The Great Reinvention | The newspaper

COVID has brought us many iterations of the “new normal”. We’ve learned to spot our friends and neighbors, give other grocery shoppers a wide berth, and find creative ways to connect with others during a time of mass isolation. We spent time alone or in close proximity with our families. The hustle and bustle of the world came to a standstill during prolonged shutdowns. We lost people we loved. We lost people we couldn’t afford to lose.

In recent years, many people have invested time in self-reflection. Some discovered a discontent they hadn’t taken the time to fully explore before the pandemic. After experiencing a tremendous loss, the urgency to live a fulfilling life became crystal clear. It had been time to discover new hobbies or take up old ones. Imagine all the places we would go if the world opened up again. Finally put together the business plan and put it into practice. This is how the great reinvention began.

For some, the time had come to pursue entrepreneurship. Consistent with national data, Iowa saw a record number of new businesses in fiscal 2022, expedited by the Fast Track enrollment system, which reduced the off-site registration deadline from about 30 days to about six hours. (As far as I know, you can still show up in person with your paperwork, eat some yummy tacos across the street, and pick up your completed paperwork when you’re done.)

Others left the workforce to become stay-at-home parents. The data is particularly interesting when gender is taken into account; More and more men are taking on caretaker and household chores. While research has shown positive outcomes for both children with working parents and children with a stay-at-home parent, there is more consistency in the data that happier parents raise happier and better-adjusted children. There is an aspect of privilege that needs to be considered here; In some households, parents do not have the opportunity to stay at home. In others, parents may have no other choice—particularly when adequate childcare is financially unattainable or when serving as a caregiver for a needy child with a disability.

READ :  What channel is Rutgers game on today? (10/22/22) FREE LIVE STREAM | Watch NCAA Big Ten college football, Week 8 online | Time, TV, channel vs. Indiana

Employers are pushing for a return to the office, but a workforce used to and preferring to work remotely on their own terms is pushing back. Hyer, Fiverr, Upwork and a host of other options offer a technological solution for those who can’t take another 9 to 5 in the booth. Conveniences we’ve grown accustomed to — restaurant deliveries, online shopping, and the ability to hire someone to assemble your Ikea console table have increased demand for gig workers. Despite widespread grumbling about employees’ reluctance to return to face-to-face work, more than 80 percent of large US employers say they are committed to “significantly increasing the use of flexible workers.” This desire to both demand rigid schedules and cut costs by relying on part-time gig workers betrays the “want my cake and eat it too” corporate mentality, resulting in a lack of trust and acceptance from a workforce leadership that is no longer tied to decades of working in a single industry, let alone a single company. By 2027, it’s projected that more than half of the US workforce will be freelancers, not employees. (As an aside, this is probably a good time to consider implications for the future of public health policy in the US, among other things.)

One industry that continues to struggle despite the many people seeking a new passion is higher education. With student loan forgiveness still hanging in the balance, prospective students can be forgiven for procrastinating. Both community colleges and four-year institutions still suffer from low enrollments that have not abated since 2020. Information has never been cheaper or more accessible than it is now — and with free courses offered by Khan Academy, Coursera, and several other sources, it’s possible to expand your knowledge base and skills without the crushing debt that often comes with a traditional education (although you probably won’t get away with an actual degree either). Coursera reported over 21 million new users in 2020.

READ :  Neglect of research fuels development challenges in Nigeria - TETFund chief

Of course, not everyone has voluntarily decided to start a new company. Some of these life changes have been forced through the closure of businesses, involuntary layoffs, and the shedding of higher-paid, long-term workers. Even more are the result of technological advances. It should come as no surprise that many of the jobs we know today are becoming obsolete. Consider the massive technological changes that took place between the Wright Brothers’ first successful flight in 1903 and the release of the iPhone in 2007. There have been dramatic changes in the way we have lived, worked, eaten and traveled during this time. The average worker in 1903 worked almost twice as many hours a year as the average worker in 2007. Outdated jobs were offset by new opportunities.

Many people today are afraid of change. Few travel agencies remain; We book our own flights. Our tills (in the stores that still need them) are now largely unmanned. When chatbots take over, call centers are no longer filled with activity. What’s that supposed to mean? Possibly the possibility of pursuing something else. A bit more. We can choose to view the near future with fear, or we can move forward.

Sofia DeMartino is a member of the editorial board of the Gazette. Comments: [email protected]