I'm seeing more and more people walking away from the traditional employment in an office setting to working virtually and/ or starting their own virtual business. There's two main reasons for this. One, is due to the fear of Covid. The other, is the fear of how our society is changing. Some people feel our society is becoming more dangerous, but is that really the case? Hmmmm...let's see.
Let's start with the first crazy event. COVID-19!
Covid-19 decided to grace us with their presence on December 2019 in Wuhan, Hubei Providence, China. It literally spread to like crazy to the rest of the world by January 2020 and changed our lives possibly forever. According to the World Health Organization, by the end of 2020, there were 79 million reported Covid cases with over 1.7 million deaths globally (www.who.int/publications/m/item/weekly-epidemiological-update---29-december-2020).
During this time, people were not able to go to work, due to the many long term shutdowns, positive covid cases and/ or fear of becoming covid positive themselves. Masks became mandated, disinfectants became scarce, food items became scarce and not to the mention the toilet paper shortage (that was a rough one). Unfortunately, we are still feeling the affects of Covid in 2022. However, the cases are very small and many states and countries are lifting the mask mandate, but things will never fully be the same again.
Employment Crisis of 2021-Present
Due to the covid pandemic, unemployment rate was one of the worst our country has seen in many many years.
Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov):
*December 2020, the unemployment rate was 6.7%, with 11 million unemployed people and 6 million unemployed insurance claims.
*December 2021, the unemployment rate was 3.9 %, with 6.3 million unemployed people and 1.9 million unemployment insurance claims.
*March 2022, the unemployment rate is 3.8%, with 6.3 million unemployed people and 2 million unemployed insurance claims.
Wait...What?! How is that covid cases are going down, but I'm seeing "Hiring Now" or "Help Wanted" jobs being posted everywhere? With more than 678,000 jobs being posted and there's still a high unemployment? How's this possible? Honestly, I can't tell you because I don't fully understand myself. I believe fear is a contributor though.
Remote work replacing office work?!
According to Forbes, (www.forbes.com/sites/bryanrobinson/2022/02/01/remote-work-is-here-to-stay-and-will-increase-into-2023-experts-say), "25% of all professional jobs will be remote by the end of 2022 and will continue to increase. Remote opportunities leapt from under 4% of all high paying jobs before the pandemic to about 9% at the end of 2020, and to more than 15% today."
I've noticed more people are starting their own virtual businesses. Many were created out of necessity while others were created out "side hustles". Think about it, if you had a good paying job that paid the bills, fed your family and was able to have fun with your family and friends, then BAM, you lose your job, what would you do? For me, I decided to go out on my own and start my virtual business. Yes, it's been a dream of mine to own my own business, however, I also had 2 kids in college, another one about to start college and a younger son at home. My husband is military, but the pay is not the greatest (despite some people believing military pay is huge). I knew I had to do something and complaining or being angry wasn't an option for me. I also started my virtual business because like everyone else, I was afraid to get Covid. I saw my family and friends get Covid and I saw friends and co-workers die because of Covid.
Afraid of the unknown!
Many people are afraid of the unknown. Between Covid, increase in crime, wars starting, increase in gas prices, etc, many are choosing not to return to the office work sector out of fear!
Increase in crime
According to the CBS News (www.cbsnews.com/news/homicides-2021-increase-council-on-criminal-justice), homicides increased 44% since 2019. CNN (www.cnn.com/2021/04/01/business/gun-sales-march/index.html) posted "about 4.7 million Americans initiated gun background checks....a 36% increase" in 2021.
Cyber crime has been on the rise since social media has taken over. Before, cyber crime consisted of someone going through our trash, getting our personal information and opening up accounts in our names without our knowledge. Now, it's hitting the big dogs: banks, credit card companies, national stores, Fortune 500 companies, etc.
Forbes (www.forbes.com/sites/chuckbrooks/2022/01/21/cybersecurity-in-2022--a-fresh-look-at-some-very-alarming-stats/?sh=30a5ed0a6b61) posted these startling stats:
*Businesses Suffered 50% More Cyberattack Attempts per Week in 2021Businesses Suffered 50% More Cyberattack Attempts per Week in 2021 (darkreading.com)
*Corporate Cyber Attacks Up 50% Last Year
*2021 saw 50% more cyber attacks per week on corporate networks compared to 2020.
Most Targeted Sectors Worldwide by Hackers in 2021
· Education/Research sector up by 75%
· Cyber attacks on Healthcare sector up by 71%
· ISP/MSP up by 67%
· Communications +51%
· Government / Military sector up by 47%
*Cyber attacks on all businesses, but particularly small to medium sized businesses, are becoming more frequent, targeted, and complex. According to Accenture’s Cost of Cybercrime Study, 43% of cyber attacks are aimed at small businesses, but only 14% are prepared to defend themselves.
*Small businesses struggling to defend themselves. According to Ponemon Institute’s State of Cybersecurity Report, small to medium sized business around the globe report recent experiences with cyber attacks:
Insufficient security measures: 45% say that their processes are ineffective at mitigating attacks.
Frequency of attacks: 66% have experienced a cyber attack in the past 12 months.
Background of attacks: 69% say that cyber attacks are becoming more targeted.
The most common types of attacks on small businesses include:
Phishing/Social Engineering: 57%
Compromised/Stolen Devices: 33%
Credential Theft: 30%
We stress ourselves out with fear of the unknown!
Are you worried everyday after watching the news? Do you worry everyday after hearing a story that your friend has overheard at the beauty salon or barbershop?
In my opinion, the world is not going crazy nor is it becoming more violent. Due to social media and advanced technology, we are able to see the world events happen in real time. We also see an uptick in what I call "social media wannabe news people" pass along their opinions and not facts and we as a society believe them.
At the beginning of WW2, we had no idea Hitler was bombing his way through Europe and committing the worse atrocities to mankind. We had no idea that Japan was also committing horrible atrocities to mankind and was planning to attack the United States. We did not know, because we did not have social media and the technology to inform us of these events. We did not know the horrible acts being committed until after the war was over. Let that sink in for a minute......
With social media and advanced technology, we knew beforehand that Russia was planning the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. It's now March and we are able to see what's going on in the Ukraine from our homes or cellphones. We see the horrific crimes happening to the most innocent people. So, if we can bear witness to these horrible events, imagine the fear we are living with everyday. No wonder people want to work from home.
What can we do as a society?
Many of our parents would tell us, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all". I still live by this and I tell my children the same thing. None of us can walk on water, so who are we to judge others?
STOP believe everything you hear. Too many rumors and false information are being spread. Please use common sense. If someone tells you they saw a purple elephant flying in the air and you tell another person that same story, then you are the reason our society is so confused and scared!
Many people are too eager to give their private information to total strangers. Have you noticed on Facebook and other social media platforms, you may see the same people or company asking questions to "start a conversation"? I've seen the same people ask groups, what elementary school did you attend? What city were you born? What city did your parents meet or where did you meet your loved one? And many other personal questions. Do you think they are asking everyone as a conversation starter? I've seen so many people jump at the chance to answer these personal questions and I think to myself, seriously?!!
If you can't find a job or are afraid to return to the brick and mortar sector, then become an entrepreneur. Everyone either has a talent or interest in something. Turn that talent or interest into a business. Yes, it's not easy and can be confusing, but there are many free resources many of us do not utilize. SCORE (www.score.org) offers free mentoring in different states. They were my first contact when I decided to start my own business. They helped me create a business plan, provided me with contact phone numbers and they also provided me with free workshops they provide. These people are eager to mentor others and will lead you down the right path. Because of them, I giving back to others needing mentoring or just answering questions!
If starting your own business is not a choice, but you don't want to return to an office, there are many companies hiring work from home employees. This is a cost saving idea many employers are now providing. It saves the employers money and you money as well (no need to worry about gas, new outfits, paying for lunch, etc.). But, please please please be aware of work from home scams and only apply to legitimate companies! If an employer texts you requesting an interview but they have easy misspelled words, they want you to click on an icon to provide information or they want you to pay..then do NOT respond. First off, why would you pay to work? Why would you click on an icon that a total stranger is asking you to do? We have the Better Business Bureau (bbb.org) for a reason. If there's a company that you never heard of, then look them, do your research! Again, common sense folks!!
Well, that's it for now. Thank you so much for reading my blog. As always, I'm always open to suggestions or comments (but don't be nasty,,I know how to use the delete button (just kidding...).
Until We Meet Again....
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