The pandemic has disrupted the working world with massive layoffs and a radical change in the terms of engagement.   

Some industries have fallen flat (events, restaurants, gyms, etc.), others have exploded. Previously mundane jobs have become “front-line” jobs, where workers must wear a mask and take a lot of precautions to avoid catching the virus. Workers who like to socialize have been pushed into telework. Through all these upheavals, workers are more confused than ever.

Changes in career choices

In a survey conducted last March by the Réseau des carrefours jeunesse-emploi du Québec, we learned that 46% of young people aged 15 to 35 were thinking about reviewing their “career choices” because of the pandemic. Also, 38% were now considering going back to school and 29% were considering moving to another trade or program of study.

More recently, the Lighthouse Lab released a survey that echoed this reality. A survey of 1,000 Canadian professionals revealed that 57% would change career if they had the opportunity to “requalify” themselves.

Among workers from diversity, we can almost say that this questioning is “generalized”: 89% of people who identify as LGBTQ+, 80% of Black people and 74% of Indigenous people said they would change careers/trades if given the opportunity to requalify. Think about it: about 8 out of 10 diversity workers would like to start over in another occupation. That is huge!

There are also more women (60%) than men (54%) who dream of pressing the rest button on their working life.

When to consult?

Among the workers who are questioning themselves are those who lost their jobs due to the pandemic – when its survey was released, Réseau des carrefours jeunesse-emploi du Québec pointed out that young Quebecers aged 15 to 24 had suffered an overall loss of 69,000 jobs in 2020.

Of those who remain on the job, working conditions have changed radically; unsolicited telework for some, the mask and repetitive disinfection for others. But before leaving a job, it is worth asking yourself a few questions, says Sabrina Gendron-Fontaine, Career Development Advisor.

It is important to consider the cause of dissatisfaction in your job, education or professional field. How does my job align with my interests, values and needs? Do I like what I do? Does the workplace share what is important to me and give me what I need (stability, independence, work-school-family balance, etc.)? Do I feel that my job is too easy or too difficult, and why? Do my work relationships have a role in my dissatisfaction and desire to change jobs? If so, which one?”

If you like your work environment, it is worth getting informed about professional development opportunities within the company. If it is a “toxic” workplace, it is something else.

Who to consult?

To get a clearer picture, a professional development coach or a guidance counsellor can help.

It is a thought that can be made alone or with your entourage. However, many people are unable to make a decision and take action to make a change in their lives despite their dissatisfaction. This is when it is beneficial to consult a career development or guidance counsellor.”

We can count on the fact that guidance counsellors have a field of practice clearly established by the occupational code, explains Sabrina Gendron-Fontaine, leading them to take the following actions:

  • Assess psychological functioning, personal resources and environment conditions
  • Intervene on identity as well as develop and maintain active adaptation strategies to enable personal and professional choices throughout your life,
  • Restore socio-professional autonomy and carry out career projects in humans in interaction with their environment”.

Sabrina Gendron-Fontaine does the typical portrayal of an accompaniment:

When consulting in guidance, the counsellor will explore the reason for your consultation and assess your need and situation throughout the process, in relation to your goal. This can be career change, integration into a new job or a new workplace, or even adaptation to your current environment”.

The guidance counsellor will accompany the worker in their reflection process with exercises and discussions that will lead them to better know themselves, continues Sabrina Gendron-Fontaine. Ultimately, it will help them to “better understand their relationship with their career” as well as to “put themselves into action towards a positive change”.

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