After I had 26 coffee meetings while I was in Austin for the month of May, I was quite taken aback by how much difficulty some of us are having to adjust back to the new normal.
That was before the July 4th whiplash of thinking that the pandemic was behind us. Then there was the rise of the delta variant of the virus. It is very obvious now that we will not be back to normal, whatever normal really means, until the fall or the end of the year.
We really need to focus on nurturing relationships for our own mental health.
If you read my previous post called, The Bifurcated and Opaque Issues of the 55+ Job Market in 2021, what seems to be working is to evaluate your LinkedIn skills and networking. I like to think this is all about nurturing relationships in your professional world.
I believe we will have a lot of mental health issues in recovering from this pandemic.
I had a conversation over Facebook Messenger with an old friend back in Austin who lost his wife to cancer in 2020. His youngest daughter was living with him but she was moving out in the fall to go to college. He wrote to me that he had really never lived by himself and that the thought scared him. I asked if he had gotten any grief counseling and he replied that he had not.
I offered to contact my psychologist in Austin to see if I could get him a referral. My psychologist told me that he would be happy to make the referral but just about everyone he knew of had a full appointment calendar.
I listen to a few podcasts from NPR and Vox Media where I am hearing ads for counseling services. What does that tell you? There is demand and not everyone is used to using such services.
I know for myself I have been really working on reconnecting with relationships from the past and focusing on developing new relationships in my personal life.
We have been isolated for over a year and now is the time to focus on nurturing relationships.
As I wrote in my post, The Bifurcated and Opaque Issues of the 55+ Job Market in 2021, there 2 major groupings of people. There are those who were able to stay employed during the pandemic and those who are unemployed.
For those of you who have stayed employed, are you questioning whether to continue down the same career path? If you are, you are not alone. This is why we are having the great ‘resignation or quit’ phenomenon. Check out the latest article from Chris Farrell called Older Workers and ‘The Big Quit’. The subtitle says it all:
Some older workers are jumping at the chance for a new start; others aren’t so lucky.
There are those who have choices and others will find themselves stuck trying to become re-employed.
Making a Career Pivot or Planning Your Encore Career
Whether you are planning to quit your job to make a career pivot or retire to an encore career relationships will be key.
Whenever you are making a substantial change in your career you will need help and you will need to ask for it. This means building relationships in the new area of interest and then focus on nurturing those relationships.
I am making a shift or pivot into the world of encore careers. I have joined the Encore Career Network which was recommended by one of my community members. This is a group that was spun out of Encore.org when they shifted their mission.
I am now participating, adding value where I can, and building and nurturing new relationships.
Just about every job club leader I have spoken with told me that their members who were unemployed prior to the pandemic and mostly still unemployed. This is creating a large gap in their employment history but more importantly, this causes skills to go stale.
One of my community members was unemployed prior to the pandemic but had been dealing with multiple family issues during the pandemic. His mother who lived on the other side of the state moved into a nursing home and her home had a major fire. This during normal times would have taken a lot of his time but doing this during the pandemic had turned into a full-time job.
He was approached by a former employer about a job. We discussed that he should reach out to all of his former colleagues and ask for some advice about pursuing this position. He would tell them all of the issues he was dealing with during the pandemic and he was ready to go back to work. He needed to nurture these professional relationships but more importantly, he had to do it in a way that was open and honest.
If you were laid off during the pandemic, you need to be evaluating whether you need to make a shift in industries or not. If so, you need to be developing and nurturing relationships in the new industry.
It is All About Relationships
As we come out of this pandemic, you are not going to do this alone. Create a plan about the types of relationships you need to create, re-engage in, and then nurture.
For many of us in the 2nd half of life, this is not what we planned for. We may need to develop relationships with people younger than ourselves as many of our previous contacts may have retired, moved out of a position of power, or died.
What relationships are you going to nurture first?
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