can you even job search right now?

Job hunting can be difficult at the best of times. It’s absolutely dismal right now. With layoffs climbing into the millions, workers are being abandoned into an economy where, in many fields, it feels impossible to find a job anytime soon.

There’s never been a more depressing time to be a work advice columnist. Today at Slate I wrote about what I’m seeing in my inbox — and what people can do.

You can read it here.

{ 120 comments… read them below }

  1. Anon Anon*

    The whole situation is so horribly uncertain now. There are at least 10 million people who have lost their jobs (and I expect in the unemployment claims this week we’ll see at least another 5-10 million who have put in claims), and we have no idea what percentage of those people will get their jobs back at the end of this.

    And there are industries that from the outside would appear to be stable (healthcare, etc.) that really are not, and who’s long-term prospects are deeply concerning.

    On the other hand, I do think this is going to be a period of great reflection, and that there are going to be many people who make take that chance on a new business venture or change careers, simply because there is the recognition that life is short and it’s too short to be stuck in a job you don’t like.

    1. Jedi Squirrel*

      life is short and it’s too short to be stuck in a job you don’t like

      Plus, we are finding out which employers have been really shitty during this period. Workers are going to demand‒and get‒better treatment after this.

      1. Anon Anon*

        I think those of us who lived through the great recession and saw how companies treated their employees over time will be less generous this go around. During the great recession I watched employers cut benefits, laid off staff, and in some cases required paycuts. Many of those things were never restored. I’ve learned my lesson. The philosophy of an organization can’t be “we’re all in this together” when they need help, but “you are on your own” when their employees need help.

      2. Lady Jay*

        I don’t know. I had hopes at the beginning of this (say, mid-March) that while the pandemic itself would be bad, the world we made after would be better – higher wages, stronger safety net, etc.

        But now, I don’t really believe that: everything we’re seeing in terms of social/governmental responses tends towards more of the same – more tax cuts for the wealthy, limited & un-useful handouts for those who are legitimately in need, support systems which don’t actually work (filing for unemployment). Sadly, I think the pandemic is more likely to entrench our current system and deepen inequities, than the reverse.

        1. anon4this*

          Maybe. But this is also an election year, and one year I doubt many will ever forgot.
          The powers that be currently creating tax cuts for wealthy, and unhelpful handouts might be out for good after the election.

          1. Lady Jay*

            Yeah, the thing is, I’m not convinced we’ll have a fair election – or even any election; or that if we DO have an election, power will actually change over. :shrugs:

            (I didn’t used to buy into the hype about no-election-in-November. That was before the virus, though.)

        2. Gatomon*

          I do think we will get there, but it will be a long term thing. Like anon4this said, we’re not likely to forget the lack of action next time we vote, plus I think almost all of us have memories from the Great Recession.

          First we need to vote in people who view things differently, and then we have to wait for laws to be passed, regulations to be written and implemented. It’s going to be a while, but that’s how our system was designed, for better or worse.

    2. The Original K.*

      I’m sure the unemployment numbers are higher than we know. We know people aren’t able to get through to have their claims processed because millions are jamming the lines and websites, and layoffs are still coming – someone I’m close to was just laid off last week.

    3. MissGirl*

      After the recession and the toll it took on my livelihood, I did some major reflecting. When the market started to settle, I quit my full time job and went back to school for a more lucrative career. Goodbye publishing.

      I got a great job after school but still kept my side hustles to pay off my student loans early. I watched other students who were younger and missed the recession use student loan money or not pay as much on their principle to travel. I was far too skittish for that. One guy was literally using his student loans to invest in stocks.

      People kept talking about a 2020 recession so I built up an emergency fund and have been paying 3xs on my car loan. I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m better off than I was five years ago.

      My heart feels for those starting out. Launching a career is going to be so much tougher now. I still feel behind from my reset. Not to mention how out of control tuition is.

      All I can say is look forward and not back on how things should’ve turned out. Let go of the ideal or the dream and focus on what you can do. I miss my old career but I have no regrets, especially now, of leaving it behind.

    4. Nervous Nellie*

      Good points, Anon Anon. Although, as an unemployed person panicking about the dramatic & immediate end to new job listings, and being one of the folks quoted in Alison’s article, I would tell you I would really love right now to be stuck in a job I don’t like. There would be money coming in that would finance an exit later on. That said, I have been in those jobs and I know that restless pain, and I wouldn’t want anyone today to feel guilty about having a horrible job and hating it. We all have legit pain over this.

      And yes – there are indeed industries that are quietly unstable. I & many in my department were laid off mid-Dec from a large & profitable financial institution that by all accounts as an essential service should not have been so volatile. But….a higher up admitted that to me that the company feared a recession and wanted to build their reserves instead of frittering it away on manpower (and I quote). Oh, for a life raft! Many of us who change careers will do so because we will not have a choice.

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        It’s a shame they didn’t think to build their reserves before a disaster struck, smh.

  2. Jedi Squirrel*

    I’m putting my resume out there. This event will shake up the economy for sure, and I think I’ll end up with a job far different than what I have now‒thank goodness.

    I really do believe a lot of job types will go away, but a lot of new job types will come into play, as well. This event is going to reshape our economy.

    1. Sally*

      I got laid off yesterday (along with >50% of my colleagues), and I started job searching right away. I’m a software trainer/technical writer, and it’s often the case that companies decide they can do without training when they need to make cuts. I didn’t lose my job during the great recession, but it was uncertain for a while, and our current situation has made me think: What skills can I add to my arsenal so I can pivot to a type of role that’s considered more essential? I’m giving that a lot of thought right now.

  3. AndersonDarling*

    I’m an analyst and I have never had so many recruiters trying to contact me. In my case, the jobs aren’t a good match, but I think many people have stopped searching so the recruiters have become more persistent and are casting a wider net. I just wanted to give some hope to everyone that there are still jobs to be filled!

    1. The Original K.*

      A recruiter just reached out to me today, for something I’m actually interested in – I’m going to try to speak with her!

    2. cleo*

      I’ve been getting recruiter interest too. I’m a contractor in web design / user experience. Most of them haven’t been very good fits and feel a little scatter-shot but it’s nice to asked.

  4. LDN Layabout*

    I’m applying for a civil service job (hopefully moving from another public body). I’m lucky in that my job is safe, but I’d feel bad about leaving at this time.

    Luckily those hiring are likely to understand and work around that. I would not to be looking to move anywhere within the private sector currently. A friend was down to the final two for a what would have been a big move up and she was told all hiring was on hold, this was at a big multi-national at management level, so not even a struggling company or industry.

  5. Crabby PM*

    On the flip side, I’ve been head-hunted by Google, Facebook, and Amazon. I don’t live in a city where they have offices, so not only are they headhunting, they also seem to have the expectation that people will readily move during a pandemic. (Oh, and they’re also *not* paying for relocation.)

    1. Audiophile*

      I know someone who got Amazon to cover their relocation but that was pre-COVID.

      All three of those companies could definitely afford to pay for relocation expenses for new employees.

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        All three of those companies can afford to let Crabby PM work from home full time so the relocation costs won’t even be an issue.

        1. Audiophile*

          That too! Though I can understand they may want the person to relocate to the new state and then allow them to work from home from there.

    2. Anonymous Right Now*

      I was head-hunted by a famous game company and was about to say yes even though the money was tight for two people, because I had wanted to move closer to home, but if I leave my current country I won’t be able to go back in case the job doesn’t work out, as they have just banned foreign residents from re-entering, but my spouse still has a (better-paying, but contract only) job here and can’t just go with me before I even know I will like this new job.

      I’m afraid I’ll have to turn them down, or they will revoke the offer because I am waffling on a decision. This sucks so much.

      1. Anonymous Right Now*

        Also, they refuse to let me work remotely, and even say some of their current employees are in the office as usual.

  6. Green*

    There are a lot of organizations still hiring and going full steam ahead, but the tables are already tilting against the jobseeker. Look for: fully funded start-ups with a strong product (with recently closed funding rounds — they’re just burning now anyway and not expecting revenue yet), essential businesses, industries that provide goods that people need no matter what (pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, food), and the supply chain and core service providers for those essential businesses.

    1. Phantom*

      I’ll echo the fully funded start up suggestion. I just got a job offer from a start up that recently closed its Series C funding round, although that fact has not yet been announced. They are no longer planning on bringing on as many new people as they thought they’d be bringing on at the beginning of the year, but they are definitely still hiring.

      1. Nina*

        Yeah people still have needs and are hiring for those as normal. They may not be hiring ambitiously, or hiring for new projects, but they are hiring if they already planned to do so

  7. SaffyTaffy*

    Well, my Library is looking for 4 people right now, as we speak. And our temp just left for a full-time position in a research field. So it’s happening.

  8. Dr Useless*

    I’ve had two employers contact me today (!) asking if I can interview tomorrow (!). One of them has yet to tell me what tool they will be using, and that’s the one in the morning! And there I thought the employer a month ago who asked me to interview two days in advance gave short notice. They’ve all emphasized that they’re able to accommodate me if it doesn’t work for me, so that’s something, but to me it seems like an indicator that this is badly messing with internal procedures.

    …of course it turns out I’m way more excited about the job I only just applied for last week, where it might still be a while until I hear anything.

  9. Amber Rose*

    My boss says I’m not on the layoffs list because I’m essential staff, so for better or worse I’m going down with this ship. I’m terrified that if the company goes out of business I’ll be job searching though. I don’t have the bandwidth for a job search on top of everything else. All I managed to accomplish this entire weekend was sitting on the couch playing a game on my computer.

    At least my Stardew Valley farm is thriving.

  10. Rando 2*

    I’m very lucky in that I can work from home, my job is stable and the company flat out says they aren’t cutting anyone. But at the same time I’ve been unhappy for a long time and started to do applications before this mess. I’ve continued to apply but its so weird trying to sell myself on a cover letter against the reality that people are losing their jobs and lives en masse.

    All the companies I’ve applied to are household names with tons of applicants so I really don’t expect anything- both because of the virus and because I’m trying to branch out into a new area.

    I know I’m lucky, but unhappy and that definitely makes me guilty sometimes.

    1. I'm A Little Teapot*

      Same here – been unhappy, started applying right before this mess. I’m stable, and my job is secure. My field is also one with limited numbers of people and it has been tight. Unless the need contracts a LOT, its going to stay tight. So for me, it’s more finding the right fit, and it’ll just take longer. But it feels very weird to know that I am ok, I will be ok, and so many others are really not ok.

    2. Sunflower*

      I’m in the same boat as you. I’m working from home and my job said they aren’t cutting people but I’m miserable. I’ve been unhappy for a while and had just finished up a big project before the pandemic that was my “make it until then and you can leave” moment I had promised myself. Every day when I logged off at work, I’d tell myself it was OK to be miserable and cut myself slack about not giving 100% because there were other jobs and light was out there and I’d be out of here soon. And now, my field isn’t hiring and no one really knows how long or what the impact will be.

      I feel the same as you- lucky but unhappy and feeling guilty. I’ve been trying to remind myself that balance is more important now than ever- don’t get stuck in a downward, negative spiral but also allow myself to feel what I feel and be OK with not looking on the bright side.

    3. ShrimpsAndPrimeRib*

      Hi – also in the same boat. Very grateful to my company and how they’ve handed all of this. We’re all WFH and no one’s job appears to be in jeopardy. We’re so very fortunate. BUT…I was hoping to leave the company this spring. My career has gone as far as it can go here and I’m stalling. But the job market is all over the place so job searching is even harder than it was before. I think I might see another Christmas as this company and while I’m SO SO grateful for stable employment right now….I’m also SO SO ready to move on from this company and move my career forward. Plus I graduated into the aftermath of the 2008 recession. It feels like I’m always chasing something just to have it snatched when I get close.

    4. Onyx*

      Same boat over here, I felt like I was reading my journal entry when I saw your post. 4 years at the same company, stable job, historically steady organization, decent boss, ability to work from home during these times… and yet. I’m so bored. I have been applying sporadically to jobs that seem intriguing and talking with recruiters but not in a rush.

      I feel so guilty doing phone interviews when I know my competition could be someone out of work, where getting this role could mean the difference between making rent next month or not. I also fear the old adage “last one in, first one out” so I wonder if a career move would be wise at this point.

    5. Sunset Maple*

      Hard same.

      Stable job at a private company that’s good at planning ahead, but with major misogyny that plays out in salary. In January, a colleague with comparable experience got an offer elsewhere with an 80% raise.

      I know I should just enjoy the stability for now, but not making market rate while all the white men print money has been eating a hole in my gut.

      1. ShrimpsAndPrimeRib*

        I asked for 10% at my annual review. My grand boss had this slight look of shock on his face. I still don’t think he realized I saw it. Said 4% was the most anyone was getting. (I should have asked for more than 10% but I was being reasonable and I’d done my research. Not that any of it matter to him.) *That* was what kicked off my job search in earnest. It’s depressing to think that I’m still here and may continue being here longer than I planned because of this. It’s not a good feeling. Especially when a know a proper leap could easily get me 30-40% more under “normal” circumstances.

  11. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

    NYS Dept of Labor here … The people I’m calling to do virtual appointments are surprisingly upbeat (once they’ve got their claim through, which is grueling with the capacity issues). I’ve had several people get jobs, and they’re starting their training period virtually.
    Other folks have an opportunity to do some solid networking (now that many of their contacts are working from home, it’s easier to have informational interviews).

    All I can say is USE THIS TIME WISELY. Get that resume shined up, use LinkedIn well, and don’t let the emails languish in the inbox. Take some virtual classes, or check out instructional stuff on YouTube or wherever. Do your self-care for sure, but this is an important box to check off during your daily routine. Folks who let things slide will have a harder time fighting inertia once things speed up again. Recruiters and businesses are changing processes substantially, and may be more flexible in their thinking about how they do things as they see what it’s like to work virtually day to day. Be ready to take that call.

    1. Jedi Squirrel*


      These are tough times. Give yourself something to look forward to, folks!

    2. Potatoes gonna potate*

      Fellow NY-er here who’s applied for unemployment.

      I won’t bombard you with questions – but thank you for sharing this. Trying to be hopeful and any bit of positivity helps.

  12. calicocat*

    My team was on the verge of offering a job to a great candidate who has gone through a long hiring process with our company (which is unfortunately normal for this company). She was so close–and then our CEO announced a hiring freeze. We fought to get her hired anyway because we could onboard her remotely with no problems, but HR told us no.

    I’m so sorry for anyone facing this–know that the team who wanted you might still be fighting for you. We hope to hire this person asap, if she’s still available and interested, as soon as the freeze is lifted–but of course no one knows when that is.

  13. Handful of Bees*

    So I was unemployed and looking before this hit. I have some money from an inheritance. Right now, I’m wondering if my best plan would be to throw out all expectations of having a day job in the next few years, buy land, and set up a small farm. I’ve wanted to do this for years, and my expectation was always that I’d have a day job to support the farm. But now, knowing that regular food supply chains might be an issue, locally grown food will probably become more important, and I probably won’t have a job anyway, if this might be the best option.

    1. Ghost of a Ghost*

      Last year I moved out of the city and bought land, starting a farm. I just gotta say, make sure you have the funds to do it as it’s not cheap. Plus there’s a bunch of people with the same idea, so prices are going up. I got a bunch of chicks a couple of months ago at $0.80ish each, and now they’re going for $3.00 or more. And I don’t even want to look at other livestock prices. Plus, the garden won’t be producing food for a few more months, so I’m still having to buy everything. In the long run it’s a great idea, though we’ll see how it goes. Best of luck if you go this route, just remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint. There will always be more equipment to buy, more things to repair, more work to be done.

      1. Handful of Bees*

        Yeah I’ve heard that chicks have been selling out from many ag stores. I’m glad people are taking the time to think about home food production, I’m a big fan. I live in suburbia right now with very poor soil, so right now I just work with some small raised beds. Also waiting out the last frost dates. Definitely no fun right now when there’s not much to do without livestock.

    2. Jedi Squirrel*

      I have not heard that food supply chains are having any issues, or are going to have issues, so I’d like to hear more about this.

      That said, your best bet may be to buy a house with enough land to have a really big garden and a few laying hens (if eggs are your things‒a cake made with freshly laid eggs cannot be topped), and support your local farmers by buying meat from them. Where I live, you can buy a half of beef fairly cheap from the farmer who bred, raised, and butchered it.

      1. MsSolo*

        Most western countries’ food supply chains are dependent on migrant workers. We’re coming up to planting season (in the UK, anyway – I don’t know what the US seasons are) and a lot of farmers are getting worried that they just don’t have the labour they usually do. There’s a lot of workers out there who need jobs, but you can’t take a former marketing executive and stick ’em in a field and expect the same level of productivity.

        Overall, I don’t think we need to be worried about mass famine or anything, but some reorganisation will be required to ensure essentials keep flowing, and we’re more likely to see things processed for longer shelf life (tinned, dried, etc) so distribution can remain even. There will be less of some fresh products, they may come and go from the shelves more than we are used to, and they’re probably going to be more expensive (said former marketing executive is likely to be more aware of their rights in terms of breaks and pay than a lot of the migrant workers get the opportunity to be).

    3. SaffyTaffy*

      As someone who grew up on a farm and went to a college that grew all its own food: be prepared for this to be your every waking moment. That’s just how farming works. You’re outside all day, and when you’re inside you’re still thinking about it.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Adding, when you are inside you are repairing all the things you brought into the house or garage that need repair.
        It’s very hard work and it demands that you know plants, animals, mechanics, weather, physics, math, finance, carpentry, the list is endless. There are reasons why farmers are so tanned and so tired.

  14. EddieSherbert*

    One of my very good friends is in one of the situations used as an example in the article – had a few weeks between leaving one job and starting the next job… COVID19 really hit the US and job offer was rescinded. It sucks, but sounds like it happened to a good amount of people/companies. :/

  15. AvonLady Barksdale*

    I got an email today from an organization I was supposed to interview with a month ago. The morning of my interview, their business took a huge hit and they cancelled– completely understandable– and now hiring is on hold. I understand but I am pretty disappointed. For the moment I have a job, but furloughs/layoffs are coming and I have no idea if I’m on the chopping block. I did have a phone screen last week for a huge corporation and I answered some follow-up questions but so far nothing back. I am trying really hard to stick to my search, even if it means hitting the “Easy Apply” button on LinkedIn. So on one hand it’s promising, but on the other it’s pretty tough.

  16. anonforthis*

    I am a contractor in a pie-in-the-sky field (there are usually fewer than 10 positions per year in the U.S., and openings are almost all around the beginning of the year), so nothing’s happening out there for me anyway. All I can do is be grateful that I’m employed for now (adjacent to IT, so WFM is doable) and hope everything blows over in time for next year. In the meantime, thinking of everyone out there who is having a hard time of it.

  17. Potatoes gonna potate*

    I can relate to the second letter posted – it took me 5+ years to finally get on my feet and I feel like I’m in a really sh*tty place now.

    My company put me in the 1st round of layoffs because I was pregnant and that puts me SOL out of searching for another job now. I lost my paid maternity leave which I was counting on. I’m still looking but trying to be realistic. Every day feels like time wasted. I’m due in August, even if I take the bare minimum off, I’m not sure how we’ll manage bills and groceries etc.

    Everyone reassures me “oh but there’s unemployment” but 1) I can’t be on UE forever, and 2) until I get the $$ I’m skeptical (every time I’ve applied I’ve had rotten luck with employers dragging their feet and blocking it for me). I was planning to take 4 months off to bond with baby, but given financial situation, that might not be possible and I will have to go back to work much more quickly. I hate that my previous company put me in this position.

    1. Jedi Squirrel*

      Alison, isn’t laying someone off first because they’re pregnant illegal in the US?

      1. Niktike*

        Only if they actually say it’s because you’re pregnant. There are any number of reasons that they can give for why they laid off a pregnant person as part of a mass layoff.

      2. Potatoes gonna potate*

        It 100% is but I have no way of proving it. They just said it was a layoff. The person who took over my role had been reporting to me but after 6 years there, I know how the decision makers who made this decision think and operate (not family friendly at all).

    2. Jedi Squirrel*

      Also, I’m really sorry this happened to you. This is just terrible. I’m hoping things work out for you. Please keep us updated. We’ll be thinking about you.

      1. Potatoes gonna potate*

        Thank you. I’m trying to move forward and not wallow — I’m channeling my energy into looking for jobs. I’m staying quiet for fear of burning a bridge because I can come across any of these people at any other job in the future. I had many good coworkers and memories from there but the person who made that decision is not a good human (for many reasons, as I’ve known them for 6+ years, not just this). I wish the good people well, but I hope they get out ASAP b/c neither deserves the other.

        1. Jedi Squirrel*

          You’re welcome. It’s difficult not to wallow, sometimes, but yeah, I think you’ve got a good game plan.

          Lots of shoulders here to lean on if you need them.

  18. Ginger*

    There are lots of online courses that are free (some always free, some free right now). The Salesforce Trailhead platform is good one. The certification exams have fees I believe but the courses are always no cost.

  19. Case of the Mondays*

    I may just be too optimistic of a person but I truly believe this is a just a brief nasty bump in the economy. Things were going so well before. People are being laid off due to the Stay at Home orders. Once those lift, most of those industries will have MORE work catching up on what couldn’t be done during the Stay at Home. People will be getting non-emergency medical procedures again, people will be shopping again, they will be traveling again. Lawsuits that were put on hold will be back up and going. Everyone is going to need a haircut. People will return to their chiropractor or massage therapist. Kids will be back in daycares.

    1. Anon Anon*

      I hope you are right. I think part of why this situation is so scary is that it’s completely unknown and doesn’t follow any typical pattern we’ve seen in the past.

      However, I do try and keep in mind that after the 1918/1919 Spanish Flu pandemic, that there was the roaring 20’s. So I think it’s possible that that the economy bounces back. I just don’t think it’s probable. We will see though.

    2. Jedi Squirrel*

      One of our local salons had a sign last year that said “We fix the haircut your mom gave you.”

      I think a lot of people are going to be going out for a haircut.

      1. The Original K.*

        I need my hair trimmed SO BADLY. It’s been a real struggle not to start snipping. I’m wearing it in pinned-up styles (buns, two French or Dutch braids with the ends pinned up) to hide my ends.

      2. Amy Sly*

        Yeah. It’s super hard to predict — if the orders lifted right now, the pent-up demand surge would probably be good enough to keep companies from going out of business and they’d be able to bring back lots of the furloughed people. If it’s another month or two, a lot of furloughed people won’t have jobs to come back to, and it won’t matter how desperately they want to eat out or get a haircut; they just won’t be able to afford to.

        1. Case of the Mondays*

          I thought the enhanced unemployment benefit is going to cover those months. It’s what you normally would get plus another $600 per week. That’s a lot!

        2. Jedi Squirrel*

          If the orders were lifted right now, a whole lot more people would die. And dead people don’t buy your product.

          That aside, yes if the government can get these emergency funds out there quickly enough, it should be enough to keep businesses operating.

    3. That Girl from Quinn's House*

      Things weren’t going so well, though. A lot of the job creation we were seeing in the last few years was minimum wage (or adjacent) service sector or warehouse work, with no regular schedule, no benefits, and no ability to call out sick (even unpaid.)

      The stable middle class jobs are gone, and they’re not coming back.

    4. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Part of me is hopeful with you. In my business, we have a lot of contracts that call for a number of projects– Company A wants to do 10 llama projects and 5 horse projects by the end of the year, that kind of thing. They can schedule at any time and while they get special pricing, they don’t pay upfront– they’re billed per project. And they’re all on hold right now. So while they may ask for extensions, we have no reason to believe they will try to cancel their contracts altogether. This means that when things are up and running, we will be CRAZY busy trying to get everything done in a very short time frame.

      At the moment, though, it doesn’t help much because I still have expenses and there’s no money coming in. I’m not trying to argue your point or tell you you’re wrong, not at all– I just think we are dealing with a very scary Right Now and it’s tough to hang on to the What Will Probably Happen.

      1. Case of the Mondays*

        I’m hoping the SBA loans that will be forgiven will cover these cash flow issues. I’m worried the program won’t have enough money for every business that needs it though.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      I remain optimistic also.
      Around me I see people who are comfortable in their finances, pouring money and resources into their local communities. Never underestimate how generous people can be.

      I also see some efficiencies developing that we did not tap previously.

      I am sort of envisioning a huge flow of business/work initially when we restart here. People will need to catch up- there hair cut example is a great one but there are many more.

      I might change my thoughts in a bit, but for now it helps me get up in the morning and go about my day. So I am latching on to this optimism and using it.

  20. Jubilance*

    This is just my experience – in my industry hiring is happening. I was contacted by 2 recruiters and I had a few interviews for data analyst positions I applied for. I decided not to pursue them, but the companies I talked to were using technology for video interviews and planned to do virtual onboarding/work from home for whoever was hired.

  21. Alex*

    Not sure health care really is hiring–I keep seeing reports in my area of layoffs and paycuts for workers in hospitals.

    1. Anon Anon*

      I don’t think there is much hiring, at least not long term hiring. Sure some physicians and nurses have moved over into the in-patient and critical care spaces as there is urgent need right now. But, because elective procedures have been canceled in most states all those out patient surgical centers are closed. Primary care practices see their patient loads way down. And any uptick in acute care related hiring is temporary. Hospitals are losing millions in revenue from elective procedures being canceled.

    2. Suz*

      I think it depends on which branch of medicine you’re in. I work in oncology and our patients can’t postpone their treatments. We just onboarded 2 new people last week and still have several open positions we are trying to fill.

  22. TechGalLookingForward*

    COVID seemingly has ruined my job searching prospects. I’m graduating in June and looking for a job in software engineering, which the people around me keep saying is “recession proof”, but then I have a couple of LinkedIn contacts who objectively have much better resumes than me, and are not getting callback (I have one who said they applied to over 200 jobs with nothing back!!).

    I had an interview riiiight before COVID hit that I kind of blew (first interview ever for a real job, and got nervous at the technical portion), and now all I can think of is what if that was my one chance for a job, and what if I’ve blown it for years to come. :/

    1. Janey-Jane*

      200 jobs in the last 3-4 weeks? In that case, it’s too short of a time to say for sure, especially with everything just starting to hit some sort of “new normal”. Heck, they could hear back from 20 this week. 200 jobs in the last 3 months? That sounds more like a resume issue.

    2. ACDC*

      I work in the software industry and I think I would push back on this a little bit, to at least give a different perspective. My company is very stable and is not doing any layoffs or paycuts (at least for now), but they definitely have a hiring freeze until things return to a normal state of business. That doesn’t mean they are being blasted by a recession, just that they are being cautious about bringing on new people and the expenses associated with that until they know what is going to happen in the short term. You aren’t doomed by any stretch of the imagination.

    3. Jedi Squirrel*

      No, it hasn’t. Alison has some really good resources here on how to write a resume, how to interview, etc.

      If somebody has sent out 200 resumes and is not getting a call back on any of them, there is probably something desperately wrong with their resume. It’s written in crayon (or worse‒Comic Sans), it’s eight pages long for someone just out of college, it’s full of typos, etc. Look at those resources Alison has, buy her “How to Get a Job” book (I did‒it’s great!) and keep trying!

    4. Nina*

      I think you need to give that more time. Companies may be hiring a bit slowly, but even normally I’d wait at least a month before saying an application is a goner.

    5. ...*

      My uncle just got a new software engineer job and is starting Monday- it can be done! It might not look exactly like you thought it would but I believe in you!

  23. Madeleine Matilda*

    What I keep wondering is how many people who have been laid off think that once the stay at home period ends that their employers will bring them back to work? A friend who was laid off in the ’08 recession was rehired by his company about 8 months later when things started getting better in his industry. I hope this will happen for many who are laid off now when we are all able to be out of our homes again.

    1. MissDisplaced*

      My company is enacting temporary furlough until the end of April. They’ve clearly stated it’s temporary due to COVID stay-home orders and trying to stem the payroll bleed. They do not want to lose trained staff that, right now, has mainly been twiddling their thumbs through no fault of their own.

  24. Teacher Lady*

    My district’s hiring page mentions specifically that school-based hiring teams are continuing in a modified version of their processes (i.e. obviously people aren’t coming in for demo lessons because classes are cancelled) and that interested candidates should apply for posted vacancies. Which is good for me…because I notified my school I’m not coming back in the fall several months ago, before any of this hit. I have done one virtual demo lesson, which happened the first full week of distance teaching. I’m sure you can imagine how that went with a bunch of 9 year olds. LOL. The district does have to place me if I don’t get hired anywhere though. My biggest concern is that there will potentially be a smaller volume of vacancies, since people who might otherwise have decided to leave might not under the current circumstances. But honestly, this whole thing is just really underscoring why I decided it’s time to move on!

  25. Bookworm*

    The answer is yes, you can. I am at an organization that is hiring and we’re arguably lucky because there’s actually more demand for our general area of work (we don’t directly cover something like healthcare but rather the issues impacted by the pandemic). We were in the process of hiring and even had a couple of people start in the past couple of weeks so the answer is yes.

    Is it harder? Yes. Does it depend on the field/organization? Yes. And yes, orgs are facing significant challenges with the hiring process, onboarding, giving people work to do in a remote setting, etc.

    As Alison writes, there is no good answer and I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people find that there really isn’t anyone hiring right now, it can be VERY field/location/etc. dependent. But there are some orgs that will still hire and are still looking. I am sorry and acknowledge I’ve got a lot of privilege to be working at an org that actually still has capacity and is still actively looking. But there are orgs still looking and willing to hire. Good luck.

  26. I Will Steal Your Pen*

    I also think it is the area you live in. I live int he DC metro area, and while the recruiting landscape has definitely changed, it hasn’t stopped in our area. At least not in government and government contracting (which is my industry).

    I myself have been interviewing during this time, and my friend at another large contractor is also in the middle of hiring for two open positions in her department.

    For me what makes me nervous is navigating resigning and beginning a new position during this time, as I am in the final stages for one position I didn’t start interviewing for until 2 weeks ago. .

  27. Allison*

    I’m most likely getting laid off this week. I’ve known it was coming for a while, and I stressed out about it and then came to accept my fate. Thing is, my position is only necessary when a company is growing; when the company is cutting back, my function is always on the chopping block. Some industries are growing right now, but I know this job search is going to take longer than usual, and I’m cautiously optimistic that with my savings, unemployment (from both state and feds), the stimulus check, any severance they might give me, and my tax refund will keep me afloat between jobs. I’ll check job boards, apply to jobs that seem relevant to my skillset and interests, be open to contract gigs (because hey, who needs vacation when I can’t travel?) and reach out to my network, but I’m going to try to let go of the guilt I often feel being unemployed due to the sigma, and not feel too much pressure to spend entire days job searching because that’s just not realistic right now. Doing a little each day, or even every other day, is okay right now.

    I’m also optimistic that either my current employer will hire me back when things get back to normal, or my last employer will because demand for their product will have surged due to everyone being at home.

  28. J.B.*

    There’s so much uncertainty on jobs, but also not much point until my younger child goes back to school. It’s the last recession in reverse for me and my husband. I have plenty of things to do at home and will manage.

  29. KayJay*

    Like one of the people quoted in Allison’s article, I am also a member of the class of 2008 who felt that they were FINALLY getting a foothold in the working world.

    My entire department was eliminated a couple of months ago and I had been actively job searching. I had multiple interviews and was feeling pretty good about landing something by April. Then, well…March happened. All interviews are (understandably) now on hold and postings in my field have basically disappeared. I know this will end at some point, but MAN this has been pretty rough mentally.

    1. MissDisplaced*

      That stinks!
      2009-2010 were honestly like the worst for me professionally. I was laid off late in 2008, and there was just nothing all of 2009. I could not even get hired for part-time retail work over holidays. Everywhere, I was deemed “overqualified” and told I’d only leave later: blah blah.
      I became a 99er (99 weeks on unemployment) and very nearly became homeless. It was terrible and no better for those graduating during that time.

      I don’t think this will be as bad. At least I hope not.
      There are some industries doing quite well even during a pandemic. And some are shifting to more remote functions. Of course we cannot foresee the course COVID will ultimately take.

  30. Grace*

    I currently have a job, however I am interviewing for a role at another company. Does anyone have advice or specific questions they can recommend I should ask to gauge the stability or longevity of a new role? I would really hate to leave my current stable position for another company that ends up doing lay offs…

    I have been in this situation before (fairly recently), so I am extra anxious about making this kind of change right now.

    1. Nerd*

      Public or private company?

      It might be worthwhile to do a search on Dun & Bradstreet. Think of them as a credit report agency for corporations. Looks like it’s about $60 for a basic report now. I used them before I uprooted my family and moved to a different state. That was about 20 years ago, and it was only $20 then. :)

      Have you entered into an NDA? If so, should be easy enough to ask about their financials. If not, ask. Think of it as a reference check. They’re presumably wanting to probe into your references. You want to do the same for them.

      Failing that, can you figure out what vendors they use? Call. See what kind of impression the company has left. Vendors that are paid on time and without unusual delays usually correlate with a company that has good cash flow.

  31. Mimmy*

    This whole pandemic has me so scared. I’m in a stable part-time job that is allowing me to work from home (not at the full schedule because we’re not seeing students right now) but I am itching to get out and move into something more in line with my long-term goals.

    I’m crossing fingers because higher education is what I’m particularly interested in, and that seems like a stable industry even though most operations are online at the moment. I still see job postings on individual school sites and HigherEdJobs, but I have no idea how much hiring has been impacted. I did apply for a part-time position before the pandemic hit, so who knows.

    I’m just anxious because in the past year or so, I’ve finally felt like I’m getting my ducks in a row having achieved a certification and just started a second Masters. I really hope the pandemic doesn’t set me back yet again. I’m at the end of my mid-40s…I can’t afford all of these fits and starts :(

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Hang tuff, Mimmy. You ARE getting your ducks in a row. All is not lost here. Something will fall together for you, just keep going.

    2. A New Level of Anon*

      Higher ed is no longer stable, sadly. I got laid off from my higher ed job (just about to finish my Master’s) at the beginning of March, and hiring for the couple of higher ed jobs I interviewed for has been cancelled. I have a lot of higher ed and non-profit/public sector consulting experience, but I don’t imagine I’ll be able to return to these fields once this is over.

      Oh well, at least work paid for my now-irrelevant graduate degree, so there’s that. Hopefully your experience in higher ed is transferable enough to some other industry.

  32. Mad Woman*

    Sigh. We are moving in August no matter what because my husband got his PhD and he has a well-paid postdoc (with tightly restricted funding so it can’t be redirected due to COVID). I am going to offer to work remotely for my higher ed org – we have other remote workers in similar but not the same positions. The university is under a hiring freeze and we’re already several people down, so it feels like I might have a good chance at keeping my job. Any tips on what to say are welcomed.

  33. Princess Zelda*

    I’ve been looking for full-time work to start toward PLSF to forgive my student loans, preferably in libraries and archives. The system I work for in Job1 was finally starting to expand programming and hours to pre-2008 levels; now I’m worried for my job security for my part-time position, since a recession means serious budget cuts. I’m starting to be afraid that there will be 2008 recession competition again — like, thousands of applications for page positions kind of thing. If that happens, I don’t know *what* I’ll do.

  34. Frustration Nation*

    I work in unscripted TV production, on a long term show that depends on domestic travel and people allowing us into their homes to film. I have no idea when any of that will be possible again safely. We were furloughed 2 days into the stay-at-home order in LA, and there’s no other production happening, since you have to gather to film. My colleagues and I had just started to work on building a union (or trying to get into existing ones), so we’re continuing that work, but now no one has any money, so I’m not sure where that can go, either. After the last recession, many small production companies discovered they could hire fewer people and pay them less money to get the work done because people were so desperate for paychecks, and I’m sure that will happen again. Our salaries have been stagnant for 20 years, so this is all really daunting. I’d been looking around at other fields, or other avenues in this one, but I’m not sure where to go at this point. It’s really scary not knowing if I’ll be unemployed for a couple months or a couple years.

    1. ArtK*

      Tons of sympathy from me. I live and LA and have a great many friends in “the business” who are hurting right now.

    2. ArtK*

      Of course, this is also on top of AB5 which pulled the rug out from under a lot of folks. Hollywood lives and dies by independent contractors.

  35. MCMonkeyBean*

    I just accepted an offer last week and gave my current job 3 weeks notice on Friday. I reaaaaally hope my new job doesn’t decide they can’t afford to bring anyone on and take their offer back. My current company is cutting benefits and cancelling raises and the new job said that wasn’t on their radar when I asked during negotiations if they were doing that as well, so hopefully that means they are feeling financially sound?

    It’s a company I worked for in the past so missing out on the office tour wasn’t an issue as I would be joining a different team but probably sitting fairly near where I used to sit once people are back in the office.

    1. Worried and Stressed*

      I accepted a job in mid March (before we realized self-isolation was going to be months, not 2 weeks), gave 4 weeks notice on March 23 and am supposed to start my new job in two weeks. I’m having a mild freak out because the new job has not responded to the email I sent late last week asking if my start date was still on track. My current job desperately needs me but I don’t know how long I can rely on their goodwill if my new job falls through. If they delay the start date by a week or so that would probable be doable. I am feeling very stressed.

  36. ArtK*

    We’re hiring — software development. I’m interviewing a candidate tomorrow, in fact. There are jobs out there.

    1. LabTechNoMore*

      I’ve been trying to break into this field. The technical interviews always trip me up.

  37. CallMeTired*

    I’m so stressed right now. I work in international ed, in the role that would be first cut in the office. This is the world I want to be in as a career — I would hate to loose this position and have no idea what I’d look for if I had to look outside of international ed (which, with all these layoffs, I would).

  38. CastIrony*

    I got laid off from one of my part-time jobs. The one I have is treating me right by giving me a temporary raise, though it was slow in providing protective things like sneeze guards and masks.

    I don’t feel like going back to the job that laid me off because I don’t miss it one bit. They’re not paying part-timers anything during this time, anyway, and I’ll likely have no work there until August.

  39. MissDisplaced*

    I know it’s a strange time to be job searching, but there does seem to be hiring going on.
    My former manager just gave notice this week he’s leaving for a new job, so obviously some places must be hiring. I’ve personally applied to two very good openings this week, and just prior to COVID I was interviewing for a job, though they ended up freezing their hiring. Some of our customers are going like gangbusters as they’re “essential.”
    So… I don’t know, I guess it depends on industry right now.

  40. Bethaknee*

    I work for a state entity, and we are still hiring. The only thing that’s changed is the application/hiring process, adding more video and phone interviews.

  41. ...*

    Yeah! If you make less than ~70k you’ll be getting MORE than your salary + the 1200 stimulus. If things manage to mostly resolve/get back to normal in 3-4 months…people could be making out ahead? It seems impossible but I think I’m figuring it right?

  42. AnonAnon*

    We are hiring. A posting went up today actually. I am in a full steam ahead industry. We were told today there would be no layoffs. Everyone is needed.
    Right before we were sent to work from home, we had just hired a bunch of people. We have been doing the training virtually. It is working. Planning on bringing more on board.

  43. A*

    This is sad. I’m also disappointed in myself because I get all kinds of prickly when I read “am considering moving back home with parents”. I graduated into the Great Recession as a financial orphan, with zero option (ever) of moving in with family. I wish I could be happy for those that have this option, but it took me the better part of the last ten years to stop being bitter/resentful over LITERALLY every single person I know my age having lived at home rent free/low rent for at least a year post graduation. Especially as those people now own homes etc. and talk about it like it was solely their accomplishment (as a single home buyer truly on my own from day one, I BEG TO DIFFER).

    I want to be happy for them that they have that option, but I’m just not there yet. It makes me angry and bitter : (

  44. hey anony*

    I’m in higher ed and I am in limbo between first and second interviews for two positions. In one case the first interview was in February and then the onsite, in March, was postponed indefinitely, in the other case the first interview was after I’d been sent home, and they’ve been upfront about that the process is going to be more drawn out. This is fine, since I don’t want to take a job without a physically on-site interview. And in at least one case, they’re hoping for a fall start date. But it is definitely a weird time to be looking/interviewing.

    On the other hand, my current job is fairly toxic and the current situation is amping up the toxicity for me pretty severely, so at this point, it’s kind of nice to know that I still have two possible options in play. The bigger fear, since this is higher ed, is that there’s a lot of speculation about what’s going to happen to colleges/universities by fall (one is a small liberal arts college, and there’s a line of speculation that smaller colleges might not survive the shutdown). But I’m trying to take this one day at a time.

  45. QueenB*

    My therapist’s hubs is a recruiter in NYC and she says he has more traffic than he knows how to handle, that the problem has been with finding ways to onboard them in this current culture.

    …Of course, as she’s my therapist, it’s a conflict of interest for me to use his services or share his name with y’all; but I hope that provides some scant comfort anyway.

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