Professional Development
Career development / COVID-19 / Workplace culture

Pause, stabilize and grow: Advice for workers displaced by COVID-19

Delaware-based workforce development consultant and motivator Darrell "Coach D" Andrews is the developer of the "Reinvention Process," designed to help displaced workers identify new career pathways.

A screenshot of one of Coach D's webinars. (Courtesy photo)

Like most people, Darrell “Coach D” Andrews has had to make some changes in how he runs his Delaware-based workforce development consultancy. There are currently no in-person coaching sessions or workshops, with everything now online. But the biggest change is the employment landscape: With a projected nationwide unemployment rate of 16% by July 2020, there are more displaced workers in Delaware than likely any time since the Great Depression, thanks to COVID-19.

Along with youth coaching, helping displaced workers is one of Andrews’ specialties. He is the developer of the “Reinvention Process,” an individual or group coaching program designed to help displaced workers identify new career pathways.

“I have one webinar with 500 people that didn’t exist before [the pandemic],” he said. That ongoing series is at capacity and not currently accepting new registrations, but Andrews agreed to share some advice for those navigating a job search in these uncertain times, whether you’re a lower-level employee or had a management or executive position.

“I do a lot of rapid response,” said Andrews — for example, he often works for clients who need to lay people off and want to give them tools for finding new employment.

But with COVID-19, he said, “people were blindsided. It was insidiously fast. It’s a unique breakdown, because a percentage of people are waiting to get back to their jobs. Then you have a percentage where the company has taken such major financial hits that there’s no guarantee you’ll have that job post-pandemic. That poses a series of challenges for people who may have had that job for years.”

Here’s how to get through it, according to Andrew:

1. Mindset

“One of the first processes is just stabilizing people, because the trauma of losing a job is hard,” said Andrews. “One of the great challenges we see with 25 million people losing their jobs within a three-week period is that there’s an intense amount of trauma. We’ve got to find a way to pause and think about what our mission is. If you’ve been at one place for 20 years, you’re not going to walk out and know how to interview or build a resume because you haven’t done it in a long time.

Take a deep breath, stay committed to the mission and try to find a way to get some balance. Don’t allow the trauma of the situation shut you down from the reality of what you can still accomplish.”

2. Reframing

“What’s new avenue, or reinvention? Move over to a growth mindset — how can I pivot?” (Andrews’ own 500-strong webinar is one example of a pivot.)

3. Skills analysis

“Once a person can think clearly and not let the trauma of the situation overwhelm them, then you look at the analysis of the skillset,” he said. “A lot of people develop multiple skillsets in their job that could be applicable to another job, but you’ve got to know how to position it in your interview and on your resume.

“We do what’s called a reverse order resume where you don’t put your experience at the top, what you’re putting up there is your capabilities. If they see there’s a person here that’s adaptable, that can make adjustment, that’s a quick learner, all those kind of things, you can become of value.”

4. Accountability

“An accountability system is like an athlete in training,” he said. “People have to work at developing a way of operating over time, just like anything else. That could be through coaching, mastermind groups, it could be somebody who may be in the same boat as you and you say we’re going to learn together.”

Finally, if you’re healthy and stuck at home with time on your hands, use it to your advantage.

“This is one of the greatest times to reinvent,” Andrews said. “Who is going to have all this time to put things together, put things in place, send out job pursuits, contact people? Use this time wisely. We’ll probably never have, in our lifetime, this much time to put things in place to be able to reinvent our careers or businesses. It’s tough, but there are actually some pluses, depending on how you look at it.”

Series: Coronavirus

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