best life. The best way to do that is to stay informed and be willing to live in a new era. Don’t think that we haven’t done this before. We have! The many sacrifices made by others, our war veterans and armed forces, our scientists, our industrialists, and now our healthcare workers, have brought us here – alive and free to tell about it.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you would like help connecting to any of the resources mentioned. cmccaulsps@gmail.com