2020 – The Year That Never Was!

2020 – The Year That Never Was!

Today I had a shock…. I looked at my calendar and it was mid-October already…. The past 10 months warped into a black hole called Covid-19!

It is impressive and I heard it many times over: “ when you get older, time will pass by much faster”. Yes! I can cope with that, but 2020 was a very “special” year, a year that has never been. As old fashioned as possible, I still use paper organizers to pen down my appointments… and looking at it today, I see so many blank pages it made me wonder where I was indeed.

Just this week I had my first business trip since March, and as I posted on my LinkedIn profile, it seemed like setting an endangered species animal into the wild. Things are not the same. Things are definitely not as I left in March. And these are just a few things, a few consequences for the workforce in 2020. Luckily I am in the healthcare sector and was able to secure my job, but I had many friends who lost theirs. Friends whose entrepreneurship burnt to ashes as C19 ravaged into many countries and altered reality as we knew it.

The impact of C19 on the workforce has been devastating. Now, more than ever, it is time for us to show how we care, how we can help and how networking really works.

As a trained psychologist, the weeks in isolation would bear a toll on any soul, and the lonelier you are the more susceptible to depression you would be. You are barred from contacting people face to face, your sole communication mode is virtual and then you get that call that changed everything: your job does not exist anymore. It is bad…really bad, we all know it, and we all went through it at least once in our life. Hence, now it is time for you to rely on your network, it is time to talk to professionals and even when you think the stacks are against you, they are not!

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The cataclysm we went through in 2020, resembled the tectonic movements of the earth’s crust. Commercial earthquakes that targeted weak spots and an eruption of problems – and consequences, were expelled into the air mixed with dangerous gases and hot burning rocks falling in our heads. Within the market research industry, the earthquakes were especially hard for institutes focusing on F2F qualitative works, presential focus groups or interviews, and of course for the studios that accommodate these groups. These companies were faced with empty rooms, and high running costs; a deadly economical mixture. And the solution for the bad equation? A shift in reality. Studios are being bought out, merged, or simply closed-down; agencies are shifting gears and forced into an earlier digitalization to be able to be afloat. The same is true for the professionals in the industry. The impacts of C19 on the workforce were manifold, from the negative side we have the job loss, the psychological impact of isolation and the sense of professional (and to an extent personal) loneliness. Yet, there is a silver lining: C19 also forced people to think outside the box and reinvent themselves. C19 forced people to develop skills that albeit important, were always placed as a second priority. I have now many colleagues who engaged in learning again, and decided to master the digital world; colleagues whose digital proficiency was close to zero.

The opportunities presented in this “new world” are countless, and I am convinced that all those in the industry who were unfortunate to lose their positions, will find new ones soon enough, because being digital also means you will need people – you might not need the spaces as you need before (sorry studios), but people are a resource that will always be there.

If anything, 2020 taught us valuable lessons:
  1. Be prepared for the impossible – even when it seems impossible!
  2. Be flexible – as Darwin once said: “survival is for those who learn to adapt”
  3. Be focused – with so many fires to put out, one needs to be sharp into what outcomes he/she wants and march towards as there was no tomorrow
  4. Be companionate – understand that difficult situations happen to all of us
  5. Be helpful – by helping one who lost an opportunity, we are at the end helping ourselves

But above all, the greatest lesson of 2020 is: Be Human! We need each other, we count on each other, and only with each other we will be able to walk through this. Hence, if you need help, if you need to be put in contact with someone in my network, if you need anything at all, don’t hesitate to drop me a line – (as long as you promise to pass it forward as well)

Marcos Dreher

Marcos Dreher

Marcos Dreher is a German/Brazilian psychologist, specialized in strategic marketing management by Harvard Business School. With extended international experience in Healthcare, he works at Siemens Healthineers as part of the strategy implementation team within the education and training services. He functions as the catalyst around the digital transformation within Education Services and is responsible for establishing a holistic and sustainable eCommerce solution for the global Education Services.

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