How are NCDA Members Responding to the Rapid Changes in the Work World?
By Melanie Reinersman
Words and acronyms that became part of everyone's daily vocabulary in the past few months include pandemic, corona, virus, COVID-19, quarantine, social distancing, unemployment, WFH (working from home), zoom meetings, etc... NCDA members are not immune to the global changes in the work world and everyday practices. Likewise, NCDA headquarter staff, Board Members, and Committee volunteers share a widespread consensus of concern for the health, safety and welfare of one another. Once personal care is assured, our thoughts natural turn to daily work life. Here is what a few NCDA members and staff are saying they are dealing with or feeling. (Names and dates are included so as to see the progression of the crisis.) Readers are encouraged to leave their thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.
Kathy Evans 4/8/20 (from her message to NCDA members)
On behalf of the NCDA board, my heart goes out to all who have lost loved ones, friends, and clients to the coronavirus. COVID19 has drastically changed everyone's world. It has not only changed the way we work but the way we interact with one another, the way we learn and teach, the way we shop, and most importantly, the way we think and feel. As your professional home, NCDA is working hard to support our members in every way we can during this challenging time. We will keep in touch through our website, publications, and social media. Check in with us not only for information but also for support and encouragement. We hope that everyone stays safe at home until we can be safe everywhere.
Sheri Mahaney 4/2/20 (from an online comment)
As career counselors/advisors we need to become even more self-aware that we too must do more than just stay on top of the where job growth/loss is happening and advise our clients accordingly. We too need to do a deeper examination of our roles and "pivot" in our approaches as we are still needed and need to shift our thinking in order to remain relevant. The old way of "doing business" before the pandemic is rapidly becoming obsolete. Now, more than ever, we need to focus on self-care and professional development to be able to meet these challenges for our clients and for ourselves.
Susan Barclay 4/1/20
As you know, most, if not all, U.S. colleges/universities have moved all classes online. What this means is that we are having to rewrite our course curriculum quickly and, sometimes, on the fly (just this morning, I rewrote curriculum for my 10:00 a.m. class). Rewriting and adjusting teaching will be an ongoing process. In addition, email correspondence has tripled since the move to online; we are inundated with constant updates and changes from our departments, colleges, and universities during the current global situation. Most institutions have instituted online classes through the summer, so I do not anticipate relief anytime soon and, certainly, not before the fall.
Vicky Shivy 3/25/20
Wow, wasn't prepared for (a) how much students value videoconferencing -- both undergrads and grads -- the grad students told me it was an oasis of normal to meet virtually; and (b) how tired I was afterwards. Students were expressing a range of feelings -- some said they were scared, some were bored, and others were frustrated, or were on edge. It comes through even over the airways.
Deneen Pennington 3/23/20
Out of an abundance of caution, the Oklahoma-based NCDA staff is taking turns working in the office. This will allow coverage of the phone calls, processing of the mail, and distance from one another. The balance of our regular work can be done remotely. I personally came back early from a planned Spring Break in Beaver Creek, Colorado. While we were there, a number of coronavirus outbreaks were reported in Vail and the slopes were closed. At least we enjoyed a half day of skiing, on empty slopes, before that closure. As we flew home, we were asked to maintain a 14-day quarantine. The flights were about one-third full and sadly, many were aged parents rushing to quarantine with their children in different states.
Ali Breen 3/23/20
With all my heart, I hope you and your loved ones, are staying inside as much as you can, and that you're feeling as ok as possible with this ever-changing situation. The protocols and responses in our communities vary, and that may mean that today your day-to-day shifted, again. I am happy to chat, support & strategize with you about how to do your best to flatten the curve and practice social distancing. I am hyper vigilant. I am also creative & have access to a wide range of resources, ideas and people with resources and ideas, depending on what you need. Know that while I am far from you in distance, I am just an email away.
And finally, my own comment to the team of Career Convergence Associate Editors who worked above and beyond to switch articles just prior to publishing the April issue, as the crisis was escalating, and again reconstruct the May issue as the upheaval permeated the world:
Melanie Reinersman 4/15/2020
I hope you all are well and staying safe. Thank you for your continued efforts to not only do your daily jobs but also to volunteer for NCDA. It is very much appreciated. I hope your work on the web magazine provides a pleasant distraction from the stress of other duties right now. Knowing that Career Convergence continues to be a source of support and stability to our readers (and me!) is very valuable. We collected a long list of article ideas to pursue that are relevant to the world situation. Please reach out to potential authors if you can. Of course, some people are still overwhelmed switching courses to online or working remotely, so be patient and careful not to add to their stress when asking for new articles. On the other hand, some people could be furloughed and looking to keep active in our field – encourage them to submit articles as soon as possible. Thank you again for your dedication and flexibility.
Readers, please add your own comments and well-wishes below. Stay safe!
Melanie Reinersman is the NCDA Website & Web Magazine Editor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org