Finding a job is never easy. We’re in the middle of the worst global pandemic in over a hundred years. The economy is in a recession. We’re experiencing the most significant wave of civil unrest since the 1960s. How and where we work (if we work) is being fundamentally altered.
But if you’re looking for a fulfilling career, there’s no better time than now. Crisis doesn’t build character; it reveals character – in people and businesses and the multiple crises we’re living through are providing a rare window into the authenticity of our leaders, our brands, and our companies.
Amidst so much uncertainty and change, companies can no longer hide behind awards, brands behind their logos, leaders behind their titles. It’s easy for companies to be the best place to work during good times.
But we’re not living in good times. Employees’ physical health and safety, financial well-being, and future security are at risk. As companies navigate these challenges, their actual values are on full display. Job seekers should take advantage of this unique opportunity and pay attention to what’s being revealed.
My suggestion: start by turning to current employees. What are they saying? Are their organizations lifting them or pushing them below the bottom line? Do they feel taken care of or forgotten? Do they trust their leaders?
Next: go right to the source. What are companies and their leaders saying and, more importantly, what are they doing? Did they make layoffs before executives took pay cuts? Have they been transparent or left their employees in the dark? Did they post a black box, or are they genuinely dedicated to black lives? Do their decisions align with their stated values?
Right now, there’s a minimal choice in the marketplace. But when the economy comes back - and it will - power will once again shift to the job seeker. Decisions companies make today will be memorialized tomorrow. The workforce will unpack their notes, and two lists will be made: companies that prioritized their people through unchartered waters and companies that slashed and deserted at the first sign of a storm. With that information in hand, a newly empowered workforce will decide where they want to build their career.
In that pursuit, it’s important to remember that these crises aren’t over. Some companies may have stumbled out of the block but will regroup and end up finishing strong. Other companies may have started on the right foot but will end up falling short. There’s still time for lessons to be learned and leaders to emerge. We’re living in challenging times. No leader or organization is perfect, but their actions are on full display. Pay close attention and take note of it all. Then, when the time comes, put that information to work.