“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities 1859
Written by Susan Lamphiear
As we struggle to navigate this new normal we’d wish away if we could, we are surrounded by heroes. Our lives have turned upside down and inside out in a nanosecond by this thing called the novel corona virus and now simply Covid-19. We find the word “interdependence” fused with new meaning. But in the midst of pain and fear we never thought we’d see or feel in our lifetime, the meaning of the word “hero” has once again expanded. Heroes emerge from the mist. Some of them from our TV or computer screens. Some of them emerge due to our isolation. Doctors and nurses who save lives, risk their lives, and comfort the dying, of course. Journalists. Delivery drivers. Scientists. Grocery store clerks and restaurant workers adapting in record time. Meditative historians. People who suddenly set up Zoom meetings. Strangers and neighbors and little acts of caring magnify in our eyes. And we find ourselves in both fear and awe sometimes within seconds of the other. For we’re witnessing, during our collective nightmare, some of the best humankind has to offer. The best of times amidst the worst of times. And we bow our heads.
The new quarantine and isolation stemming from the worldwide Covid-19 virus crisis has changed our lives in so many ways– including, apparently, what keynote speaker Trevor Stokes wears during online presentations. Dress shirt, Nice tie. Scooby-Doo Boxers. At least that’s what he tells us. And even in our new trauma, he makes us smile for a moment. We only see Trevor speaking from behind his desk. Via Zoom.
But the current situation is no laughing matter Trevor adds, though weeks in quarantine with families bring some positives among the challenges. He has four daughters and a wife who moved to Arizona six years ago. Trevor, an admitted lifelong optimist, and subject matter expert in labor market analysis and community profiling, realizes the added challenges for anyone in the job hunt or career transition at this particular time in history.
Trevor offered his predictions and overall optimism to the group, comprised of a number of participants who interacted with him in real time via chat technology (from their homes). Several participants, responding to his question, have recently experienced job loss or layoffs, or reduced hours–specifically due to the corona virus pandemic.
Recommendations from Trevor
- Develop and validate your skills in office technology.
- Lean into online learning–this is not just a crisis, it’s an opportunity.
- Never stop building your story including everything you’re doing right now during the shelter in place. Keep building your skills.
- Map an intentional, informed strategy for the post-COVID-19 world of work.
- Earn the certifications that matter.
Impact of the current pandemic is huge as far as unemployment–and Trevor follows experts who say the U.S. can expect 13% unemployment, the highest since the Great Depression of the 1930s. But the good news, Trevor reassures us, is this will be short-lived at that level–but it will take awhile to recover, and many things, he says, may have been changed forever.
Crisis Can Offer Opportunity
A stock market expert Trevor follows very closely tells the story of the worst year in his career when he lost more than $18 million in the market–in a single year–and his best year he made $22 million in the stock market–the kicker being– both the worst and the best happened in the same year.
First of all, face it. The reality our current economic crisis, brought on by the pandemic, brings with it unprecedented opportunity. Realize some companies are still hiring and you are wise to use the extra time at home to prepare yourself when the economy opens up again. Make use of the time to finish a degree or complete a certification.
Second, before the pandemic hit, the economy was good, so there is reason for optimism. Labor has been interrupted but not killed. Currently we’re in a stumble–a big one–but we’ve had these challenges before and have come through them.
Five Predictions Based on Trevor’s Judgment
- This will not last forever. Remember, where a crisis emerges there is also opportunity. Remember, companies are still hiring. See this LinkedIn link.
- The nature of work will never return to normal. A lot of what we’re seeing now will be integrated into the new normal–there will be fundamental changes. It remains to be seen if some of the change will be good or bad, but Trevor wants to make sure all of us, as job hunters, have prepared for the changes in the best possible way.
- New emphasis on productivity is inevitable along with a new openness to remote work. When employers become more open to remote work–they’ll have to address the concept that has kept remote work from expanding more–as employers have been afraid employees will be tempted to slack off, impacting productivity. Employers worry employees will be distracted by personal activities, families, pets– and bottom line is employers fear workers will be less productive than while on site. And for this reason, employers may begin relying on technology to keep abreast of remote workers’ productivity–so he says don’t take that personally–if they put something on your computer that requires you to be working at certain times–embrace that. Understand that the employers rely on you because of what you can produce.
- Collaboration technologies like Zoom will become even bigger components of our work days. If you can develop your skills not just in looking at collaborative technologies–that you’re more than an attendee–you know how to administer these meetings, you will become even more valuable at work. Precisely because of the pandemic we’re experiencing, employers will continue to need to develop ways to do things formerly done in person. Employers will lean on these technologies like Zoom because many people will be less willing to go to physical locations.
- The ability to connect on a human level will become even more valuable when we’re restricted from connecting via a physical space. Businesses have partners and customers they want to develop relationships with. Remember that all businesses are about people and the ability to connect person to person. Also if you’re able to connect on a human level with a hiring manager or co-worker or customer–you’ve made yourself even more valuable.
Which leads him to prediction 5A ACTIVE Listening
A lot of people are good at talking but not listening. Uni-directional he calls it. People who listen are in reality those who are waiting to talk. He used to call it combat listening–where one person is getting ready to disagree with the other person when they stop talking. That’s NOT active listening.
Among resources available include lots of no cost training. (Take a look at resources links at the end of today’s blog.) You can develop skills that will make you successful at work. But remember skills don’t help you get work. Being able to PROVE you have the skills helps you get work. Validate your skills by getting a degree or earning a certification. Trevor says he’s probably gained as much opportunity from certifications as he has his degree.
Of the most valuable assets a candidate can bring to an employer, according to a project Trevor did in New Mexico communication and integrity were cited often by employers.
Over the years Trevor has interviewed many job candidates and one of the most important questions he asks is, “How did you prepare for this interview?” This question shows Trevor what kind of time and effort the person put into preparing for the interview. What did the potential employee want to know about the company? The way the job candidate handles this question reveals a glimpse into the candidate’s attitude.
Elizabeth Hart, Vice President–People at Axon
Axon, once associated with Taser weapons, has now branched out. The company has evolved from Taser hardware to a variety of software used in law enforcement. This software allows law enforcement to streamline their administrative needs including body cameras, cameras in fleet vehicles, and drones. Also, a software suite of communication tools replacing dispatch allows law enforcement to access information as soon as they arrive on the scene.
The company is involved in philanthropy including their recent campaign to donate a million dollars towards Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers.
A worldwide company, Axon has a presence in Arizona with offices including Amsterdam, Seattle, the UK, Vietnam, and Finland. The company currently plans to hire for 290 positions worldwide.
Axon is growing fast and has zero debt, something which is unusual for a tech startup.
Axon Hot Jobs Specific to Arizona
- Digital customer experience developer
- Firmware validation engineer
- Software engineers
- SQL Database administrator
- Revenue accountant
- Manager of revenue
- AP specialist
- Customer success manager
- Manufacturing supervisor–night shift
- HR business partners
To learn more about the company, or see job updates or to apply, please visit their website.
Resources & Closing
CEO/Founder of Career Connectors Jessica Pierce closed the meeting by thanking volunteers and inviting attendees to use the resources available through Career Connectors including the online events taking place each Wednesday morning from 9-11. Prior to the Covid-19 Crisis, events took place in person. If you registered for this week’s online event, you will automatically receive an email each Monday. If you accessed the live event via Facebook, sign up on the Career Connectors website to be kept informed via email about events and other related career information.
One more thing..
Higher Love Keith Urban from “One World: Together at Home” Be inspired by three Keith Urbans and their technology. You’re welcome.