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Entering the Workforce During COVID-19

Between an economic recession and the shift to working from home, the COVID-19 pandemic has created an abundance of uncertainties when it comes to entering the workforce after graduation.

In June, the Wall Street Journal reported that COVID-19’s hit on U.S. economy might remain until 2029. Meanwhile, Vox reported on Sept. 27 that half of Americans who lost their job say they are still without one.

With many of the Outlook editors graduating this spring, they shared opinions on how comfortable they felt entering the workforce with the threat of COVID-19 still prevalent in our everyday lives.

“I personally am very afraid of entering the workforce with COVID still being present,” said an editor. “I am afraid of contracting the virus, and I feel like it would be easier to contract in a working area.”

“I am pretty scared and nervous that I will not be able to find a job or even an internship after graduating,” one editor said. “It was already really hard to find jobs before, and the pandemic has made it so much harder.”

Another editor felt the same way, “I do not know what will be available due to the pandemic shutting down a lot of jobs.”

One editor mentioned that while working virtually is safer due to the high risk of the virus, it is nerve-wracking starting a new position in which you don’t get to see your co-workers and supervisors, and you essentially have to learn the entire job from home.

Hopefully, employers will be more flexible due to the possible limitations of working from home, most notably communication challenges and the dreaded Wi-Fi interruptions.

Editors are concerned about losing opportunities for work experience due to the declining number of jobs available. The job market was already competitive, and now the pandemic makes it tougher.

“My personal issue with entering the workforce during a pandemic doesn’t stem from a fear of contracting COVID; I’m more worried about the scarcity of jobs that already exists within the industry becoming even worse as a result,” another editor said. They also mentioned that they found virtual work to be much more difficult than anticipated.

Additionally, students are forced to prepare for post-graduation life in a way they never expected.

One editor said, “Since I’m not graduating for another year or so, I’ve been having more time to ruminate on what I’ll be doing after. It’s really stressful. Especially with COVID and the health risks of being in the workforce, there is a lot of preparation to be done.”

However, there may be one positive effect of the pandemic on the workforce. Many editors acknowledged that the shift to remote learning and working from home has created opportunities for improving their technological literacy.

“I am becoming more knowledgeable in virtual technology in preparation for the workforce because most likely the job will be virtual,” one editor said.

Another editor concurred, “One way I am preparing differently for the workforce is learning how to work remotely. Whether it be doing The Outlook weekly online, learning how to work in Zoom meetings, or other ways of communication remotely, it is all helping me prepare for the workforce post-pandemic.”

The editor continued, “I feel comfortable entering the workforce because I know a lot of jobs have moved to more remote options, which brings new opportunities for our generation that is especially skilled with technology.”

Working from home had already been on the rise before the pandemic. Now, technological literacy is even more of an asset that students can bring with them to the workplace after graduation.

No one knows how long the virus will continue to affect not only our personal lives, but also our work lives. It’s a tough time to be a graduating college student.

The future of the workplace is uncertain; for now, all we can do is prepare as best as we can. One thing this pandemic taught us is that we can face any challenge that comes our way.


PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth University