Generic student, study, computer
Generic student, study, computer

Dealing with career shock during a pandemic

THE lives of many have been suddenly up-ended as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and for the first time, young people may be experiencing career shock.

USQ careers and employability educator Michael Healy said not only are many students funding their studies through part time work that may have been disrupted, but some are now left reconsidering their study options.

"Young people, if they're in casual work, that's still part of their career journey. They build on their skills and experience over time," he said.

"With that being interrupted, they're immediately at a disadvantage."

Mr Healy said some adults and older residents would have experienced different career challenges in the past, with recessions, redundancies or reorganisations.

"For young people, this would be the first time and it's such a massive scale it obviously is going to cause them a lot of distress and difficulty, which takes an emotional toll."

While some students may be left considering if they should still pursue their chosen careers, others may find themselves more motivated to do so as a result of the pandemic, for example those who are interested in healthcare.

"What we would encourage young people to do is to think about what is it about them, their interests, and their values and their sense of professional identity, that attracts them to a particular career," Mr Healy said.

"And if that specific career is ruled out, can they satisfy those same interests somewhere else?"

Mr Healy encouraged anybody who may be experiencing career shock to reach out for help, whether it be through their GP, a local organisation or their university services.

"I think we need to understand this is going to be an ongoing thing, so there's a need for immediate attention to the wellbeing of young people and anyone in general," he said.

"When something is taken away from you, you need to process that. I think the first step is recognising that you are emotionally affected by it and that you need to grieve.

"When it comes to the career shock, its grieving the loss of yourself in a way.

"Work is really closely linked to our wellbeing. It provides our financial security, but it also provides a lot of meaning and social connection with the world. When that's challenged, then that can be really alienating."

If you need help, you can contact:

Headspace: 3280 7900

Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800

Lifeline: 13 11 14