Rethinking your relationship to work? So many people



Robert Brouillette is developing a new recipe for his career.

The former executive chef is back in school at 40, training for a new career in media.

He had been thinking about moving for a while but did not take the plunge before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, which ultimately put him out of work.

“[It] gave me that extra boost, ”said Brouillette, who is now studying multimedia communication at the University of Yukon in Whitehorse.

The pandemic changed most people’s jobs in one way or another as workplaces made adjustments and workers faced the consequences that resulted.

Anil Verma, professor emeritus of industrial relations and human resources management at the University of Toronto, says many of the changes taking place in the world of work predate the pandemic – but the pace of change has accelerated . (Submitted by Anil Verma)

Yet experts say many of the big changes in the world of work predate the pandemic, although they are now accelerating.

“The pandemic has not created anything new,” said Anil Verma, professor emeritus of industrial relations and human resources management at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.

“What the pandemic has done is amplified things … [and] they accelerated, ”Verma said, listing remote work, flexible hours and workers rethinking what they want from their jobs as issues that arose long before COVID-19.

Want something different

For Brouillette, the desire to change careers was built over years of working long, stressful hours in restaurants, even though he had done well.

“I was lucky, I was making a lot of money,” said Brouillette, whose job took him from his hometown of Montreal to the Yukon about five years ago.

However, the loss of his job during the pandemic left him considering the prospect of “going down to the bottom of the ladder” in his industry.

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He decided to move on.

As the pandemic drags on, many people, like Brouillette, are reflecting on their future, their work-life balance, and the things they want to change.

Florida-based life and business coach DeeAnne Chomiak herself followed this process years before the pandemic, leaving behind a high-flying business career for something different.

Since COVID hit, she has seen others facing the same issues, but in the context of the pandemic.

“I think a lot of people… say enough is enough and I want to enjoy my life, especially if we’re going to have pandemics and stuff,” said Chomiak, who estimates four-fifths of his coaching clients are currently grappling with these issues.

A generalized “career shock”

Julia Richardson, professor of human resources management at Curtin University in Australia, says the pandemic has put large numbers of workers through a ‘career shock’ – an uncontrolled external event that is changing the way people think to their careers.

“Some people have lost their jobs due to COVID, others have been forced to work from home or lost co-workers, and it’s creating this change, I think, in the way they view work,” Richardson said. . , who believes that kind of rethinking occurs in a variety of demographics.

Dean McLauchlin, who worked for the Canada Revenue Agency for 30 years, is enjoying his retirement. He says the stress of the pandemic era was factored into his decision to leave his work days behind – although he may one day return to work if something arises that attracts him. (Submitted by Dean McLauchlin)

This was the case with Dean McLauchlin, a now retired Canada Revenue Agency employee, who spent months working from home in Peterborough, Ont., Before deciding to make a career out of it.

“You have to put your time into it,” said McLauchlin, 56, who reached the 30-year mark before retiring.

He says stress at work during the pandemic era was factored into his decision to leave his working days behind.

After six months of retirement, McLauchlin says he “enjoys it” so far, but admits he could eventually re-enter the workforce – but only if something comes along that appeals to him.

More risks for some

The pandemic has also brought to light the risks some workers face much more acutely than others, especially those in frontline roles that cannot be performed from the security of their homes.

“The pandemic has changed the equation between reward and effort,” Verma said, adding that the element of risk is clearly driving some of these lower paid workers to seek other employment – as shown by what has been billed in the United States as the “Great Resignation.”

Verma said these low-paid workers need better pay and it’s up to their employers to make that happen.

“Otherwise, there will be continued shortages for years to come,” he said.

The need to improve the wages of low-income workers seems to have some political value in Ontario right now, with the provincial government recently announcing it will raise the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour next year.

Frontline workers faced higher risks during the pandemic compared to people who were able to work from home. The Ontario government recently announced that it will increase the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour next year. (Frank Gunn / The Canadian Press)

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, whose Progressive Conservative Party will seek re-election next year, told reporters “workers deserve to have more money in their pockets.”

With the change coming, this will put Ontario in the middle of the pack across the country, as five provinces and territories – Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon – have already a minimum wage of at least $ 15.

The balance of power

Jason Lavoie works as an office administrator for a Hamilton company that he has worked with for years.

Secure in his job, Lavoie says he is not looking for a new job. But he thinks anyone considering doing so would have a lot to consider, including the potential loss of job security and benefits.

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From the job postings he has seen, it looks like certain types of positions are up for grabs at the moment, especially those in the service sector.

There are certainly people who need work – as Statistics Canada reported on Friday, the unemployment rate in the country stands at 6.7 percent.

But Lavoie says he’s wondering how long workers can keep the upper hand.

“These jobs are going to start filling,” said Lavoie, who expects the balance of power to then fall on employers.

Verma points out that Canada generally relies on “a constant supply of cheap labor” – via immigration – which was not available in the same way as before the pandemic. This is unlikely to change right away.

But that doesn’t mean that when new workers come back to Canada in greater numbers, they’ll want to stick with the first jobs they land.

“I don’t think an immigrant comes to Canada with the expectation of a minimum wage job and being stuck in that job forever,” Verma said.



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