I was recently looking through some of the very first articles I posted to LinkedIn, and I ran across this one called “Taking YOUR Road Less Traveled.” I wrote this about a time I was contemplating a change in my career. I bring it up again today because, over the past 18 months, many of my colleagues, friends and co-workers were forced to contemplate the same thing. Due to the effects of COVID-19 on the live events, hospitality and tourism industries, many were forced to choose whether to stay or go.
In March 2020, the AV industry was prepping for a hectic month after the ebb of the holidays. COVID had begun to rear its ugly head, but it was far away from us, or so we thought. Then, events began to cancel all over the U.S. and worldwide, and companies lost millions of dollars of revenue opportunities.
Many businesses had to reduce their workforce because of cancellations of shows, concerts, tours, events and conferences. As a result, many of my colleagues and friends found themselves in positions they had never been in (or hadn’t been in for a very long time). They were furloughed, laid off, unemployed or underemployed during a time that was usually packed with events and business. Therefore, many people in the industry had to take jobs in other fields during this downtime. You can find them in real estate, working in banking, selling vehicles and teaching. It has been great to see them thriving during these challenging times, but it has been sad to see valued people leave the industry.
Things seem to be looking up. I am happy to see many job postings from companies that were quiet for the past several months. It is also great to see so many “Open-to-Work” banners removed from friends’ LI pages. It’s important to remember, however, while we see a resurgence in live event AV and hospitality industries, there are still many who find themselves out of work or working in industries outside of AV.
This time has taught many of us lessons we may or may not have wanted to learn. Work-life balance is not a new idea or discussion, but we have had some time to reflect on the most important things in life. Fulfilling work where you can thrive, learn and grow — in an environment where you are appreciated — is ever more critical. Businesses bringing on new employees must increasingly show potential hires why their business is the best fit for the potential employee.
Taking YOUR road less traveled may mean leaving this industry for “greener” (or simply different) pastures and not returning for a while, or ever. But, I hope that our industry colleagues will find their way back to us when they can. Anyone who doesn’t crack under the pressure of having 30 minutes to doors and having to troubleshoot one cable in 1,000 feet of cable is RESILIENT.
Let’s continue to help our colleagues by sharing job posts with those who are still looking for employment or looking for a change. Connect them with someone you know from the company to make it a “warmer” lead than having them apply for a position through the website “cold.” Let’s continue to cheer one another on, fight for the full return of our industry and help each other find the best paths for ourselves moving forward.