October 8, 2020

What Are You Willing To Do?

I’m going to tell you a secret.  There are companies hiring for a variety of jobs across the country during this pandemic (see below); but there’s one little catch.  They may not be the jobs that you want or the jobs that you imagined for yourself; but they still pay; they still offer benefits; and they can still help you to provide for yourself and your family.  I’ll admit accepting these jobs can be quite humbling for some, but there’s nothing shameful about a hard day’s work and having the grit and determination to keep moving forward when life punches you in the gut.

In the early 1980s, my father was out of work for several years.  He was a college-educated Black man at a time when only 22.5% of the total U.S. population had bachelors degrees and only 11.6% of Black Americans had bachelors degrees.  Still, he was unable to find work (or so he thought).  When my mother (also college educated) was laid off from her job, he made a fateful decision.  He applied for a job at the United States Postal Service as a Mail Handler, a position paid by the hour doing manual labor (no college degree required), and he spent almost 40 years working in that job because he knew his primary responsibility as a husband and father was to provide for his wife and his children.  He’ll tell you that it wasn’t easy going to work everyday, that his ego was bruised by some of his supervisors and managers, and that a lot of mornings he came home tired and angry (he worked nights in order to earn a higher wage).

But this “wrong turn” in his career laid the groundwork for him to start a successful small business (while still working full-time), and to put two daughters through college – 6 degrees between them – without a single penny of student loan debt.  My father is a determined man and a principled man, but I’m sure when he received his degree in economics the last thing he expected was to be wearing an apron and jogging pants to work, driving a forklift, moving mail back and forth sometimes 70 hours a week (he never said “no” to working overtime). Yet he did it.  Though his pride may have been wounded, he found new pride in knowing that he may have been knocked down, but he had not been knocked out.

My father didn’t have to keep working at the post office for 40 years, but that was where he found his opportunity.  You don’t have to spend the next 40 years working in a job that you don’t like; you don’t necessarily have to spend a single year working in a job that doesn’t suit you.  But do it so that when your opportunity finds you, you will have learned about sacrifice, humility, work ethic, responsibility, adaptability, and resilience. I ask you.  What are you willing to do?

In-Demand Occupations During the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic (in no particular order)

  • Grocery Manager
  • Order Selector
  • Warehouse Manager
  • Customer Service Sales
  • Public Health Advisor
  • Forklift Operator
  • IT Specialist
  • Retail Merchandiser
  • Material Handler
  • Virtual Assistant
  • Crisis Counselor
  • Loan Specialist
  • Online Tutor
  • Mechanic
  • Janitorial Services
  • Home Health Aides
  • Nurses – Vocational, Registered, Licensed Practical
  • Light Truck Drivers
  • Delivery Service Drivers
  • Carpenters
  • Plumbers
  • Graphic Designers
  • Web Developers
  • Surveyors
  • HVAC Maintenance and Repair
  • United States Postal Service Mail Carriers
  • Local/State Government (engineers, urban planners, budget analysts, HR coordinators, and more)

I would encourage you all to visit the websites of your local unemployment agencies in order to find out the in-demand jobs specific to your city/state.  The Texas Workforce Commission even provides (i.e. pays for) training for certain in-demand jobs.