A New Wave of Coronavirus Means A New Round of Layoffs

Image via CSISMag

The U.S. economy has lost at least 15% of jobs or more in every sector/industry. While many jobs are slowly picking back up, no industry has fully recovered yet. Most white-collar jobs (jobs that are professional, performed in an office or administrative setting) have transitioned to working from home, however blue-collar jobs (jobs that require manual labor; skilled or unskilled) have remained to be essential, so therefore they need to be on site. You can read more about the difference of white-collar jobs vs. blue-collar jobs here.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, below shows the percentage of jobs in each industry that were cut and the percentage of job cuts that recovered as of November 2020.

Industry% of jobs in the industry that were cut% of job cuts that has recovered
Accommodation43.6220.46
Administrative and Waste Services17.4941.01
Air Transportation15.28-36.88
Amusement, Gambling & Recreation58.0651.05
Arts, Entertainment & Recreation53.7740.13
Clothing & Accessories Stores61.8359.24
Dentist Offices56.293.24
Department Stores24.8293.31
Film & Sound Recording Industries51.718.61
Financial Activities3.1541.94
Food & Drinking Places49.3961.85
Furniture & Home Furnishing Stores46.1273.65
Government4.262.79
Healthcare9.5657.68
Hospitals2.31-3.62
Leisure & Hospitality49.3253.84
Manufacturing10.6152.53
Museums & Historical Sites28.487.21
Professional & Technical Services5.7842.85
Retail Trade15.2179.74
Scenic & Sightseeing Transportation65.9438.02
Social Assistance16.2945.81
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, November 2020

With more job cuts and layoffs, there will be less job postings and this will impact the way that employers reassess and reevaluate their plans as they move forward. With the new wave of Coronavirus hitting this winter, many sectors and industries will be facing job deficits due to low demand.

The rate of the quitting is not unusually low despite the high unemployment rate and the pandemic. The impact of this downturn is inconsistent because some folks have no job prospects, while other folks are constantly finding opportunities. According to CSISMag, a staggering 20.7 million jobs were lost in April, marking the steepest drop in employment on record. Employers have since restored over 9 million of these jobs, but the ongoing pandemic may undercut this partial rebound.

There are some folks who have received one or multiple offers and voluntarily changed jobs during the lock down, while there are other folks who are very skilled and has talent, as well remaining diligent throughout their job search — can’t even get a slice of that opportunity; particularly those who are recent graduates, those with disabilities, illnesses, ageism or other personal reasons like taking care of children or a family member. It has become extremely difficult for folks who have extensive experience and are heads of households who need living wages. So, the longer that they remain unemployed, the harder they will be seen as employable, due to the harsh reality that they are letting those skills atrophy.

Because of the job deficits that these companies are facing, some promote internally or bring on a new external hire due to the fears of budgets up in the air. There are also a handful that are simply willing to hire entry-level workers at low wages to hedge their stakes against a declining economy.

Aside from employee layoffs, there are also many individuals leaving their jobs due to big cuts in their hours — affecting their pay. They want to find a job that is equal or slightly close to what they were making before the pandemic, however it is not easy. This leaves the labor market with more job seekers than job openings. In order for one to keep their unemployment insurance, they have to constantly apply to many jobs per week — which makes it very strenuous for individuals needing a job to finding one quickly or even at all.

What Does a Contact Tracer Do?

Contact tracers focus on gathering cases and relevant data with their city and health departments through identifying and organizing interviews with individuals who are infected with COVID-19. In addition, tracers are responsible with follow up by giving these individuals proper guidance to follow while flattening the curve and stopping the spread in the region.

Image via Shutterstock

According to an insider that I help landed a job in; who currently is a contact tracer for the greater NYC area, stated that she makes daily outbound calls for cases on people who have been lab confirmed, tested positive for COVID-19 and when she makes those calls, sometimes she leaves voicemails because not all individuals would pick up. But for those who do pick up the call, she goes through a case investigation intake with the case for those who are tested, lab confirmed positive. In this assessment, she would walk them through different medical conditions that they have or different symptoms they’ve experienced in the past month and basically just informing them to isolate for a 14-day period.  They are informed about different services that they offer to help them isolate safely and effectively for that 14-day period – on how to continue practicing safety health measures such as social distancing, washing hands and staying home when there aren’t essential things needed to be taken care of.

These services include access to food, help with navigating/paying electricity bills, how to get their medications, as well as a variety of mental health resources like NYC Well, or domestic violence hotlines so that people have access to professionals so that they can feel supported and not feel like they are alone during this time. Another service that is included, is that the tracers notify people that they’re not medical professionals and because they cannot offer personal medical advice – they encourage them to speak with their primary care physicians or to connect to the COVID-19 physician hotline, where they can call and speak with a medical professional regarding any concerns related to COVID-19.

“When I make these calls to these people – those who pick up, it’s like forming a connection with them,” the insider says. “One of the vital pieces of this project is that some of us have a hard time of getting people to provide information about their exposed contacts, to people who were exposed and tested positive with COVID-19 prior to them. Trying to track down those – of course all of those information are all confidential and kept safe and secure.”

Image via Shutterstock

Some individuals that she has communicated with are forthcoming with that information, while a few are hesitant and do not want to share information about their exposed contacts.

“The other vital piece is that they make sure that folks have access to information and services on how to isolate effectively and safely, and also hopefully that they’re getting COVID education and being they’re aware so that they’ll be less stigmatized; that they’re not blaming themselves or other people and just empowering people on how to isolate safely, and what to do with a COVID-19 positive test result and how to go forward.”

She feels like this project, in a lot of ways helps the community and it allows people to gain access to information and to participate… to have someone do a case investigation intake with them – which is through the use of language line for folks with limited language proficiency – for those who do not have access to information or even to see what they need, and to be a support for them during this time and even to be a listening ear as well.  “I have done Spanish and Mandarin language line calls during my time there. This project goal is to cover the basis and trying to reach as many people as possible.”

She remembers a case she had with a woman, who at the time during her call with her – she was already staying at an isolation hotel, which is one of the services that they also offer to these individuals as well. “If someone doesn’t have a safe place to stay at or staying at separate bedrooms or bathrooms in their own home, NYC offers free isolation hotels where there are snacks, 3 meals a day and medication to be arranged and they will be taken care of during your time there. This is all free of charge,” the insider asserts.

Although many sources indicate that contact tracers have a hard time with reaching out to those who are unable to be reached, there are also memorable moments with those who they’ve gotten a chance to speak with.

“My favorite part of this job is talking to people and making meaningful connections with other New Yorkers especially at a time where they might feel extra isolated and be a listening ear, and just reassuring people that they are not alone and to be that person on the other end caring for them whether it’s a short or long length of time during the call.”

‘There are quite a few of people in these calls that I will never forget because they were kind, cooperative and were willing/open to sharing their information of their exposed contacts. This is the tracing part and this is also the most difficult part of the project, since many folks do not feel comfortable giving out information of their exposed contacts. I think that this is the nature of the beast. Human nature is more protective of those we love, those we are around. We protect their information and they protect our information.”

To sum it up, this is all pretty much ACCESS… Contact tracers making the calls to those tested positive – by connecting them to information and people, for them to have access to things – especially the people who need a place to go, contact with; to ensure that folks get their food and the proper medication that they need. It’s very useful whether or not people utilize the services but it’s for everybody basically to be informed and educated with these information, which hopefully knowledge is power. People empower to make healthy decisions as contact tracers continue do their job of slowing the spread in NYC as well as other parts of the U.S.

As mentioned earlier, a large part of this job is by establishing a meaningful connection with people that they’re on the phone with – when establishing that meaningful connection, it allows contact tracers to be able to lead to building greater trust, which ultimately leads to providing a greater exchange where the individual being reached through the call is more forthcoming and willing to provide more vital information. The whole call is centered and wraps around COVID-19 education and providing information for services to be able to isolate safely and effectively, as well as services regarding mental health and domestic violence, food and physicians for them to ask them health related questions or COVID-19 related questions and how they can cope with easing their fears and anxiety a little bit – is just one of the main pieces of it, which is to get people to provide information on their exposed contacts so that they can do the tracing part.

The insider expresses, “This is the job where you need to have patience, empathy, and just being able to make a connection with whoever you get on the phone and letting them know that this call is not so much an interrogation but more of love and support, to see how they are and what they (contact tracers) can do to help these individuals keep well and stay safe.”

Is This The End of the World for the Fashion Industry? Or Is It A New Era? Will It Survive?

While fashion retail stores are usually one season ahead of the game – in addition to collaborating closely with designers and manufacturers, they were supposed to be selling summer clothing (during the spring season) while placing orders for the Fall (during the summer season). But due to the current health and economic crisis, orders and new looks are being cancelled/returned since everyone is on a stay at home order. So what does this mean for the manufacturers and designers? Due to the uncertainties of the future outlook, does this mean that there will be fewer pieces being created for outdoor gear/street wear and more pieces on loungewear? How will fashion designers be able to manifest their creativity in the years to come? This is definitely not an easy pill to swallow.

Amid the Coronavirus chaos, this impact on the fashion industry spells disaster as many retail companies, design houses and garment factories struggle to stay afloat – due to the massive elimination of positions and filing for bankruptcy chapters. Neiman Marcus, J. Crew and JCPenney were a few of the many brands who filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 2020. Aside from the hospitality industry proven to be one of the hardest hit, we can see that the fashion industry is also up in the air. According to the Washington Post, the article reported that “Macy’s announced it will furlough most of its 125,000 workers as sales evaporated with the shuttering of 775 stores. Kohl’s and Gap also announced furloughs of about 80,000 each.” In addition, CNBC reported that Best Buy has also furloughed about 51,000 hourly employees, affecting mainly their part-time employees while full-time employees will remain on their payroll.

Retail stores and their day-to-day operations are dying, while e-commerce is flourishing and thriving. Runway shows, trade shows and presentations have been canceled/suspended/rescheduled. The way that the fashion industry has been surviving lately – factories are mainly focused on producing face masks and generating hand sanitizers to assist the communities.

We have already reached the end of June and we are still in the midst of this global crisis, coupled with nationwide racial tensions so thick that you can feel it in the air. Due to the recent events and protests of the Black Lives Matter movement, it has severely affected the fashion retail industry across the nation as many stores were vandalized and remain closed due to looting. NYC stores in Soho and Herald-Square 34th Street as well as Queens Center Mall, has been boarded up with names listed of those who’s lives were lost and other phrases that relate to anti-racism of the Black and Brown community such as, “Say Their Name”, “Celebrate Your Freedom – Juneteenth”, “Let’s Legalize Humanity” and “One Love”.

Luxury fashion brands are also stepping back from this year’s New York Fashion Week shows (including those in London, Milan, Paris, Seoul, etc.) and some designers like Michael Kors are not planning to host any shows or presentations in 2021 either. The NYFW runway shows are always held biannually, one around February and one in September. I have attended many in the past and it was always a wonderful experience to see new creative designs/pieces for next fashion season as I have always enjoyed keeping up with current fashion trends. This postponement has been hard for me to process since I have always looked forward to attending their next biannual runway shows – and it has become a habit for me. No matter how busy my schedule would get, I somehow always managed to find a way to attend at least 1-2 shows during the given week.

I guess I will have to go back to Megan Hess’s NYFW illustrations and pretend that there will be NYFW this Fall season. She was the one who has inspired me to go into fashion illustrations during my free time when I was an undergraduate student. Below are some of my favorite NYFW drawings from her. Feel free to shop for her illustrations here!


Illustrated by Megan Hess

The Met Gala, also known as the Super Bowl of Fashion which is also another big event that is held annually on the first Monday of May at one of NYC’s famous tourist attractions on the Upper East Side, the Metropolitan Museum of Art – has been postponed as well, disrupting the fashion calendar of many. Instead, it went virtual that evening on Vogue’s YouTube channel, walking down memory lane on last year’s Met Gala. For those of you who are not a fashion geek, this event is a way to raise funds for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. This year has been a whole new ball game for the fashion community.

The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) has partnered up with Vogue in March, to pioneer a “Common Thread” funding initiative. This allows designers to use their platforms and speak up on how this epidemic has affected their businesses, while they are also seeking for ways to implement effective strategies for fundraising.

The goal is to raise both awareness and needed funds for those in the American fashion community who have been impacted by COVID-19.

A Common Thread – CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund for COVID-19 Relief

So, are we entering a new era of fashion? While remote work has taken over the world, it is not surprising to see that London Fashion Week has been promptly preparing for the September 2020 show virtually. While layoffs, furloughs and economic hardship will continue to trail behind, the CDFA also took swift actions in partnering with National Retail Federation and the American Apparel & Footwear Association, to seek for financial assistance such as grants to keep employees on company payroll and temporary rent and tariff reliefs.

Fashion is definitely going to survive. However, certain positions will become obsolete especially for frontline retail leadership/managerial positions. Several friends and clients of mine who were all employed in long-term managerial positions have been recently let go from Coach, Forever21, H&M, Century 21 and other clothing brands due to this epidemic. Sales associates and cashiers, let’s be honest. With e-commerce on the rise, these positions are not going to be needed as we move towards online transactions. And going back to my last question in the first paragraph, I can see that designers are also facing a big obstacle right now. While many positions can be carried on remotely, it is almost impossible for designers. Proper fittings and patternmakers are the big blockers of a Zoom conference call. That is just not going to work.

How will fashion change in our post-pandemic world? Right now, I think that the most important thing rather than worrying about the impacts of cash flow going in and out of the business, is that industry leaders should be focused on coming up with ways to create sustainable solutions in repowering the supply chain. That is the way that the fashion industry can rescue itself.

In a Post-Pandemic World: Best Practices on Improving Virtual Employee Engagement

Looking to better understand how HR and leaders/managers are engaging their teams and keeping morale positive with the COVID-19 pandemic upon us all?
I have outlined some of the best practices for maintaining virtual employee engagement while we are all working from home.

Virtual team building activities are a wonderful engagement tool – such as leading an interesting ice breaker, which can help improve the lack of communication that some colleagues/team members may have, especially since working from home now can be isolating and depressing for many of us. This really helps colleagues spend time together to enjoy and reduce stress.
This is a good tactic for team members, leaders and managers to organize – to drive employee motivation and engagement, and an effective way to get everyone to know each other personally and professionally – and even learn from each other’s innovative ideas.
To ensure its success, during the team meetings (smaller groups), leaders and managers should have each team member take turns to come up with an ice breaker before the next meeting. That way, everyone has a chance to participate and can contribute to something.
In staff meetings (larger groups), leaders and managers should come up with a different kind of virtual activity that will boost everyone’s productivity. It is a great warm up for the brain before getting into serious discussions – such as guessing games like Trivia and Taboo.
The only uncertainty to this approach is settling with the right activity for everyone in the meeting because not every employee will enjoy the game.

Image via Shutterstock
  • Creating an online leeway is also another way of engaging and motivating employees during this time. There should be leisure time for employees where they can discuss freely on non-work related stuff. Remember, we are humans and not robots. We need leisure activities to help us maintain a great work-life balance that will positively impact our mindsets, in such a way where we can invest in our physical and mental health. This also helps employees create a sense of community by reducing the sensation of social distancing.
  • Below are some ideas of virtual leisure activities where employees can network and connect with their teammates on both a personal and professional level. The most popular platforms to host these events would be Zoom or Google Meet.
    ☻ Virtual Lunch Meetings
    ☻ Virtual Wellness Programs (Workout Sessions, Dance Lessons, Yoga/Meditation Classes, Ergonomics, Talent Shows, Karaoke)
    ☻ Virtual Hackathons
    ☻ Virtual Happy Hour
    ☻ Virtual Community Engagement Events
    ☻ Virtual Team Retreats
    ☻ Virtual Zoom Workshops/Organized Discussions
    > Show and Tell: Employees sharing a favorite object/memory and explaining the importance of it to others
    > Interactive training to increase employee development
    > Guess The Person: Employees can quiz their colleagues and figure out who’s who

    Of course, every organization has a different perspective and their own ways of proposing their team building communication tools. For more inspiration and creative ideas that you may want to engage your team members in, check out this article on SnackNation which provides 52 Virtual Team Building Activities To Boost Remote Employee Morale In 2020.

    Virtual office hours can bring employees closer together and connect in real time. You want to first establish a communication tool that works best with your team. The COVID-19 outbreak has forced employees to work from home. This gives them the freedom to work flexibly and stay connected to their work regardless of time and location.
    Clear your schedule and give 3-5 hours a week of your availability to catch up with colleagues to answer any urgent questions/issues that they may have regarding a task/project, OR to just even chat.
    The best team communication tools at the moment that I’ve been hearing are: Slack, Zoom, Cisco Webex, Skype, Trello and Google Meet / Google Hangouts. They are completely free of cost to use and especially beneficial for non-profits. However, there are more resources below that you are not limited to:

    The 15 Best Internal Communication Tools (via ContactMonkey)
    Best online collaboration software of 2020: paid and free tools for work sharing and communication (via TechRadar)
Image via Shutterstock

Maintain visibility with your supervisors, team, collaborators and upper management. It is crucial to keep them up to date with what you are working on since there is no micromanagement when working from home. It isn’t as easy as those days where your supervisor was just a cubicle away from you and can come to check in on you whenever convenient. This is a good way to maintain effective communication (face-to-face via Zoom) – not only in staying up to date with team projects, tasks and meeting deadlines, but this also gives supervisors a chance to track your progress and be there to guide you on whatever challenges you may have. The key to a robust workforce and effective employee engagement is to ensure that their contributions and industriousness are being acknowledged. Recognizing their hard work and achievements, propels and motivates employees in delivering the best results.

Image via Shutterstock

Watch your tone (especially when you are not communicating face-to-face).
One of the biggest drawbacks of written communication is miscommunication. This can trigger misunderstandings and misinterpretations between the sender (you) and the recipient (them). Normally, many of us use visual and verbal cues when communicating face-to-face, which adds meaning to the things we say – and that includes our body languages, hand gestures and facial expressions. However, since everything has shifted to remote work, the lack of these signals can cause our messages to come across as rude or something that we did not intend it to be. We should be mindful that as we are emailing others, it can be helpful to humanize and illuminate the tone of these messages through our clarifications. I suggest that adding a smiley face emoji and starting off the email with a warm tone such as, “I hope this email finds you, your coworkers and your loved ones safe and well during these uncertain times” can really lighten up the mood of a message.

Start a blog and create weekly posts. RECOGNITION. Highlight employee achievements. Include employee and client testimonials and stories. This does not only promote employer branding and visibility, but this is also the main strategy in maintaining employee retention as it makes them feel more connected to their organization. According to Impraise, when a manager takes time to regularly demonstrate gratitude and appreciation for an employee’s accomplishments it can motivate, engage, and reinforce positive behaviors and outcomes. Similarly, with the rise of project teams and more collaborative workplaces, it’s also important to create a culture where positive peer feedback is exchanged amongst the people you work most closely with.

Last but not least, please don’t forget to take mini breaks, short walks and practice on self-care. It is super important for all of us to catch up on self-care during times like this. It is okay to give yourself permission to pause and clear up your mind. Remember, it is not selfish to take the time for yourself.

… If you feel “burnout” setting in, if you feel demoralized and exhausted, it is best, for the sake of everyone, to withdraw and restore yourself.

Dalai Lama

Internal Values and Effective Communication Within the Organization

While everyone is working remotely from home due to the global crisis, it is important that colleagues keep the office culture alive and maintain that effective communication. You want to limit the distractions and practice your daily work routine – such as dressing up for success, and setting your own boundaries. This will definitely reduce procrastination. Most importantly, when you set and prioritize your goals, you can accomplish so much. And this begins with having a dedicated workspace to yourself.

Smarp outlined a very resourceful article that will help improve the Workplace Communication: 20 Ways to Effectively Communicate with Your Employees.

I have also created an infographic below illustrating some of the main points of effective communication because working from home can cause things to drift and we don’t want that. We don’t want miscommunication.


Q & A’s with Colleagues

During this uncertain and unprecedented time, I felt that it is very important to know how your teammates and colleagues are doing emotionally. We are all humans. We are there to support one another and provide feedback.

When talking about improving employee motivation, satisfaction, engagement and productivity, companies have mostly been focusing on employee recognition, feedback and appreciation. However, are we focusing enough on continuous employee communication?

blog.smarp.com


I have gathered some Q&A’s from colleagues regarding how they feel about their current job, which involves their confidence level and their ideal employers. Their names will remain anonymous.


1. What do you enjoy most about your role and the work you do for your organization?

Colleague 1 (Work Readiness Instructor/Mental Health Counselor)
The management for the organization is pretty laid back and doesn’t micromanage. Upper management has an open door policy.

Colleague 2 (Basic Skills Instructor)
What I like best about my current job is having a very considerate and supporting team. As I am a mom with two very young kids, once in a while I might need to switch my teaching time slot with other instructors, and sometimes I might even need to bring my kids to work. My team members are very supportive and have never ever said no to any of my requests.

Colleague 3 (Director of Career and Community Development)
Although not for profit, I enjoy and appreciate the opportunities to learn and grow professionally. I especially appreciate the fact that the work I do focus on ONE goal. Goal of educating, seeking and striving alongside those wanting to achieve self-sufficiency and attain personal/professional growth.

Colleague 4 (Mobile Jobs Program Coordinator)

My colleagues and upper management is what I like best about my job. They fully trust me with any type of work or project that I do and give me the autonomy. In addition, I like the fact that I get to be creative to help people who are in need.

Colleague 5 (Summer Youth Internship Coordinator and Adult Literacy Instructor)
This is my first time working in a non-profit organization. I love the decentralized organizational structure of our organization. It allows me to able to collaborate with and learn from individuals from other departments more easily. Also, it enables me to develop new knowledge and skills in the cross-department tasks.

Colleague 6 (Special Projects Coordinator)

Having worked with non-profits for a long time, I like that my line of work has a real positive impact on people’s lives, and I can work with colleagues who genuinely care about what they do.


2. What do you find in your role and organization that is special and unique and sets apart from other organizations?

Colleague 1 (Work Readiness Instructor/Mental Health Counselor)
The organization has more of a family feel to it. The organizational culture is pretty laid back.

Colleague 2 (Basic Skills Instructor)
This is my first job in the USA, so it is no way for me to make any comparison. But I used to be a Chinese teacher in Hong Kong. Compared to the international school I used to work in HK, our organization doesn’t put too much pressure on me, which is good for a working mom like me. As a teacher in HK, I needed to accomplish many goals during an academic year, such as cover all the teaching contents, meeting all the teaching goals, help students pass exams, etc. In our organization currently, it is quite flexible. I have no pressure in guiding students to pass their college entrance test. I like this stress free working environment.

Colleague 3 (Director of Career and Community Development)
I have deep respect and appreciation for our organization, as it remained a one-service organization for the past 48 years. It’s all about workforce.

Colleague 4 (Mobile Jobs Program Coordinator)
Although, our organization may not be well known. However, in terms of ethics and integrity, I can confidently say that we go out of our way to give help to whoever is in need. We are known to provide jobs for immigrants or people who are having a hard time, but whether it be legal, health, or etc., we go out of our way to successfully navigate for the client so that they can get their needs fulfilled.

Colleague 5 (Summer Youth Internship Coordinator and Adult Literacy Instructor)
Flexible working schedule, caring working environment are two major areas that my current company has done differently from my previous employers.

Colleague 6 (Special Projects Coordinator)
This organization runs with a genuine purpose for the betterment of society, not just rhetoric.


3. How would you tell others about your role or your organization?

Colleague 1 (Work Readiness Instructor/Mental Health Counselor)
Our organization focuses on providing Workforce Development assistance as well as English Language Learning assistance from a Work Preparedness focus.

Colleague 2 (Basic Skills Instructor)
I would say our organization provides employees a very warm, friendly, and home-like working environment. It is a government-funded organization, so don’t expect to have a very competitive pay. But if you want to go to work happily every day, this organization could be one of your choices.

Colleague 3 (Director of Career and Community Development)
I work in an organization that focuses on providing opportunities for new immigrants to obtain a job. We provide basic training/skills so that one can find employment. All programs, events, services we provide reflect required methods/tools necessary for obtaining employment. Wonderful benefit about our work is that; we do not limit our efforts to just new immigrants but to the larger job seeking community of the larger community of NYC and in partnership with 50 plus employers seeking the right candidates daily, monthly and bi-annually with our Queens and Manhattan Job Fairs.

Colleague 4 (Mobile Jobs Program Coordinator)
It doesn’t matter what ethnicity you may be. If you need help, we will always be here to help you out with anything. We try our best to make a great impact for everyone who are in need.

Colleague 5 (Summer Youth Internship Coordinator and Adult Literacy Instructor)
My organization’s aim is to help not only immigrants, but also all individuals to get a better life here in the U.S. It is not only a workforce-training agency, but also a place that feels like home.

Colleague 6 (Special Projects Coordinator)
I would tell them that you should talk to the people who work there. They will really try to help you. They actually care about people.


4. How would you describe your ideal job? What are its qualities and attributes?

Colleague 1 (Work Readiness Instructor/Mental Health Counselor)
A good combination of supervision as well as space to work independently, be creative, a supportive organizational culture (especially from a direct supervisor).

Colleague 2 (Basic Skills Instructor)
A comfortable working environment, friendly and helpful colleagues, supportive employer, stress-free, reasonable pay, commute within 30 minutes as well as being able to further develop my strengths.

Colleague 3 (Director of Career and Community Development)
People focused/caring for the young and the old/raising others up;
Have impact with purpose on the family or the individual;
Cultivate resources from those who have/can afford them and share with those who do not.

Colleague 4 (Mobile Jobs Program Coordinator)
The upper management and core value of the company. Of course high paying salary may be ideal and nice, but if I have to force myself to get up in the morning and go to work, then that is not the ideal job. However, if the colleagues/upper management is making a positive impact in my life, then I value that more than the high paying salary job.

Colleague 5 (Summer Youth Internship Coordinator and Adult Literacy Instructor)
My ideal job would be one that allows me to meet people from all walks of life.

Colleague 6 (Special Projects Coordinator)
When it comes to my ideal job, they must meet the following:
(1) Has positive impact on society
(2) Help me grow as a person
(3) Has a strong sense of community support


5. If you could think of any of the best employers in this field of work, what is it that you value the most from them?

Colleague 1 (Work Readiness Instructor/Mental Health Counselor)
The best employers in my field of work are empathetic, compassionate, knowledgeable, patient teachers as well as leaders, who know how to delegate and show trust to subordinates. The best employers give employees room and space to learn and grow as people and professionals.

Colleague 2 (Basic Skills Instructor)
So far the best employers in this field of work, my favorite part of it is the casual, not-too-strict, kind of home-like working environment they bring to employees. Although dress code has been emphasized later on, the overall ambiance in terms of relationship between employees, between employees and employers, between students and instructors, is still very home-like.

Colleague 3 (Director of Career and Community Development)
What comes to my mind about the best employers in this field of work:
Knowledgeable about the field and committed
Have strong work ethics with ability to work effectively under different situations
Innovative and creative with purpose
Have empathy and respect for those they want to impact
Hard worker with respect for people, rules and regulations 

Colleague 4 (Mobile Jobs Program Coordinator)
The best employer in this field of work allows colleagues be in their own comfort zone due to the flexible work culture and the respect that all staff has for each other.

Colleague 5 (Summer Youth Internship Coordinator and Adult Literacy Instructor)
I am not sure how to define the ‘best’ in the field, but I am pretty sure that the current company that I work in is setting high standards for fellow organizations, which can be seen from our client retention rate and students’ feedback.

Colleague 6 (Special Projects Coordinator)
When I think of the best employers in this field of work, I like that they care about their employees and are honest to their clients.


Now that you’ve made it towards the end, you have learned that all 6 of these colleagues that I have interviewed – desire a comfortable work-life balance culture (that feels at home) where there is no pressure, but also allows the flexibility for each employee to complete their tasks and meet deadlines based on their own pace. They reiterate the fact that they value those employers who care about people and that the work they do should be something that serves their own purpose for the betterment of the organization as well as seeing professional growth in the individual. And this is why communication is very important, as employees need to feel comfortable in speaking up for themselves and voice out. This brings out transparency.

Now, it is your turn to apply yourself with these questions!