COVID-19 Forced a Career Change and Entrepreneurship!
The K-shaped economy is particularly real for women and we are disproportionately bearing the brunt of many of these changes.
All of the media coverage around COVID and women seems to be gloom-and-doom.
They’re even calling the recession a “she-cession.” Healthcare, childcare, retail, food service and more, were the hardest hit and happen to sectors where many positions are female-dominated. Nine hundred thousand (900,000) women are out of work or choosing to stay at home to care for their kids. And many aren’t expected to return to the workforce.
For many women who have suffered a job loss, it took being pushed off of the stability of land, being thrown into the water … for the mermaid to come out in all her glory.
Bread-earning mothers are being squeezed even tighter during COVID-19. The balancing acts, guilt, multitasking and huge efforts to do everything well is more acutely felt because women are still taking the disproportionate responsibility for the education of children and elderly care and yet want to be high achievers at work. However, if they were paid minimum wage for the care work they did, they would have made $1.5 trillion in 2019, according to the New York Times calculation.
Many women – both moms and childless - have lost their jobs altogether and, as anyone who has gone job-hunting knows it’s almost a full-time job in itself.
But who can afford to wait around for the economy to possibly get better? Especially with all of that talent and ideas running around in their head?
This is just one reality that many women are facing.
But there is definitely another reality 😉
We’ll talk about the silver lining from statistics on women and highlight three true stories of how COVID made three women’s lives better.
We’re sure you know many more positive entrepreneurial stories.
Leave that story in the comments below!
Diane’s Story: From Cleaning Teeth to Finding Rock Stars
For over 25 years, Diane worked as a dental hygienist. Her job was reliable until COVID-19 broke out and everything, even teeth-cleaning, came to a grinding halt.
When her clinic finally began to start opening, Diane was hesitant to return to work.
“I was near getting burnt out. I didn’t want to go back to cleaning teeth. We [at the clinic] didn’t have all the necessary PPE and extra filtration system. At the time there was a shortage of everything.”
And during this time, it just so happened that she was introduced to young, entrepreneurial Kailyn.
Having worked in Human Resources recruitment for five years, Kailyn knew she had the energy and know-how to do it on her own. Kailyn established KBex Global recruiting firm.
“I knew I could always go back to dental hygiene. But I never knew what else I could be doing – it’s all I’d ever done. But meeting Kailyn, I loved her situation; she’s young and started her own thing. It is a boutique company, a small group of people that work with her.”
Kailyn told her “You’ve got the personality for this.”
The career change involved training and stepping out of Diane’s comfort zone. She was forced to reinvent herself, which wasn’t easy, but today … Diane loves her job!
Many dental hygienists develop carpal tunnel syndrome and neck and back problems. Every week Diane had to go to appointments with a physical therapist. Also, the job requires your in-office presence.
Now Diane still gets to work with people, but she is commission-based, works smarter and more lucratively and gets to work from home… much to the delight of her dog. 🐶
Explaining the recruitment process: “You’re looking for certain person to fill a very specific position. It’s so rewarding when you find a rock star!”
"I definitely took a gamble, but I wanna move forward, not back. Just go for it. You never know until you try!"
Employment Agency and Talent Acquisition firm in South Florida
Kailyn worked for a large recruiting company who chose to only work for other large businesses. She saw this as a lost opportunity. Also, in the large firm Kailyn was often limited in who she could place because many times the perfect person was already employed at another one of her clients' offices. No matter how perfect the fit, or even how badly the employee would like to switch companies, she couldn't fish a person from one of her clients to place that person in another clients' company.
With a team of experienced, resourceful and creative thinkers from the recruitment and account management fields, Kailyn founded KBex. The firm works with an international network of independent recruiters and mid-sized staffing agencies. Her team works passionately in this people-person business, days, nights and weekends.
Even during these trying times, Kailyn's genuine personality, low pricing and revelations to prospective clients about how the industry works has earned her enough clients to keep entirely busy.
"At KBex, we are known for truly listening, quickly finding candidates that fit your extremely specific needs, excellent customer service, transparency and the best market rates. We work towards life long partnerships with our clients. And best of all, KBex Global is proudly women-owned."
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Sari Swore She Had a Good Job… So Why Did She Cry EVERY Day?
“In 2019 my day would start with a cup of coffee and … I would cry. I would speak with my family and complain that I didn’t want to go in to work.”
Yet Sari Sime had somehow convinced herself that she was lucky to have obtained her well-paid 9-5 job as a travel coordinator for a destination travel company.
“I was seriously depressed before. I was so anxious about going to work. Stressed. Even though the company was very good, there was so much negative energy in my workday. And then I would come home and think about work! I hated life and this negativity affected everything. But the company was fine. It was all in my head.”
During the pandemic, the good company made Sari redundant. They laid her off.
Suddenly, she had to stay home. Time moved slower. She was alone. With herself. And her thoughts.
And she was happy.
“The pandemic created the opportunity for me to figure out what I wanted. And I figured out that I don’t want to work for anyone. I began working on my own business and for the first time ever I had time to think about the values that I want my company to represent and what I want to represent as a business owner/entrepreneur.”
The pandemic has forced many people to reconsider their values, she notes. Life isn’t just about hustling and making money (can we get an amen?).
Passionate about the environment, she can’t stand to imagine the amount of plastics and non-biodegradables that are clogging our Earth and killing our oceans. And she’s also a fun personality who likes to organize events and had even studied hospitality in her home country of Finland.
Sari formalized her ambitions and set up her website, DlightEventsMiami.com. She runs her own e-commerce store, selling curated eco-friendly party supplies and also coordinates events in the Miami area.
Her network includes concierges, restaurants that can host events, boutique hotels, privately-owned, exclusive venues, clean-up crews and makers of eco-friendly supplies.
Sari took on a part time job, waitressing at a restaurant “but I’m doing my business every day and I have the freedom to choose how much and when I work. I’d rather be a server than do the Monday through Friday, 9-5 again. It makes me happier. It’s the way I like moving at work.”
In 2020, Sari wakes up in the morning, feeling “fresh.” She drinks her coffee… and starts to work on her own business.
“After my coffee I open my social media and I write up my to-do list. Of course, I’m stressed, because I want my clients’ events to come out perfectly, but I get a different prize. I’m thirsty for more and even though I’m working on my business all the time, it doesn’t feel like work. I get to use my creative side. For me, 2020 has been a good year. The pandemic was a savior. I don’t think I could have stayed sane or become happy at my old job. I am grateful.”
“Don’t force yourself to do things you’re not meant to be doing.”
What Wage Gap?
We all know that much-cited statistic: women in the US make an average of 82% of what a man earns for the same work. Break it down by race and female Asians make .90 cents on the dollar in comparison to men, White women .79, Black .62, and Native American only .57 cents. When you look at the breadth of a career, those cents add up to literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost income.
There’s always good news, though! NerdWallet listed 22 US cities in 2015 (before the pandemic) where women OUT-EARN men!
In Florida, Orlando had the biggest wage advantage for women, then, successively in smaller amounts: Hollywood, Miramar, Deltona and West Palm Beach.
Dahlia Lost Her Job, Published Her Book and is Now Building Her Dream Life
“The last two companies I've worked for suffered major losses and went on firing sprees. Me included. However, how quickly I get re-hired made me understand that 20 years of writing and content management are exceptional and that my experience has true value. I’ve been able to see how my writing and optimization strategies affect company’s earnings. For a long time, however, I’ve known that God, this wonderful universe, has so much to offer and that I’ll be ok - because I’ve seen it in other people’s lives and in my own!”
“When I was let go from my job at a major cruise line, it was so disappointing. I was on vacation in Lisbon and COVID cut it short. It was a bit of a saga to return to the US. I would miss out on the full, fun experience I’d been hoping for. When I landed in Miami and picked up my car, birds had pooped all over it... which kinda symbolized how I felt at that moment. LOL Like COVID had just pooped all over my vacation and the world, really."
Although she was grateful to have been one of the lucky ones who to get a ticket out of Europe before the airports officially closed, she says she walked with her head slumped. She was dismayed.
When Dahlia got home, she slept. And the very next day, she sent out her CV, job-hunting in the morning for two hours, then began writing the book she’d started three years prior.
“Job-hunting can be a full-time job in itself. Experience has taught me that while, yes, it’s important to look for a job, I get nothing out of stressing out, scouring job databases for hours and sending my CV blindly. This time, I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to complete some of my personal projects. Like my book. I don’t make the same mistake twice.”
Dahlia finished her book in two months and then immediately was recruited (ahem, by KBex Global) and began working for a company where she is today using almost her full breadth of experience and knowledge.
Like many people with a job, she’s grateful, but still manages to have time and energy for her passions: dancing, writing, consulting and offering her knowledge as a dance instructor.
All the while, she’s been able to open several website projects and a print publications.
“Don’t panic. Use this time to work on yourself and take that first step towards your dreams. You'll earn a reputation for being good at your passions and people will find you to offer you work. If you don’t take the first step you won’t get anywhere."
What is YOUR story? Or your friends' stories?
Seriously, we want to hear from you! You may even be featured in the future. Reach out.