Finding Motivation During A Global Pandemic

Issue 65

A key part of being able to find and stay in sustainable employment is to be able to stay motivated, take initiative and remain persistent. More than ever before, this is a big ask of jobseekers.

Lots of talented, capable, and willing professionals have been dealt a confidence knock as they find themselves unemployed, through redundancy or otherwise. Young people who had hopes of summer jobs and work experience have missed out on that valuable experience, and there are also those who are struggling with the emotional limbo of furlough. In a job market that is not on their side, these feelings of disappointment and fear are compounded the longer the situation continues.

Finding motivation: the sectors are signalling growth

Although many jobs and sectors have been hit hard, there are businesses that have thrived, either by adapting their current provision or launching new products or services to meet demand. Climate change is a significant political and economic issue and one which received much fanfare when it was reported that emissions fell during lockdown. To see this trend continue and to have a lasting effect on climate change, significant investment has been levelled towards a ‘Green Industrial Revolution’, a 10-point plan launched by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, including 250,000 new jobs in the UK. Now that many businesses are embracing flexible working, this has opened the doors to a more diverse range of applicants. Flexible working is an attractive benefit to many, in particular those who can now more easily manage their families, disabled workers or those with chronic illnesses, and remote workers who don’t want to or cannot afford to move to a major city.

Logistics, warehousing, and distribution have been integral to our management of lockdown and how we now procure our goods. This demand has led to significant investment in more sites around the country, including often overlooked areas such as the North East, the West Midlands and Corby, creating much needed job opportunities. Education, science, and outer space

During the pandemic, we’ve certainly come to understand the phrase “knowledge is power”. Our teachers have kept the nation educated and the profession has been met with a surge in applications; meeting the target for trainee teachers for the first time in eight years. Alongside this, we have all been left in awe of the doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals who have worked tirelessly to keep us safe and well. This valiant effort has encouraged an increase in student nurse applications. Now, scientists have developed a vaccine in just 9 months. This amazing feat of human intelligence and our need to encourage a world-leading approach to virus control, has spurred investment by the UK Government in 2 new ‘megalabs’ creating 4,000 jobs. Our collective renewed passion for all things STEM has the potential to go to infinity and beyond, with the government investing in three new space projects.

Instilling motivation in job seekers

Staying motivated is a considered effort and exceptionally difficult in the current climate, and we all need to be reminded of this when we feel like we are getting it wrong – I know I certainly do! These are my personal tips for increasing motivation at this difficult time.

Stay SMART with manageable goals – Setting realistic targets with manageable expectations is crucial to ensure you don’t set yourself up for failure. Start small, build up and reward yourself with something positive like picking up the phone to a friend or going for a walk.

See no evil, speak to evil, hear no evil – Although we are all complex beings, how we think and behave is affected by what we consume or who or what we are exposed to. This includes people, media, TV shows, so consider who and what you are surrounding yourself with. Everyone needs to vent from time to time but be sure not to get into a negativity relay race, passing on negativity from person to person and locked in a cycle of doom. Speaking of doom – stop doom scrolling! We’ve all done it, and the consumption of negative reports, press and social media can be addictive. It validates our own negative feelings, but it will not help us to feel any differently. Also, fiction is mixed with fact and we should be very careful about what media we consume and its legitimacy.

Seek enrichment – Once you’ve cut out the noise, seek out those who offer a positive outlook. To find enrichment, seek out snackable blogs, podcasts or Ted Talks that aren’t overwhelming or too taxing. It doesn’t have to be related to your circumstance, sector, or field of interest – just listening to someone talk passionately about their vocation can stir motivation in yourself.

At NCFE, we’re determined to play our part in helping people to train, find, stay and progress in work in spite of the current economic and labour market context. Developing motivation is a key component of NCFE’s ‘go the distance’ initiative, where we’re tackling the big issues when it comes to youth employment in the current economic climate

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