Navigating Work in a Shrinking World infected with COVID19
Whatever happened to the stability of markets, a reliable workforce, and the certainty of living your life with some state of normalcy – having a family, buying a home, putting your kids through college, retirement? Trusting business and political leaders to exercise sound judgment and decision-making on behalf of workers and the electorate is what happened. Then came the gift from China, COVID19, and the shut down of our economy. Now millions are not working and have no assurance their jobs will return, if ever.
In retrospect, after the events of 911 leading to 20 years of warfighting, the tech value market bust in 2006, the collapse of financial markets in 2008, and the rise of radical socialism, one could quickly lose perspective and faith. Politically, our nation is more divided than ever with creeping socialism broadly infecting the disadvantaged and youthful idealism. Freelance and independent workers of all political persuasions are left to their resources with little or no support while swimming in a sea of misinformation.
Major news outlets and academia have their agendas and are the pied pipers to misinformed youth with a constant drumbeat touting socialist demands in our largest cities. Will voters push back in November 2020 against anarchy and rioting, or will some state and local politicians continue to placate youthful idealism and anarchists? How will this affect freelancing gig workers to earn a livable income? How will it affect the continued use of independents by employers?
Freelancers and those employers who will be using independent contractors in more significant numbers will have to navigate these uncharted waters carefully. The fact is, "there is no free lunch and no free healthcare." Individuals will need to be much more thoughtful and less trusting regarding career opportunities and healthcare decisions. Good or bad, we must learn to deal with it. We are no longer an insulated nation from economic fluctuations driven by events out of our control.
The corona virus-19 global outbreak reminds us that our global working populations are integrated into the economic life of all. Does that mean that policies leaning toward globalization will return? Will our policies toward nations like China be strong enough to reconstitute lost industries and jobs back to America as a matter of national security?
Most freelancers and those who contract with them will find keeping informed and forecasting career options daunting in this environment. Navigating these multi-layered issues will occupy hours of data collection and analysis to view the course ahead. Wow, that is all we need is another time consumer on issues we have little knowledge about, right? True, but we will have to find a way to accomplish that or leave our chances for survival and success to others.
Here are six actions for freelancers to help clarify a survival path forward while the pandemic remains active. The first four may be obvious, but a gentle reminder will help.
- 1. Simplify your life: Resist processes and tasks that add stress to your life. Reduce credit card debt – if you don’t need it, then don’t charge it. Reduce monthly cellphone app charges. For example, if you subscribe to ESPN+, ask yourself when will sports fully return to normal? That’s when you can resubscribe. Unsubscribe to anything you don’t need until we know more accurate information about when a COVID19 vaccine will be available.
- 2. Avoid crowded public places: It sucks for sure, but don’t gamble with your life or anyone you care about by exposing yourself to the coronavirus. While you may be a low risk, you can easily be a carrier of the virus from public contact or personal contact with a friend. Then carry the virus home to family, particularly parents and grandparents, who are the most vulnerable. If you do venture into establishments that are not following CDC protocols, be sure you wear your mask and use hand sanitizer. Be around when the pandemic is over.
- 3. Step up your marketing game: Spend less time gaming online. It’s addictive. Use this pandemic downtime to put forth the effort to expand your online and direct email marketing to seek out future clients. Creative work will not only relieve the stress of reduced income but will help you think more clearly about the services you offer.
- 4. Get eight hours of sound sleep: You know it is easier to be a night owl with TV or the Internet without a job or clients during this pandemic. Of course, you should eat a healthy diet and exercise, but lost sleep you can’t recover. Lost sleep has an accumulative effect on your life. If you are going to lose sleep, let it be from serving your clients in the future.
- 5. Read all things about China: The most significant influence regarding job growth and freelancing opportunities will depend on how the USA deals with China, how our trade agreements are enforced, for example. Can the U.S. reconstitute manufacturing jobs for products that are now considered critical to our national security? Will China honor the rights of intellectual property? If successful, we could see an even higher demand for freelancer skills on-demand.
- 6. Signing up for Online Work Match Platforms: At this writing, no one knows when or if there will be an anti-COVID19 vaccine. Another cash stimulus or extending unemployment benefits is uncertain. Democrat-run metro cities may prolong lockdowns indefinitely. If you are an independent without essential in-demand skills, you might want to sign up for some or all of these Uber, Lyft, Home Advisor, Angie’s List, FlexJobs, Freelancer.com, Gigster, TaskRabbit, Upwork and more. At least you will have a shot some potential income until you can get out to compete for jobs or gigs where your skills are in demand.
More freelancer actions are on my website. I try to cut through all the noise and hyperbole to reveal the critical stuff behind all the noise, which many never see, to help clear the view ahead. Keep in the KNOW. Subscribe now to my articles, insight, and opinions delivered to your inbox when published.
Check out Visual Capitalist chart “18-Month View of Post-COVID19 World"
Mike Hammer a.k.a. Hib
Author, Workforce Strategist & the Gig Doctor