With recent, newly built scenarios in the job market owing to the effects of COVID-19, there has been turmoil in the employment scenario. With a lot of companies’ business and cash flows severely impacted, cost-cutting is on the rise – one major driving cost being the workforce.
There has been an unavoidable, but brutal slash in the workforce count in core industries. The situation began since the start of the lockdown in late March 2020; and continues to linger and no one is sure when this would end. Full-time employment options have taken a toll, with either scarce employment opportunities in the market or extended and non-structured work hours of the “Work From Home” lifestyle.
But this period also has been an opportunity to learn from a lot of life and professional lessons. Looking at the bigger picture on the canvas. Being independent, refraining from indulgence, self-awareness, fear, anxiety, and many other mixed emotions. Professionals understood that there is nothing called safe and secure long term job security anymore. Those who have secured one, have been extremely fortunate, but the anxiety and fear remain, of more stressed job expectations or the fear of losing what they currently have.
Everybody has learned at least a new life skill, it could be either managing housekeeping, grocery shopping and cooking at home, or exercising their other skill sets – fitness, music, vocational skills or content; a lot of people have found their passion, as well as nailed monetary opportunities using their other secondary skill sets or competencies harnessed in the past and exercised in the current situation.
This is an interesting observation from my end, these skill sets were innate but dormant in people and most of these can be learned if there was a focus given to building secondary skill sets. Having exposure to a canopy of subjects, being a jack of all trades has been fruitful to a lot of individuals in these current days. A lot of them have understood the importance of upskilling not just in their functional domain but also in other domains to broaden their horizon for employment.
A lot of us are evaluating or considered doing a course online. But are really confused about what would be the most appropriate course for them, considering the market is full of them. I believe there is no right or wrong course to take this decision, and nobody has the right answer, I feel that any learning, however diverse, has immense potential and use cases which could be utilized at some point in their lifetime, and one or many of those skill sets can be game-changers. Few thoughts on how to choose the right course:
Take a course, where the prerequisites or eligibility criterion for the skill sets match with yours, to take up the course.
Although you can look at short term, tactical goals, do not ignore the long-term strategic opportunities a simple course could possibly open up.
Highly recommend doing a short self-evaluation, Ikigai (Japanese concept meaning “A reason for being”), a beautiful self-evaluation tool where one can understand the skill set one owns and what is required by the world.
Analyze the credibility of the course, look at the Subject Matter Experts in the course, do simple secondary research on them on the internet, like Linkedin, read about their past work, publications, and experience in the field they are contributing to.
Take an affordable course, which would add value to you, unless you are extremely sure about a specific goal and its value add. Courses under 10$ an hour of learning engagement is a good benchmark to work with.
Look at the course provider, study its credibility of value addition in the domain or area of expertise (They could have sound expertise in developing digital learning modules as well.)
Look at other intangible benefits of the course like being a part of a community of similar professionals / like-minded people; crucial in today’s world.
Get a course that has a rigorous course structure, is time-bound, and has an assessment and grading criteria in place to complete the course. This element would make sure that you are motivated enough and take the program seriously.
I truly believe that the Kaizen (continuous learning) way of learning throughout one’s life is the need of the hour. People who have practiced it before are reaping the benefits, but for people who have just started considering this approach of immersive learning on other functional skill sets, it’s still not too late. It’s never too late to start fresh.
After all, COVID-19 may not be the only high impact, low-probability scenarios that could affect your life. Nobody really knows, all we can do is just be adaptive and be equipped with ammunition of varied skill sets!!
Anish has varied experiences in different functional domains and industries, all thanks to the Kaizen way of learning, he has been practicing for the majority of his professional and personal life. He has a rich Cross-cultural Exposure and is exploring the same with each passing day. Currently, he is engaged in Product and Business strategy implementation in varied industries and domains including Healthcare, Food and Beverages, EduTech, and Content.