Many people in the business travel industry are now being forced to change their careers, amid the chaos created by the coronavirus pandemic. It has happened at such an alarming speed and depth it's difficult sometimes to catch your breath.
Change like this creates turmoil and confusion, but most of the time change can be a good thing. It can create opportunities that many of us would never have envisaged in normal times.
As part of the #BTA Cares initiative, Time to Transition has been created to extend a helping hand to business travel professionals when they need it most. The course is designed to help them navigate their way through the changes they now face in their career.
This course firstly helps those affected to rationalise what happened and secondly, and most importantly - what happens next?
Business travel volumes have now remained stagnant since February 2020. The business travel standstill and suspension of all but essential travel means that the situation remains unpredictable for the months ahead.
Subsequently, this pandemic has had a profound effect on the business travel industry, with up to 75 per cent of TMC staff in the UK furloughed at the height of the pandemic. Recent research has identified that one in two jobs are at risk in the travel management industry – more than 7,000 jobs will go, (and that doesn't even include aviation or the hospitality sector).
Redundancy can have a huge emotional impact and is followed by a host of feelings. Initially it makes us feel sad, shock, and disbelief. This is compounded with a sense of despondency and feeling displaced, from an industry hit so badly by the pandemic.
Through no fault of their own, thousands of business travel professionals have lost a job or career that they may have loved. Even if they didn't like their job much, events were still taken out of their control.
Time to Transition guides learners to accept these emotions, but also to move on, so they can channel them into productive behaviours.
Who Am I?
Shock and disbelief tend to be relatively short-lived, but are rapidly followed by worry, bitterness, a sense of injustice and of course, anger. Anger can affect the way we talk to ourselves internally, making us unnecessarily negative about life and our hopes for getting back into work.
It's important to channel that anger into a hobby, interest or sport, or by just taking a break. Releasing it is important before starting to approach recruiters or employers. Any negativity, frustration or cynicism is a major turn off. Employers look for positive attitudes in potential employees. They don’t want anyone who is still bitter and bringing that into their organisation.
After a few weeks of exorcising initial emotions people can start to view themselves more authentically and start to think about the next chapter of their career. Time is a great healer and helps us to have a more objective view of what happened and, what to do next.
In the first module of the course, learners will explore how to make new connections and actively engage with them. The advantage of less face to face communication and commuting to work is that people are now more productive and therefore, more available. It's the best time to expand our networks.
Now, is also the right time to take control of the situation and start making plans, setting goals and building a routine. Targets are a good motivation - x-amount of job applications per week, x-amount of company research, x-amount of research of alternative industry sectors. The course provides plenty of tips on how to build a plan and also provides valuable links to sources of information.
What Will I Do Next?
Generating ideas to discover what the next career move is involves building a knowledge of industry sectors, the economy, forecasts and trends. The rules have changed and the gaps between major household name brands and start-ups is shrinking.
Pioneer brands, early adopters, agile and disruptive organisations have been the best performers during the pandemic. Trends that looked years away (and were easy to ignore) have now become mainstream overnight - think virtual meetings, e-Scooters, remote medical services, e-learning. Other industries, such as those focusing on home entertainment or dealing in essentials such as groceries, have seen their profits increase, and are likely to continue to do so post-pandemic.
Now is a time of reflection for travel professionals, its also a time for them to evaluate the professional skills they've learned and how valuable they are to future employers. Translating these into transferrable skills will make them more attractive to recruiters.
It's also time for "out of the box" thinking by expanding the list to personal skills and hobbies that could add another dimension to job interviews.