is this the wrong time to apply for jobs?

A reader writes:

I recently saw a job posting that looks like a great next step in my career, but I’m unsure if this is the right time to apply for and maybe even start new jobs. Things are so uncertain and, well, I am feeling like leaving my current job would be risky until things settle down. What do you think? What was it like switching jobs in 2008/2009? Was it that you could start a new job and get laid off very quickly or just that there were no jobs posted? What are some roundabout ways to ask about the security of the job in interviews? I was in college during the financial crisis, so I don’t know what lessons would be applicable to now.

This … isn’t like 2008.

With the recession that started in 2008, the job market got tight and people faced lots of competition for fewer jobs. But where hiring was happening, it mostly continued pretty normally. There was just less of it, and more candidates competing. Some people did hunker down and stay where they were for fear that a new job would turn out to be less stable — and that was a risk management question people had to juggle along with the rest of the factors that any job search has — but lots of people changed jobs and it was fine (and sometimes even more stable).

What’s happening now is different because of the amount of uncertainty employers are facing — uncertainty about their customer base and their supply lines and their ability to keep people working, and uncertainty how long this will go on. For a lot of employers, a lot is up in the air right now. And yes, there was uncertainty in 2008 too, about what the markets would do, what funding would come in, and what economic forecasts would look like. But it was more familiar uncertainty. What we’re facing now isn’t like anything we’ve dealt with before, and we’re figuring it out as we go.

Whether or not it makes sense to change jobs right now … well, it depends on things like what industry you work in, how well your current employer is handling the crisis and how well prepared they are if it continues for months, how the new employer stacks up in those regards, and how in demand your skills are (and how easy it would be to recover if you land somewhere that doesn’t work out). Your current job could be in a precarious position and you could move to something more secure or vice versa. So there’s not one answer like “don’t change jobs right now” — you could be far better off changing jobs right now! You’ve just got to really do your due diligence about what’s going on with any employer you consider moving to — always, but now more than ever.

That means you don’t need roundabout ways to discuss this with an interviewer. Be direct! No decent employer will have a problem with you inquiring about how they’re handling COVID-19, their plans if it goes on for months, how this particular job will be impacted, and how their wider business will be impacted. But don’t rely just on their word, since it’s really common for employers to say things that sound good and not give candidates the whole story (not necessarily because they intend to deceive, but because your interviewer may not even know about the layoffs coming next month — and if they do know, they’re probably not authorized to talk about it anyway). You’ve got to ask around in your industry, talk to people with insider information, learn all you can, and use your own judgment.

That puts you in a nerve-wracking position (the devil you know, and all that). But it’s not a clear yes/no kind of question. You’ve got to examine the whole picture with your current job and any new one.

{ 151 comments… read them below }

  1. Rubyrose*

    Just had a discussion yesterday with HR on a position I applied to a month ago, had 2 phone interviews, and an in person interview just this past Friday. They want me. I want to join them. But the onboarding requires me to fly across the country and stay in a hotel for 4 days. We both agreed this is not the time for that.
    So we are both just going to bide our time, watch the situation carefully, and move forward when it seems appropriate.
    The situation changed drastically, just over the weekend. It is what it is.

    1. Emma Woodhouse*

      I’d been in the early stages of interviewing for in-house comms roles at Private Equity firms in NYC a few weeks ago but I removed myself from the process to stay at my current firm. I’m in crisis/financial communications and we are incredibly busy right now. It was the right choice for me because I love my job; I was playing the field to see what was out there and what salary I could command.

      Recruiters are still reaching out, but I believe the best course of action is to stay where you are. We’re in unprecedented times and I’m glad to have the familiarity of my job and colleagues (even though we’ve been working remotely due to all of this).

    2. hayling*

      My company also normally flies everyone who doesn’t work at HQ to the HQ office for orientation/onboarding for at least a week when they start. Starting completely remote is not ideal, but it’s not going to make it impossible to onboard employees, you just need to adjust. We have not changed any hiring plans, at least in my department.

  2. KimmyBear*

    I’m getting my resume ready and considering applying for jobs as back up in case my current position goes away. Will I quit my job…probably not but I want to be ahead of the curve if I lose my job.

    1. Diahann Carroll*

      This is where I’m at too. Our company’s CFO sent out an email the other day saying our salary reviews were being postponed out of an abundance of caution given the increasingly escalating nature of this virus, and tried to assure us that the company was on solid financial footing – but the language used in the email was vague and not remotely comforting to me. CFO says postponed doesn’t “necessarily” mean cancelled, and I’m like, “…then why even say that word now anyway?” It’s like if you’re walking on a high wire and someone tells you not to look down – you’re going to look down. So if I’m being told that my salary increase may or may not happen this year, I’m now laser focused on our financials.

      The last place I worked for that had money problems had no issue laying people off every three or four months. I’m not the last person in the door by any means, but I’m not exactly essential, so I’m very aware that I could be one of the people cut if it comes to that, and I don’t want to be blindsided.

      1. Veronica Mars*

        My boss set up a meeting titled “discussion” in a conference room with only 15 minutes notice yesterday – just me and him. Then he was 5 minutes late to the meeting. Given my industry, it sent me straight into a “I’m getting laid off” tail spin and was practically in tears by the time he showed up.

        Turns out, the meeting was to give me a raise.

        The fact that I would rather have not had the raise than go through the stress of that 20 minutes of waiting made me realize its probably time to start putting out feelers. Obviously (now, anyway) my boss likes me and thinks I do good work. But my current department isn’t the most essential of places and I’m the junior person.

  3. Ghost of a Ghost*

    Thank you for asking this LW! I’ve been debating leaving my job for years now, but as Allison’s recent post mentioned, I’m my own worst enemy. I finally get some remote work on my resume and enough of a kick in the pants to start job searching, and now this? Maybe my current job isn’t so bad, especially since I’m sure WFH jobs just got a whole lot more popular. Can’t hurt to apply though.

  4. HR Disney Lady*

    I had multiple interviews last week and the week before while looking for work. I’m unemployed at the moment and was very scared I wouldn’t be able to find work. Fortunately today I was just offered a position, but they don’t want to start me until May so they offered a $2000 bonus to keep some money coming until then.

    There is some movement, but other companies have completely stopped. This is very uncharted waters for all of us. I would suggest just being honest with the hiring managers and HR about your concerns of how will they handle the virus and will this job be long term. Also if their industry has been impacted. I wish you the best!

    1. MCL*

      I don’t mean to stress you out, but I might actually keep applying in your situation if you can. A lot can change between now and May, and $2000 isn’t much. If the job evaporates between now and then you will have wasted weeks of time. I am sorry that I’m being pessimistic. :(

      1. HR Disney Lady*

        Trust me, I still am! I had a final interview at another company and if they offer to start me sooner I would possibly consider it. As of now I haven’t accepted to position but am trying to tread water while waiting for others. I didn’t read you as pessimistic at all, at the end of the day we have to look out for ourselves.

        1. MCL*

          I sometimes get in a situation with friends where I think I’m making a prudent comment and I get a look like I’m Debbie Downer. I hope your new job works out and that it’s great. Also glad you’re not stopping your search in the mean time. :)

      2. BasicWitch*

        Agreed. And a LOT of people will likely be job hunting by the time this winds down (far more in the service industry and such, but this is and will continue to impact people to some degree at every level and in every industry). Some jobs that are growing now (related to delivery, logistics, and healthcare) may constrict when something like normalcy returns.

        We live in interesting times.

    2. Jdc*

      I agree with the other comments but also must say that it’s nice to see a company putting something helpful like this on the table.

  5. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    Also in 2008, we didn’t have incentive to change jobs even if you were in a field that wasn’t as crushed and limited. Everyone was paying peanuts for extensive experience! So you stuck it out because at least you had a job and it paid you just as much as the other options.

    There’s also no risk in looking into a career change right now, sniff it out, interview for it if given that opportunity. Then when you get to that offer stage, who knows, things may be back on track. Or you’ll have a lot more ideas of what’s going on to give yourself a lot more data to go off of.

    Looking for work always comes with a risk that you may not work out there, they may decide to do layoffs and last in is first out, yadda yadda. That’s all the time, every time. During this crisis, during the following recession, etc.

    They’re already coming out with reports about the recession that will happen from the economic downturn and it’s not going to be near the Great Recession of 2008/2009. It’ll be like the 82 downturn. Which ask folks who were around back then, my family doesn’t even remember it happened. Recessions are natural in the economy. Just continue to remember that at all times and they don’t last as long as the Great Recession either, that’s why we call it “Great” and the others are just basic recessions. Not all economic crises are created equal by any means!

    Keep living your life with all the precautions we’re supposed to be taking. Sniffing out jobs and getting that data isn’t taking the final leap to accept the job if you are even given that offer!

    1. AndersonDarling*

      Yeah, this doesn’t feel anything like the 2008 recession. This is going to be rough for small businesses and hospitality workers, but major retailers, hotels, and casinos aren’t going to go bankrupt. In 2008, major employers were locking their doors and anyone could be working for the next company to shut down. Thousands of people applied for job openings. PhDs were applying to be receptionists to earn $6/hr.
      We don’t really know where this is going, but I don’t sense a panic in employment. Recruiters are still looking for talent and paying market wages. Hiring may go on hold for a month or two, but we will hit the reset button and get back into the swing of things.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        2008 was courtesy of a burst as well, which is something different. When entire industries start collapsing and it’s tied to the banking system like mortgages and long term debt, it’s a whole knew form of destruction.

        This will take a bite out of everyone but shouldn’t result in absolute destruction of any given business. Including those restaurants and bars we’re all worried for. They have a high mortality rate and now it’s even more so with the blow to all of them at once. But they’re also one of the easier ones to restart once everything starts to simmer down.

        1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

          I think it depends on how long it lasts. Right not an estimated 18% of US workers have been laid-off due to COVID-19 (link to follow). If this continues for the next 3-4 months, those folks will struggle to pay their mortgages, credit cards, car loans, etc. and will cut back consumption, which will hit many industries. If there ends up being a lot of foreclosures/bankruptcies, who knows what that will do to the banking system?

          1. MsSolo*

            For the current containment model to really work, it’s going to have to last until there’s a vaccine, which is at least a year way. I don’t think any of the Western economies are willing to countenance that, so we’ll probably move in and out of it until we either find a ‘tolerable’ level (where the disease is spreading but not so quickly it overwhelms re-tooled health systems) or lurch between high spread and low. Some industies are definitely going to be harder hit than others, because consumer behaviours aren’t immediately going to revert, but there are opportunities for adaptation. The UK has been going on about the death of the high street for a while, and this is definitely going to push more businesses into online delivery models, but a lot where going to have to make that leap eventually.

            1. Birdie*

              This isn’t necessarily true. Really they need more support in the anti-virals, which is being looked at right now. It’s a good stop gap until vaccine.

      2. in the air*

        Hotels, while they might not go bankrupt, are going to be losing money hand over fist throughout this. Check out any recent headline from the last couple days about the hotel industry. It’s bad.

    2. Fikly*

      The day anyone can predict the economy…

      The study of economics is fundamentally flawed, because all economic models rely on removing human behavior as a factor, because it’s “too hard to predict.” Which it may be, but without humans, there wouldn’t be an economy, and thus all models are fundamentally flawed.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        Except that we have centuries of data to pull from, so yeah. Move along please, this isn’t necessary.

        1. Fikly*

          Please tell me about one time when a statistically significant number of people correctly predicted the 5 year outcome of an event within a week of it happening, ever.

          And I’m being very generous here, because one time where that happened isn’t statistically significant in and of itself.

          Spreading panic isn’t necesarry, over the virus or the economy.

          1. Avasarala*

            Well if you watch the Big Short, some people did predict the Great Recession. And make a great deal of money betting it would happen.

            Many people can make reasonable predictions about how people being out of work and not going out to spend money will affect the economy.

            1. Fikly*

              Sure, a few. A statistically significant number though? No. Because it’s impossible to do so. They got lucky. If you’re going to talk about the people who made money betting on it, you also have to talk about the many people who lost money betting against it, otherwise you’re just being selective.

              And predicting the economy will get worse is very different than saying, well, there will be a recession that will be like x recession, rather than y recession.

              It’s not possible to make an accurate prediction. It never has been. There are thousands of variables, our models cannot possibly account for them all, there are not nearly enough that can be controlled, and that’s why we will never have enough data to predict it. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying or deluded.

              I understand that humans don’t like uncertainty. But unfortunately, that doesn’t change reality.

    3. Cat*

      This is a very optimistic view. I’m a biologist not an economist, so maybe you are right that this won’t be a bad recession, but I highly doubt it. One of the most recent studies estimates that there will be 1million+ deaths in the US in a BEST case mitigation scenario, which would involve some pretty intense social distancing and probably cripple the economy. Unfortunately the measures that need to be taken to prevent the spread of the disease basically shut down most of the economy and need to be maintained for months to have a significant impact.

      1. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

        We lost a huge number to AIDS but the government didn’t really care because it was just the gays. Then some heterosexuals caught it. It took the government years to actually do something. We’re attacking this virus way early.

          1. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

            It’s way deadlier and decimated the gay community. Coronavirus has nowhere near the mortality rate AIDS did.

            1. AGD*

              Agreed. Google the picture of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus for World AIDS day. It’s brutally heartbreaking.

    4. in the air*

      This is extremely optimistic and I sincerely hope you’re right. But my industry (events) got decimated overnight, and a recent CNN article estimated that 50% of American jobs would be impacted by this (either outright job losses or hours cuts). If you’re in an industry that hasn’t felt the impact yet, it might still feel like business as usual but it certainly isn’t for a large portion of the country. I strongly suspect it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better. I think that this is going to make 2008 look like a joke.

      1. Lady Jay*

        I echo this. I’ve already seen suggestions that we’re in a *depression*, not a recession, and the worst of the virus is yet to come – for several months. If the Imperial Report is accurate, our entire lives, including our working lives, will be upended for at least the next 12-18 mos.

  6. learnedthehardway*

    If the employer has the job posted or if you’re contacted by a recruiter – assume that the company is still hiring. Many are. Many are planning for when this is over and know they will need people.

    I would absolutely ask what the plans are for the position, and what the effect the coronavirus situation is having on hiring and the interview process, onboarding, and the role’s permanence, but I wouldn’t stop applying.

    1. Tidewater 4-1009*

      Thank you! I have been wondering about this, but since I’m unemployed I figured the best thing to do is keep applying. I’ll be sure to ask about these things!

  7. Miss May*

    Hah! I just posted this in the previous thread. My partner just gave his notice at his old job and is due to start his new position Monday. In the two weeks from offer to start date, a LOT has changed in the outside world. So far, there hasn’t been any communication regarding not coming in, so he’s hoping he can get a few days under his belt before anything really hits the fan. Each day it seems like something new is coming for us.

    1. Team Manager*

      We just had new people start on Monday – it’s definitely still possible! We had to arrange to ship them everything instead of having it ready for them on their first day as we normally would. Besides that, we’re still doing all of their onboarding virtually. I think a lot depends on the company’s ability to do virtual work and, of course, the nature of the role itself.

      1. Anonymous for Today*

        I just started my new Monday, and got a call Sunday night that their office is closed, so I still started, but have been completely remote. Had to meet someone to get my computer and pass off paperwork. So far they are handing everything extremely well and have been making me feel welcome. There is still some fear about how things could continue to change, and this is my first management job ever, so working remotely and not having a chance to meet my team yet has been the biggest challenge. Overall, I think it’s still been better than staying where I was, which was comfortable.

      2. The Original K.*

        I know two people who have started new jobs within the last week. Both started in person but were quickly moved to remote work.

      3. Parcae*

        I started my new job on Monday. Exactly one day on-site, and now we are all remote… indefinitely. My onboarding experience has not been perfect, but everyone is handling things as well as can be expected, and I feel very welcome. I’m definitely glad I made the jump.

    2. Sloan Kittering*

      Personally I think it’s a good time to job search and apply to jobs because hiring managers are likely at home – and reading through the applications is a good thing to do while you’re home. It’s just probably going to be longer than usual before in person interviews (and start date).

    3. Kes*

      If you haven’t heard I would probably reach out and check in with them on what the status is and whether he should still be coming in in person on Monday or whether he will be starting remotely.

    4. Elenna*

      My team just had a new member start a couple days ago! Granted, he was an internal transfer, but still, it is possible.

    5. new job nerves*

      I just got a job offer last week, which I accepted. I am planning to give my notice on Monday – I might have to do it by email or phone since we’re all working remotely. I might not even see my co-workers in person again before I leave. I know that because of covid19 there is no way I will be able to leave things as organized as I would like and I’m concerned that will taint their last memory of my work — even though the circumstances are beyond my control and I’ve done a outstanding job for the entirety of my time there.

      I’m nervous about the new job. What if I get to what is supposed to be my first day and I can’t even go into the office? Will I really “start” or will I be in some sort of limbo – between jobs but not being paid by either? I’m lucky that I do have fairly significant savings but I don’t really want to have to use it. I’m trying not to worry and I’ve asked how the new company is faring. Both jobs are at cultural non profits so they are each being hit hard by this, but my current job is becoming more toxic for me by the day.

      (The last time I left a toxic job – albeit without something else lined up – was 2008 and the economy tanked about two months later, so that’s not helping assuage my nervousness.)

    6. M. Albertine*

      I also started a new job on Monday…two days in the office, the second trying to get prepared to work remotely. Fortunately, the training plan is very detailed, and processes are well-documented, so I’m doing well just doing a lot of reading and trying to get up to speed. My new job is WAY more stable than my last one, so here’s another vote for “it highly depends on the individual situation!”

  8. Quill*

    I got in contact with a recruiter for a direct hire role yesterday, but since I work in the pharma industry, it’s not like demand is going away right now.

  9. kab0b*

    I had two months of interviewing with a company and finally early last week received and accepted an offer, and put my notice in with my current employer with a start with my new employer on the 1st. Now everything has blown up. I have no clue if i’ll still have a job come April 1. Pretty sure my current employer won’t allow me to stay on, they were pretty offended i was leaving. I haven’t heard anything yet, and i’m scared to ask…

    1. Threeve*

      That is scary, I’m sorry. I think you need to ask both of them immediately.

      This is not a situation anyone anticipated, and so people may need to be pushed to make decisions in a context they’ve never experienced before. It’s new territory for everyone.

      Talk to your current employer you’re uncertain about the future of the position you’re meant to be starting and ask about delaying your resignation, even if it’s an uncomfortable conversation.

      Tell the new company that you aren’t confident your current employer will allow you to stay on past your notice period and you need to confirm as soon as possible that they will honor the previously agreed-upon start date. Fingers crossed for you.

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        Agreed. You have to ask so you can be prepared now instead of getting a nasty surprise later.

      2. Veronica Mars*

        Agreed. “Bad news doesn’t get better with time.”

        I wouldn’t try to corner the new company into a solid yes or no answer right now, because then the answer might be “no” but you have nothing to lose by talking to your current company.

    2. new job nerves*

      I am in a similar situation. I am planning to give notice next week and start my new job in about 5 weeks. I’m worried about being in limbo. I’m hoping that if that happens maybe my current employer will allow me to stay on longer. I am in a position that they really need to help them through this, but at the same time, I worry that they will conflate my leaving with covid19 and blame me for leaving at such an inopportune time. (I started interviewing for the position over a month ago, and there’s never a perfect time to resign, but this is _really_ bad timing.)

  10. QuinFirefrorefiddle*

    I had 3 interviews lined up for this week. 2 have been postponed. 1 isn’t for a few more days yet but I expect will be.

    With churches. That are now closing their doors to flatten the curve. (Or if not, I don’t want to work with them anyway.) No idea what is in the future for them. Some will adapt and survive, some will not. Wait and see.

  11. Jennifer*

    I feel terrible for anyone that was already out of work and job hunting before this all started. Hopefully we will get some relief from the government soon. We’ll see.

    Anyone that is employed needs to stay put imo unless it’s an extreme situation.

    1. Terrified Job Seeker*

      This is my situation and I’m terrified. I was laid off exactly a month ago today, after being with my previous company for 14 years. The role was an extreme hybrid and I was already scared about my prospects for future roles. Now I haven’t a clue what to expect. I’m incredibly fortunate in that I have enough in savings so I’ll be okay for six months if nothing extraordinary happens to me, and I’ve decided to work towards a PMP certification (Project Management Professional) during my ample downtime. If this lasts longer than 6 months, though? I’ll be absolutely screwed, with nowhere to turn. And since I was let go just before all of this hit, I’m likely to be ineligible for whatever government asisstance may ultimately get offered.

      All of this is horrible for everyone and I know I’m in a far better situation than most, and I’m definitely grateful. The anxiety about my own situation is, for the most part, manageable. Holy hell, though. I’m definitely scared.

  12. Aeon*

    I am in the final stages of recruitment and am fairly sure that I am going to get the job. But I just heard back today that they are pausing the hiring process until they can get everyone back in the office. While I wish that we could finalize things for financial and insurance reasons, I totally understand the delay. And it bodes well for this being a good employer, since they are doing full WFH right now. I also appreciate the chance to continue self-quarantine, because I was very nervous about trying to stay healthy while taking public transit for my commute.

  13. Anon College Professional*

    Alison, do you have specific suggestions for students graduating in 2020 who are applying for jobs? I’m seeing a fair bit of panic, in part because they’re not already in a job in which they could potentially hunker down and wait out current events.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Honestly, right now I think it’s too early to give really good advice on that. In even just a few weeks, I think we’re going to know more. Right now things are so in flux that we’ve probably got to give it a little time. I know that’s really frustrating.

      1. Anon College Professional*

        Thank you! This is more or less what I’ve been telling them, and yeah – it’s a hard and frustrating message to give. I’m still seeing active and new postings in our various career platforms so am taking that as a good sign, and your advice above about being direct with employers is reassuring. A lot of applicants (not just new grads, of course) are nervous about asking such questions, so I’ll be sure to emphasize that it’s okay to ask!

        1. Rainy*

          I’ve been telling my clients that if they’re not seeing many postings in their field, now is a great time to network.

    2. Veronica Mars*

      Ugh, I hadn’t thought of that, so horrible. The month between when I graduated and when I started work were (financially) some of the toughest.

      If I were them I certainly wouldn’t stop applying to the jobs that are posted. In my company, some managers actually seem to have a bit more time on their hands to do things like review resumes.

    3. Mary*

      Yeah, I work with students too. All of our on-campus recruitment events have been cancelled and there are no students to attend them anyway. This would be the key time to recruit to summer internships in a lot of industries. I don’t know what graduate recruitment is going to look like by the summer.

      I think we’re going to end up with changes to the economy on the scale of WW2. If it could realistically be 12 months or more until there is a vaccine and we can go back to “normal”, normal is going to look completely different. I just hope that whatever happens, people’s rights to a fair wage, employment rights, housing stability and justice are prioritised.

    4. Mary Richards*

      I have this odd feeling we’re going to see fewer summer 2020 grads than we’d expect and a whole lot more winter 2020 grads than we’d expect.

      1. That Girl from Quinn's House*

        A lot of colleges are almost done for the year. Finals are on average in early May. The last month or so of classroom time might be suboptimal, especially for students in hands-on classes, but there’s no reason why they’d force kids to repeat an entire semester when they’re 2/3 of the way done with the class.

      2. Elenna*

        From what I’ve seen, most universities are moving to online classes, but they’re still continuing classes and still planning to have students graduating in May. My sister was due to graduate in May and she hasn’t heard anything about any reason that wouldn’t happen, although her last few weeks of classes are going to be online, as is her final project presentation.

        1. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

          I work at a university and this is exactly right – classes have moved online and, except in the cases of outside accreditation/credentialing, the university is doing everything possible to ensure course credit is received for these classes even if the class experience is not quite 100% of what it usually is. My university is extending the option for students to withdraw from courses and receive a refund through mid-April (with the semester ending mid-May), but hopefully virtually all students will be able to finish up the semester from home.

      3. Mary Richards*

        Oh hold on…I don’t think I was clear. I mean that I think a lot of second-semester seniors will want an extra semester, especially if the economy doesn’t pick up so quickly, to avoid paying student loans while unemployed.

      4. MentalEngineer*

        As other commenters have said, this isn’t going to happen. My university probably couldn’t handle a 10% year-on-year increase in Fall course demand from seniors sticking around, let alone 25% or more, unless they offset it by rescinding freshman acceptances, which they’re not going to do. The physical infrastructure (dorm rooms, classrooms, food, etc.) isn’t there; if we stay online that long, the online infrastructure isn’t there either (especially training and tech support). The instructors aren’t there, especially since a lot of hiring cycles and grad school admissions cycles just got interrupted. You can bump up course caps, but that hurts the quality of instruction, even online; more importantly, it hurts the university’s US News ranking, which hurts their budget allocation from the legislature, which makes all the infrastructure deficits get even worse. Repeat with minor changes for most colleges and universities in the country. If everyone is allowed to delay graduation, the whole system will seize up.

        What is going to happen is that students are going to pass their classes this semester. Their credits in a lot of courses will be largely worthless, but everyone will understand why and accept that. Some individual instructors haven’t wised up to this yet, but as we get closer to graduation the institutional pressures will filter down through deans and departments and people will get the message.

  14. Nanani*

    Honestly, this COVID situation changes so fast, an answer from an employer today might be meaningless by the time your interview, let alone your start date, rolls around.
    And that doesn’t have to mean incompetence or trying to sound good! One government halfway around the world could announce measures that affect supply lines and slow down production where you are so the company decides not to hire. Or quarantine measures could be beefed up either where you are or where the company is, limiting your ability to go to an interview or a job.

    If you can afford to stay you put you probably should tbh. Soon you might not have a choice.

  15. Ann O'Nemity*

    Another employer recently reached out and asked me to apply. The new employer is positioned to weather this situation way better than my current employer, but I hate the thought of starting a new job in the middle of all this weirdness. If my current childcare arrangement falls through, I know my current employer will work with me. But I’d hate to have to ask for that sort of flexibility from a new employer. Also, it feels like an especially shitty time to leave my current employer and my team. Uncertain times.

    1. Ted Mosby*

      That’s tricky. I have found that employers (mine and friends) are being far far more lax about child care and what WFH looks like now than they typically would be. Most schools and daycares are closed in my area, so what are parents going to do? New or not, many are in the same boat. Just like it wouldn’t be odd to ask to WFH right away right now… it’s just not normal times.

    2. CL Cox*

      But would your employer hesitate to fire you if they lost too much money? And, given the circumstances, I think asking a new employer about WFH and childcare is almost a necessity.

    3. Mad Harry Crewe*

      There’s absolutely no harm in applying. If you’re that concerned, ask about it. Everywhere schools are closed, employers are dealing with people in non-optimal WFH situations.

  16. Smithy*

    I’m in the humanitarian nonprofit industry. On the one hand there will be a need for this kind of work in the months/years to come – but assessing any given organization’s financial health seems impossible. It may be that period of challenges the sector will face will be in a year or two from now where current grants end and areas where we used to receive funding aren’t as robust.

    So how that will impact any given organization just seems so hard. While an organization that has “diverse funding sources” is great – it became very telling during the last US presidential election how stable certain organizations were based on how much of their funding was from government grants. It may be that where I’m working in two years will tragically collapse – but I’ll have a longer tenure here and then can better assess what organizations are doing better are where to apply. It’s incredibly anxiety producing.

    1. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

      The funding question is especially true because many (most?) foundations award on the basis of a multi-year endowment average, two years delayed. So the downturn in 2020 won’t be felt until 2022-2023 and will continue for however long this downturn lasts. I learned from a colleague that my organization didn’t feel the pinch from the 2008 market until 2011 and it lasted until about 2015.

      1. Smithy*

        There’s the impact of how endowments are affected, digital/mail donations vs wealthier individual donors, institutional donor strategies and priorities may easily change, what government grants look like, what will Brexit + Pandemic mean for British/European funding, will it change religious donations – etc etc etc.

        And not every organization in every sector is equally dependent on each stream. During the economic crisis that began in 2008, I worked at a place where all funds were from governments and foundations – so in some ways it passed me by.

        I just feel like right now – no one can truly predict a stable or unstable nonprofit. With the possible exception of hospitals.

  17. Nervous Nellie*

    I was laid off in December, and had two interviews scheduled for this week. The first was postponed indefinitely, and the second was cancelled altogether. A distraught HR manager called me to apologize, and said that the market crash caused an immediate hiring freeze. I am starting to panic.

    1. SunnySideUp*

      I’m so sorry. If certain types of temp/contract work could help you, look at Flexjobs and Upwork.

    2. Ted Mosby*

      I work in healthcare tech and we’re hiring and struggling to get people to apply. Are there field where you can apply your skills that won’t be slowing right now?

    3. Nervous Nellie*

      Thank you, SSU & Ted,

      Great suggestions – I have been looking into temp work. I am in accounting/finance, so I can basically plug into any industry. That said, all the job listings are dropping off, and the two temp agencies I contacted have no unfilled roles. It’s a perfect storm of hiring/contracting freezes. I will keep applying to everything I see, even if I meet only half of the qualifications, and hope for the best.

      Thank you both – stay well!

  18. JustMyImagination*

    I think it depends so much on the industry. I’m in biotech and they have no plans to stop hiring during this crisis. In the last week they’ve sent 80% of staff to work from home and transitioned our new-hire on-boarding to 100% remote. When we can go back into the office they’ll get the last sections of new hire training (tours, here’s your desk, etc).

  19. Elizabeth West*

    I have nothing to add except ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH

    I would really, really like to be hired so I can get out of my vulnerable relative’s home. Although I can physically isolate in the downstairs area, there is no way to wall off the air exchange. I’d rather be quarantined in my own place if that happens — I’m cool with working remotely. My role at Exjob was basically remote, since my team was rarely in the office and the rest of the department was scattered around the country.

    Also, I want my own space back, damn it. I miss my stuff. I’m keeping a list of apartments.

  20. Anonymous Hippopotamus*

    I’m possibly in the running for a job that would be a huge step for me both professionally and personally. I was at the point of having had a phone interview with the recruiter and they were going to pass along my resume to the company. I know that everything will be delayed with virus situation still very much up in the air, but is there a point it would be ok to reach back out to the recruiter and see what’s up? I know the position is a new one, so no urgency at all for filling it, so I want to not seem pushy, but like also I so want this job.

    Also, am I wrong in assuming the recruiter will let me know if the company decides not to bring me in? I’ve only been on the other side of this, and recruiters always asked us for feedback on candidates, so I assumed they would relay said information back so they wouldn’t be sitting about waiting (I know you shouldn’t put all your hopes on one job, but I wasn’t really looking and this is such an amazing opportunity that I’m jazzed beyond belief).

    1. Lyudie*

      Yes, they should let you know! And definitely follow up if they aren’t getting back to you, I’m sure they understand everyone’s looking for certainty right now. Most recruiters I’ve worked with have been pretty responsive.

      1. Anonymous Hippopotamus*

        Thanks. What a good timeline for checking in? We last spoke a week ago, that seems a little soon to me, but again, never dealt with it from this side.

        1. Lyudie*

          I’d ping them early next week, if you haven’t heard back. They might have a lot going on but should be able to let you know if they are waiting to find out what’s going on with the client or what they are seeing with other clients they’re working with. Things might be moving slowly from the client side, as some folks here have mentioned…some companies seem to be moving along and others are taking it slower/have other priorities at the moment. Generally I’d treat them mostly like you would HR when you’re interviewing directly with a company, but you can probably be a little more “open” with a recruiter about things like being a little anxious etc. without worrying about it being taken the wrong way. Recruiters work with lots of folks so they are probably working with other people in your same situation right now. Good luck <3

        2. Analytical Tree Hugger*

          I’d give it at least two weeks, preferably three. I’ve found that in that timeline, recruiters will get back to me without me having to ping them (even in the current situation). And, for context, I’m *not* a highly desirable candidate nor am I in a high-demand niche.

  21. Esskay*

    Definitely think very hard about the security of your current job vs. any new job. Within less than a week, my company (employing hundreds) has gone from incredible growth over the last few years, to immediate layoffs and frankly, I’ll be amazed if most of us are still there in a few months. We’re not one of the ‘obvious’ industries either, the effects will truly be far reaching.

    1. Esskay*

      Just to add, this is/was also a very solvent, financially careful business who have never made redundancies. It’s not like they were on the edge anyway.

    2. AVP*

      It is truly wild to see how quickly stable, conservative, not-directly-related-to-the-pandemic companies are coming apart here – everything is just so interconnected now. The recommendations to keep so little cash on hand can’t have helped, either.

    3. Tidewater 4-1009*

      To me it sounds like your company panicked. I think a non-panicky company would have waited to see what happens.
      Either that or they actually didn’t have the funds to deal with these changes. Maybe there’s some hidden/behind-the-scenes financial stuff here.

      1. Esskay*

        The thing is the huge growth has been sustained by picking up lots of big contracts along the way, some of which are now in doubt. Plus a lot of our smaller customers will struggle to carry out their services and may well go under. So, I have no doubt that they panicked, but I also doubt the company could sustain at its present size with no action for any length of time with a significant reduction in income. One big contract in doubt, fine, but this will impact every single customer we work with, and some of them will find ways around it, but others just won’t.

        It’s also a regulated industry, so it needs to be able to guarantee it can carry out it commitments and has the resource/reserves to make those commitments. I’m hoping it won’t be as bad as I fear overall, but who knows.

  22. Bookworm*

    OP: Flip this around–is it ever the “right” time? There is, as Alison wrote, no yes/no answer for a lot of people and can vary from person to person.

    My team recently had this conversation, partially because we are in a state of transition that began before this really blew up in the last week or so. We were reassured that our jobs are not going away, although we’ll have to adjust because of demand and the volatility of…everything. But we also have some job postings out there (posted awhile ago) and we are still looking to hire, albeit with adjustments as to how we proceed in interviewing and hiring.

    I’ve been thinking about leaving for awhile, but now I think it’s even more of a wait and see. Right now I’m secure but all the same I’m also not looking to stay here forever and will leave for the right position. But again, I understand there’s so much going on right now I may need to be patient about this, so YMMV.

  23. AnonForThis*

    I’d been planning to start job hunting pretty aggressively this month, but I’m 100% essential personnel at a human services agency, so there’s no way in hell that’s happening. Jumping ship now would look horrible to anyone else hiring in my field, and would probably prevent me from getting another job…and in the middle of a global pandemic, I’m just going to consider myself lucky to be employed.

  24. Emily*

    I think so much depends on your industry. I am in an industry that is getting hit very hard by this. We froze all hiring efforts and are now trying to figure out what do with our staff when they have little to no work next week.

    I am an HR department of 1 and personally financially stable so I intend on staying put to help navigate this scenario for the employees and leadership. If my position eventually needs to go as well, I’ll be okay for a good while.

  25. Duck Duck Goose*

    I just reached out to a recruiter who was considering me for a couple different positions that I understand that the hiring process is probably being pushed, but I’m still very interested in moving forward, even if it’s weeks or months from now. I’m lucky that I’m in a fairly steady industry and am a highly-valued team member so I have the luxury of staying employed through all of this (for now) and can push my active job search until I need to.

  26. Cass*

    For whatever it’s worth, my employer (higher ed) and quite a few others in our city have put a hold on hiring except for “mission critical” positions.

  27. Mediamaven*

    My unsolicited advice is it truly depends on your industry but if you are in a stable job, at a stable company and well regarded, I would consider staying put for while. Things are so volatile right now. I had an employee leave us after just several months to go to a similar company that specializes in hospitality after being recruited. She relocated across the country. She just lost her job. Our layoffs will be minimal or non-existent. Tread slowly.

  28. CoveredInBees*

    I am a recruiter and would encourage you apply and follow up after things settle down, if the position is still posted. The company I work for is putting some position on very low priority such that they won’t hire for it unless the perfect candidate with an incredibly specific background falls into their laps. Other positions are needed to continue their day to day work.

    Be patient and flexible. Unless the application process requires a lot of work on your part, you have little to lose.

  29. Fikly*

    My company is very actively hiring/interviewing. And we remotely onboarded 4 people this Monday!

  30. Bonky*

    I work in tech, on the marketing and comms side. I made a hire on Monday; it’s likely the last I’ll make for a while. My organisation isn’t hurting, but we won’t be continuing with making the hires we’d planned for the rest of this year, at least in my department. It’s not a financial thing: it’s about the difficulty of onboarding while everybody’s remote, the difficulty of instilling cultural norms, and the fact that a lot of us are having to cut back on the amount we’re able to do because our children are at home.

  31. uhhhhhh*

    I’m in the awful position of being unemployed and not directly eligible for relief that has passed so far. As of two weeks ago in late stage process with several employers for the kind of role that could be done remotely if I was settled in the company, but is complicated to jump start and on-board for. It’s completely messed up everyone’s timelines and honestly they don’t know what to do. What was supposed to be a relatively short turn around has put everything in flux. I’m trying to roll with it, but it’s def made everything more complicated.

  32. Beth Jacobs*

    I started on the 2nd of March and am working from home since this Monday (I am in Prague, where significant restrictions are in place). It’s not ideal, but I’m not worried as my org’s financials are not impacted. For me, the worst part is working from home so early in the job. Since I haven’t proven myself, I am terrified my boss will think I’m slacking when I’m just slow since I’m learning the ropes. I wish I had more informal opportunities (water cooler, lunch) to pick my collegues’ brain. But then I realise how privileged I am and consider myself lucky. My heart goes out to the sick, the healthcare professionals caring for them and those finding themselves out of an income in this crisis.

  33. Kimmy Schmidt*

    My workplace is still hiring! We’ve moved interviews to online video calls and are talking about onboarding people remotely. And I work in academia, where things are notoriously slow and hard to change. There is hope!

  34. Clementine*

    The calculations for this are so difficult. For example, if you have a chance to move to an industry that is “benefiting” from this crisis, would it be better than staying at what has so far been a stable job in an industry that is severely affected? In previous times, I knew various people who would stay at a terrible job in hopes they were about to get a severance package. Sometimes it did work out, but who knows if you would get severance now that would make it worthwhile.

    1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      This is what I have been wondering. My field is unstable at the best of times, so should I be looking at entry level jobs in something like low level IT or health care administration that probably really needs people right now? Is it worth doing any training or qualifications for that?

      1. Clementine*

        I would be tempted to say yes, particularly if you think you’d enjoy the field. One thing that would concern me, of course, is spending money you might otherwise need, given the current circumstances.

  35. Eyeball*

    I’ve been preparing to make a move for months now — thanks, coronavirus! Luckily, I suspect demand for video and motion graphics work will be up soon as companies become more remote. I don’t know though. My job that I’m taking time off from right now (grocery clerk/chief apple tosser) is secure for sure, and if I don’t find something in the meantime then I will go back to it as soon as I feel like it’s safe. Right now, I just count myself lucky to have a partner who makes good money (as well as a chunk of cash that I had saved for the honeymoon I can no longer go on :( ).

  36. Frickin' Frack*

    Our company is service-based, the sort of service-based where all locations are shut down right now. We just got word we’ll ALL be taking (supposedly including VPs and CEO) a 20% pay cut starting next pay check (which, I already worked 2.75 days at my current pay rate before y’all told me sooo??). I did the math and that’s a balking $600 cut a month for me. If I cut my 401k contributions off completely I could regain $400 of that, but I really don’t know if that’s the best thing to do.

    Unfortunately I’m not yet done with my 1st year in this new role as an Admin of a CRM software and I’m only a Jr. But I’ve been the only admin for 500+ users for the past 6 months since my manager left.

    I have no idea if I’d have better luck elsewhere, if I should apply aggressively, if I should cut my 401k contributions off for now, or if this company will even stay afloat given the shut down. I’m scared, anxious, terrified, etc. I should be thankful to still have a job and salary even with the cut – I know so many are much less fortunate. But shit. I’m scared.

    1. Dan*

      If your retirement is more than a decade off and you can afford to keep making your 401k contributions, the smarter long term play is to keep making them and NOT stop. I’m actually talking to my finance guy about getting more more into the market at some point in the next couple of months.

      For reference: The Dow bottomed out around 6500 at the worst of the 2008 financial crisis. People who put money in then would have tripled it, even now. Back then, I wasn’t in a position to take advantage of the situation, so I lost out on some pretty big gains.

      1. Frickin' Frack*

        Yea, its more than a decade off. I’ve been doing research too and read about what you’re saying, that if we invest in 401k now while it’s low it’ll be worth it in the long run. I’e got 9% going in right now which isn’t the cap… I could go up to 15%. I just don’t know if I can afford to. I’m definitely going to look for other jobs but that 20% is a huge hit to me considering the debt payments I have every month. Blep.

        1. new job nerves*

          Maybe instead of putting the remaining 6% in your 401k, put it in a Vanguard account or something so that it’s still in the market, but no penalty if you have to withdraw it before retirement. (Of course the downside is it won’t be pre-tax and you’ll have to pay taxes on the gains…at some point.)

  37. RussianInTexas*

    Welp, Halliburton placed 3500 Houston employees on 60 days furlough today. Week on.week off schedule, no pay for the week off, but keeping benefits.

  38. Amethystmoon*

    It does depend on your industry too. For example, I work in an industry that’s been deemed vital — grocery supply chain. So even though my job is support, I can work from home. I would personally not change jobs without knowing how things are going to be in 6 months, especially if we’re looking at 20% unemployment.

  39. (Former) HR Expat*

    My industry is still hiring, but we are being cautious and waiting to see what is happening before we hire growth roles. Our industry is one where we tend to do more business when there are crises, but this feels different. I’m seeing a significant downturn in applicants over the last week, but we are still hiring.

  40. TeapotNinja*

    Apparently not given the number of recruiters pinging me with some variation of (paraphrased) “yea, it sucks right now, but make your life less sucky by joining our team.”

    Definite uptick from what have been seeing.

    Obviously depends on industry. Can’t imagine travel, food and hospitality industries hiring at all right now.

  41. windsofwinter*

    I work at a hotel. I am just waiting to be laid off. Job searching like crazy and hoping something sticks. It’s a fun time.

  42. #WearAllTheHats*

    I am hiring for a minimum of 7 roles right now in our “smartly scaling” agency. One of those isn’t available until May when they graduate. The others…? I’m having very transparent conversations saying, “We want to make you an offer. However, we want to ensure we can onboard you and work face-to-face because of how close-knit our team works. How about we ride this out, knowing that we don’t expect you to put your life on hold for us? This way you keep your current income stream and we can stay in contact with you knowing we’d love to work with you when this thing turns?” We had a new employee move here alone for her first adult job away from family, etc…. and then after 1 week we’re now 100% remote. I think she can weather the storm. It’s important for employers (and candidates!) to be more transparent than usual. I think it’s an opportunity for organizations to learn how to have hard conversations in order to attract the best people. Even conversations with some of my freelancers like, “We are fully remote, so the number of executed checks we have are fewer. Can we set up direct deposit so we can pay you faster?” That’s going such a long way. <3

  43. MsSolo*

    I’m going on maternity leave at the end of May, probably for 9 months (in the UK, but can’t afford to take the full year rn), and with two of my colleagues facing the loss of productivity of having kids at home potentially until September my employer can’t afford not to hire someone to cover me. It’s going to make training someone almost impossible, which is a pain, but I bet we see a lot more interest than we would normally for our job on charity-sector pay!

  44. Put the Human back in HR*

    One thing to consider is eligibility for family medical leave. You’ll have to start over as a new employee and work enough hours to qualify. Also, in most cases, you would need to accrue benefit time for paid leave(s). If you qualify you could take unpaid time, but that would stink.

  45. Jellybean*

    I left my job in late January and wasn’t able to start at the new one – it was prompty cancelled prior to start as it supporting (non-essential) recreation therapy for seniors in acute hospital care aka “the highest of high risk”.

    I’m going to have a minimum six-month gap now (if we’re lucky).

    I guess some of us are going to have to say the “C” word on our cover letters to explain gaps, who knows. Maybe it will be an unspoken understanding.

  46. Moose on skates*

    I started interviewing for my new job back in January, when news of ths virus was hard to hear consistently (at least where I’m located). I went through the interview process and got an offer mid-February. Started remotely on Monday. While I’m terrified of layoffs in general, I feel less worried than I think I would have been if I had stayed in my old role – where I’ve heard that clients are calling to see if they can pay late, and they have “indefinitely” suspended merit pay raises. The support from this company has been incredible so far, which does help a bit of the anxiety around potentially being first hired/first laid off.

  47. Laura*

    My husband and I have been planning a reasonably long-distance move for almost a year. We both handed our notices in before this all kicked off, and now I’m unemployed and he’s got two and a half more weeks to work – neither of us have anything concrete lined up for afterwards. Our lease is up in the first week of April, so we’re moving then whether we’ve got anything to move to or not.

    It’s adding a whole layer of anxiety to a situation that is more than worrying enough already. I don’t suppose this is helpful to the letter writer, but I guess I’d err on the side of not leaving a job unless it’s for something with a lot more stability.

    1. King Friday XIII*

      Good luck! I remember how nerve-wracking it was when my spouse and I quit our jobs for a cross-country move sans pandemic.

  48. Rianwyn*

    Glad to read this thread. I have been interviewing, and had a live interview trip cancelled (I would have left home Saturday, spent the weekend in the area, then had in-person interviews all day Monday before returning).
    That was cancelled with video interviews scheduled all day, instead.
    I got a call from the hiring manager last night that they pulled an offer package together for me…. and then the whole company froze all hiring. He wasn’t sure if it would be 2 weeks…. 2 months…. 2 quarters?

    I guess we will need to wait and see.

  49. Kes*

    I would be inclined to say, feel free to start looking around at what has been posted, to get a sense of what’s out there, but maybe be a little more cautious in moving unless you are going from a less stable/more impacted field to a “safer” one at the moment or you absolutely need to move. Everything is moving very quickly and I think a lot of hiring is being delayed or paused as employers struggle to just reestablish norms as things are shifting and in many cases they are moving to a new setup of being completely remote.
    I think certain sectors will bounce back to normal pretty quickly once this passes and immediately recommence with their hiring; others more directly affected may take longer due to supply disruptions and losses of revenue from the current period.

  50. Jonah*

    I work in the corporate office a restaurant chain, and we all got laid off today. Luckily I’d already been applying because I could sense it coming, and I cleaned out my office before I started wfh. The people who own it are going to try to run 28 restaurants without corporate support. They even let payroll go, so not sure how that’s going to happen.

    I’m only applying to more stable industries right now. Utilities, home goods, TV, things that people still need, regardless of the insanity that’s happening outside. The only noticeable change here is that a lot of places are only doing phone/video interviews now.

    1. Diahann Carroll*

      What the hell? Your former employer is going to seriously regret that move – I wouldn’t be remotely surprised if they end up contacting you all and asking you back within a month. They can’t do everything themselves. It’s either they bring you guys back, or they close the restaurants altogether.

  51. Half April Ludgate, Half Leslie Knope*

    I was contacted by a recruiter in a city with a “shelter in place” status, and I have a first call with them next week. I’m not extremely serious about the opportunity – obviously this would be the worst time EVER to move, especially to a place with a terrible outbreak, but it’ll be interesting to see how they do this. I’m wondering if they’ll just press pause, which would honestly make the role a better fit for me.

    1. Clementine*

      If it doesn’t require a physical presence, they’ll probably offer the job to you as a remote worker while all of this is happening, and then set a new date for a move.

  52. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

    My division (fundraising at a university) had just received budget approval to hire 5 new positions (3 replacements and 2 additions), but I just learned today those are on hold indefinitely. The replacement fills will probably go through at some point, maybe in the fall, but there’s a strong chance the new positions will be cancelled to fill the budget shortfall from everything going on this semester.

  53. whocanpickone*

    I’m so glad this was posted. I am in the middle of trying to decide whether to take on a new role or not. 3 weeks ago, I felt certain that I would accept. Today, not so much. My current job is WFH and the new job has travel, not ideal in the current situation.

    I don’t want to close the door for a future possibility, but I think I need to have an honest conversation about the impact this pandemic is having on the company. It’s incredibly stressful.

  54. KG*

    I’m dealing with this right now; I started job hunting months before all this happened and am finally interviewing tomorrow. It was supposed to be an in-person interview but got moved to a video interview. I feel like I really need to get a sense of the people I’m working with and the office to be comfortable accepting a job, but I don’t see that happening any time soon… I also am not sure how onboarding would work right now either (go home and read these documents!) However, I’ve been unhappy in my current job for a while, so still want to take steps to moving on. Would love to hear others’ experiences…

    1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

      I’m in a similar boat as you (started job searching several months ago, in the process for a couple of jobs). My work has been through partial virtual offices for the past several years, so I’ve learned to pick-up cues/read people via video calls fairly well.

      Plus, I’m in the process of on-boarding a new colleague remotely and I think it’s going okay. Though I’m only partly responsible for their on-boarding, my impression is that I’ve done the most to help them settle in. We have regular check-ins to go over specific elements of their role and work, with an open door policy to discuss anything (we use an internal chat/video call platform, which makes it easy for us to communicate in real-time).

    2. Tidewater 4-1009*

      I think if the new job seems to be stable and better than your old one, you can go ahead. Unless it’s in a hard-hit industry like entertainment or hospitality, then I’d hold off.

  55. Lies, damn lies and...*

    I had video interviews with two companies this week. One is decidedly moving forward with interviews (virtual) at this point, the other told me that they have no idea so things might be slower than usual and they have no estimated start dates. I am employed currently but have been low-key looking for a while and don’t really know what to do right now, anticipating big economy issues.

  56. LDP*

    I just got laid off from my job today, and I’m so worried about being able to find something else given the current state of affairs. My old company said they’d hire me back as soon as things settle down, but I’m nervous that things may not stabilize for months. I’ve worked there less than two months, so my resume looks like a total mess. I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do.

    1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

      If that’s your only short-term job, I don’t think that would make your resume a mess at all.

  57. GrumpyNurse*

    The point about knowing your field is SUPER relevant. I’m in healthcare (currently, I’m at home, as I’m in the “when the ED and inpatient staff go down, you’re coming in” group), and there is a MASSIVE hiring boom. My hospital is actively training employees who otherwise would be WFH or just straight up furloughed in the basics of patient care. Local colleges are actively changing curricula in medical and nursing schools in order to crank graduates out and get them working sooner rather than later. Before all this happened, I had gotten an offer for a job at a different local hospital. These plans have – temporarily – been shelved as the new-to-me hospital would either toss me straight into the fray, slot me similarly to how my current hospital has, or simply schedule a start date TBD “once it’s over.” So, if you’re in healthcare? Super easy to get a job if you have something even vaguely approaching qualifications – but at the same time, I’d think very carefully about what you are, and are not, willing to do.

  58. Employment Lawyer*

    1. We have to send three updates a day while working from home
    I don’t actually hate the concept.

    Normally, you do what you do, but you have constant interactions which allow you to reset, adjust, and tweak your work to be more efficient. Remote tends to remove those interconnections and make those things more difficult.

    It’s always possible that an on-premises employee will accidentally go marching down the wrong path, but it’s a lot more likely if everyone is remote.

    I like the AM “tell me what you plan to be working on today” notice; that’s good planning. I don’t really like the mid-day checkins, but I can easily see that they would be needed if your worplace is one where everyone REALLY needs to be on the same path.

    1. LabTechNoMore*

      I’d argue that a big part of the problem is the rigid, formal structure surrounding the tri-daily checkins. Sending an employee an IM saying “What’re you up to today?” would be miles better, especially if there’s flexibility to allow for not interrupting the employee’s flow for the sake of excessive check-in lists.

  59. Minocho*

    I can tell you that our company is freezing all hiring activity during this time, to avoid increasing risk of infection.

  60. Claudia*

    In November, I left a job because of a mean, toxic, and inept manager. It took me a while to find a job – two months or so, but I started my new job the first week of February.
    I just heard that Tuesday of last week, the CEO laid off my entire former team and the entirety of a different team. Apparently he went to great lengths to explain that it was NOT a financial decision, but the company was restructuring, and there wasn’t room in the structure for these two teams. He made the decision to restructure when the virus was starting to take hold, but he said he didn’t take it seriously then. So he cut everyone loose over a week ago.
    I live in San Francisco and now is a terrible time to be job hunting. I guess the only bright side is it’s a totally reasonable time to cut back on going out to restaurants and bars since they’re all closed for the foreseeable future.

  61. crazy dog lady*

    I am job switching…I start my new job Monday, but remotely because the school district is closed for an extended spring break. My new boss made sure to reach out to me and let me know I was still starting as scheduled but I’d be WFH, which is what I am doing at my current employer anyway. She said there was some training she’d be providing, plus all the new employee orientation stuff.
    My current boss also said I could come back if anything happened so it’s nice to have that security too.

  62. LabTechNoMore*

    I’ve still been getting interviews and callbacks, but have been completely tanking the technical screens left right and center. The other day I couldn’t seem to figure out how to index my loop correctly. Twice. For a Full Stack Developer role. I’m sure they’re just frothing at the mouth to hire a programmer that seemingly can’t code, especially with all the layoffs giving an influx of new candidates.

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