Job Hunt Post 1b: The Tea, to a Degree

So yesterday, July 24th, I came up with the idea of blogging about my job hunt, and I shared some information. Today, I actually feel inspired to write.

The biggest current hurdle, for me, to face with job hunting is feeling unmoored. It’s very true that this opportunity can be a wide space to play in. That’s a tack I’m taking, and I’m enjoying it very much.

But also, I feel like a boat in a bay, waiting for a tugboat to come out and pull me in. I’m right there, I can see many places to land, but my radio is broken and I can’t communicate with anyone on shore to pull me in.

Such is life in time of coronavirus. It’s very hard to tell which opportunity is most valid, should be most strongly pursued. The list of affected and unaffected industries yesterday–that was based on my readings, a limited understanding of economics, and experiences related to work, job hunting, and conversations with friends. I’m having just a few smidgens of doubt that we understand the economic impact of what is happening, and that these changes will follow some sort of discernible pattern.

Some of this is likely leftover confusion from my past job. Although I worked in marketing for B2B food production, on the day the “price of oil inverted,” I began brushing up my resume. I knew at that moment because a huge amount of other business within my company was tied to oil production, my job was now in jeopardy.

This doesn’t take into account other domino-effect situations, such as how we had to reassure beverage producers and beer manufacturers that we would have a reliable supply of carbon dioxide. Why did this come into question? Most food-grade carbon dioxide is actually a by-product of, once again, oil production operations, gases that companies such as Exxon repackage to keep from escaping into the environment (or because they are useful), sell to my former company, so that we could repackage for customers to put fizz in your soda.

The second scenario is the kind of thing that lends some confusion, that causes the “boat in the bay” trepidation. How do you evaluate or anticipate such a strangely interconnected set of circumstances rippling through multiple industries? How can you tell that, because people are driving less, less oil will need to be refined, and when less oil is refined, there will be less by-product CO2, and when there’s less packaged CO2, beverage producers may need reassurance that the drink that ultimately ends up at your kitchen table can be adequately bubbly?

This doesn’t get into the details of how meat and poultry production plants are now operating–the changes that have had to be undertaken there are somehow both encouraging in the sense that they are working to increase capacity while missing some of the finer points of how you’d hope major companies to react to the virus. I include this digression because, yes, we want to have a stable of supply of meat for the country, and yes, we want to do it safely, and in some cases, you can’t have both. You don’t want them to stop operating, but you also don’t want anyone to get sick, so you want them to be overly cautious, but you get frustrated when they shut down production for weeks just to be safe, and so on, in a circle.

Because of that level of strange interconnectedness, I’m being discerning in my job hunt, ensuring I’d be strongly valued at the company I move to next. I’m waiting for the proper tugboat to come out and get me, all the while signalling in the best ways I know how. I just wish my tugboat radio worked, that my job search instrumentation was truly in line, that the information “on shore” was accurate and easily available.

The final lesson is probably this: it’s good to be cautious. There’s not a ton of information out there to go on, and many of it is based on (incredibly well-) educated guesses. But the stakes are different, are higher, and so taking a precaution or two and asking an extra question won’t hurt.

I just wish that question was obvious and simple.

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