As I repeat, over and over again, in movies and life everything is about timing.
To many of us, last year looks like good timing for – nothing!
People are getting sick, we are locked in our homes most of the time, the financial crisis is knocking on our doors.
But if I look back, to my life during the pandemic, it was far away from nothing.
I changed my job and moved to a new country. Moved to a bigger and nicer apartment. My son had a movie premiere and prime time TV show. He speaks very good English after just half a year in the UK. My other son found a perfect environment in his new school and my wife is opening amazing opportunities for her professional development in years to come. OK, maybe we were a bit lucky. Maybe this is just the harvesting of our work in previous years. The point is not to show how amazing we are (and we are amazing) but to underline that transitions are possible even when it looks like that the world has stopped.
But the biggest transitions are about to come. No doubt. The post-pandemic period will bring many changes. Unfortunately, not all of them are going to be positive. Many people will lose their jobs or switch to jobs that are below their qualifications and previous experience. But many new opportunities will be created as well.
It’s probably fair to say that the industries that have suffered the most, will have the better chance to rebound, simply due to people craving for the things that were restricted to them for a year or more, such as travel and live entertainment.
Due to restrictions that will, in various shapes and forms, stay in place for few more years, the first trend that I would like to underline are customized experiences. This was already present as a trend before the pandemic, but now more people will ask for it. How this makes sense if I just said that many people will lose jobs or be demoted? Well, unfortunately, in times like this, a smaller group will become even more wealthy than before, while the bigger group will go down the social ladder. Sounds familiar? Unfortunately, yes. People who were not hit by the crisis and who continued to earn the same or even more will be in a position and demand to spend some of their money. They would ask for something special, something big, something amazing that will give them a feeling of compensating for the lost experiences in the last year or so. If you can offer that kind of experience, I’m sure that you can also monetize it very well. Performers and producers – many times in history you were giving your talent, knowledge, and experience for little money or for free. Now is a time to make some cash.
The second big trend is mental health. I agree with many articles that we can read lately, that pandemic will cause more damage to the mental health of the population than what was the actual number of people who suffered severely from COVID-19. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy to count depressions, anxiety attacks, and other mental health conditions in the same way as you can count pneumonia cases and positive virus tests. Many people in the last 10 years switched their careers to some kind of coaching or counseling. Unfortunately, with a proliferation of educational opportunities in this area, we see many more fake experts and dilettantes with weekend course diplomas, and fewer real experts. The urge for mental health treatments will not be there for a year or two. It will be there for decades to come. So, what do you think about the following: instead of taking a weekend or two-months online course, enter a real psychology program at University? Investing three or four years of your life into a new degree might sound like too much, but I believe it can pay off and it will also be quite rewarding for you due to the help that you can provide to others. So many of you spend a year doing almost nothing due to circumstances. Three years – that’s just two on top. Pandemic may last two more years in this or similar shape and format.
The third big trend that I would like to mention is communication and public affairs. During the pandemic, two things became quite clear: most of the Governments can’t communicate with their people and most of the Governments interfered with people’s lives more than ever in history. North Korea and similar territories are excluded because they live it every day anyhow. None of the countries had a silver bullet for the pandemic. There was no medicine to cure it, there was no chance to freeze everything, not even for a day. Even the toughest lockdowns did not stop all the movement and social interactions. The World was (and still is) in the worst possible position – to be dependent on the personal responsibility of individuals. What a nightmare! It was clear – communication was the key to this situation. Better communicators provided a better environment for their citizens. Not just COVID wise, but also mental health-wise. At the same time, businesses around the world were restricted in a way that ones who were never in a war and who live in liberal capitalism, never saw before. It’s fair to say that many of those restrictions were necessary due to the health crisis. But, it’s also fair to say that Governments might like this option a lot. And might repeat it in the future, just packed more subtly. Companies will need experts to help them navigate the increasingly complicated playground of new regulation and state intervention when it comes to the private sector. Being suddenly able to restrict and control something that was out of your reach in the past, and you always wanted to control it – can be like a drug. Not so easy to get off.
I’m sure there will be many more opportunities in many different areas. But unfortunately, not everyone will be in a position to participate. Now is the time to buy your ticket. Stop crying and start planning.