When the pandemic began to affect the world at large, back in late February, my first reaction was: well, here comes an unwanted vacation for the Doctor. Even at that point, I suspected there would be a downturn in the economy – although I never imagined the depth of what happens when you put your entire nation in a deep freeze. Sure enough, job listings started drifting down, layoffs began, and I received more than a few nervous calls from clients.
The life of a consultant is boom and bust – and I was pretty certain I was heading into a bust period.
I was wrong.
I began receiving a steady stream of requests for my services. Then more. And (luckily) still more. In other words, no unwanted vacation.
So what is up? Why is the Doctor busy? And what might it mean for you?
My post-COVID work seems to be falling into a few different ‘buckets’. First, there are the startups. Yes, indeed, people are still launching job boards despite the pandemic. Now why would anyone do that? Well…perhaps they are looking past the near-term fallout, and instead focusing on the effects of an eventual re-opening. Any re-opening will be accompanied by hiring. Or perhaps they are focusing on the segments of the economy that are still hiring – warehouses, healthcare, logistics, etc. Launching a startup in the current environment is hard – but you know what? Launching a startup is always hard.
Second, there are the people who are using this ‘enforced downtime’ to work on their businesses – taking care of things that had been put off, reassessing operational or strategic issues, or simply looking for opportunities that they may have previously overlooked. The Doctor is often called in when a business is doing this, to provide an independent outside viewpoint – so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when those people started calling.
Finally, there are those folks who are looking to buy (or sell). Disruptions – such as pandemics or recessions – also create opportunities. A job board that was never for sale before could suddenly become ‘available’. A site that was overleveraged could be an unsustainable liability to the current owner. And so on. The Doctor often gets called to provide valuations for job boards – so no surprise there, either.
In other words, there are plenty of reasons for people in the job board industry to be busy right now, even if the actual hiring picture is pretty ugly in a lot of places. And I guess that I should have forecast that I would not get that (unwanted) vacation! I’m not complaining! So, yes – the Doctor is in.
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