Did you hear that knocking sound?

     Did you hear that? There it is again. Well maybe you can see it. Are you looking? Still nothing? Well, maybe I can help. Right now we are in a medical crisis. A pandemic. They, the government and medical professionals, are telling us to stay in place. Don’t go out in public places. Stay put. Well that’s not the sound or image I am talking about. What I am talking about is, “What an opportunity!” OK, some of you might be scratching your heads about now. Let me back up a little and explain.

     As I have gotten older, I look back and remember people who have continuously complained about their working situation. Some hate their job, others want a change or want to make more money. But whatever reason, they are just not happy in their current vocational situation. Sometimes, early on, I would ask them, “Why not do something about it or why not train for what you really want to do?” Most of the time they would just stare blankly back at me as if I asked them to explain quantum physics. Those who would respond, would say something like, “I don’t have time to do that”. Not surprisingly I heard that a lot from people who found time to socialize at the corner bar, belong to a league (bowling, softball, etc.) or just veg-out in front of the TV watching their favorite sport or show. Add to that an attitude of, “When I left high school, I wasn’t going to pick up another educational book”. Others might say, “If my boss wants me to take some training, he has to pay for it and my time there”. If you still believe that, you might be hopeless. (No pulling punches here.)

     Eventually, many of these people found out the hard way, like when the economy was on the downswing. They lost their jobs and had to find work they liked even less. Yeah, they would bellyache how unfair the company, the boss or just life in general was for them. But most of them contributed to their own employment downfall. Fact is, they never increased their value as an employee. They did nothing to better themselves. Yes, there are exceptions to this, but you have to ask yourself, “Am I really the exception or did I get a rotten deal?”

     But what does this have to do with today’s imposed quarantine? Eventually it will be lifted, hopefully sooner than later. Since this is on my blog, which is on the internet, you have one of the most amazing resources at your fingertips. Whether with a home computer, laptop, tablet, or smart phone, you have a the world right in front of you. That is, right now, in most situations, you can learn to do it better, faster or more efficiently. If your job is an exception to this, you can learn something completely new, in a new field of employment. Can you become a physician in a couple of weeks? No, but you can learn thousands of other things that will open new employment opportunities for you. Right now there are thousands of resources to use, Youtube videos, college courses, trade skills, computer skills and many, many more. Many are free while others you may have to pay for, but they are there and easily accessible.

     OK, maybe this is easier said than done. But it is easier now with this extra time on your hands than ever before. It can be done. Now some training does require hands on or in place instructions, but that should not prevent you from getting at least a solid foundation in a new craft, trade or position. Do you like spending time on the computer? Within a week you can be an expert with just about any business office software (spreadsheet, word processing, accounting). Maybe with some programing skills you could write the next multimillion dollar app for the smart phone. Are you hands on with your vehicle repairs? You can become an expert diagnostic technician in the time you’re off work now. Imagine the 40 hours a week that you would be at work applied to research and study and all of what you could learn. Again, easier said than done. If you don’t have the dedication or disciple, well, you know what that means. It won’t be done. Only you can decide to make the most of this opportunity and make it happen. So, what can you do to make yourself more valuable? What can you do now to prepare you for the job you really want? When the current situation turns around, there will be some fallout. Some people will not get their jobs back. Some companies will learn that some people were redundant and not necessary. Businesses will be rehiring the best of the best when the economy starts moving again. It will not be like it was a year ago when jobs were plentiful. For prepared people there will be excellent jobs waiting. Remember, your old job might not be.

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