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Why Returning to Work Now Will Put You Ahead of the Job Market

In the spring of 2020, life got a little hectic. If you’re like countless working people across the country, your once safe and reliable job suddenly didn’t feel as safe or reliable. Maybe you were laid off from your role in the hospitality industry, or maybe your employer couldn’t or wouldn’t accommodate your request to complete your office work from home. No matter how you ended up here, you’re not working full time at the moment, and since you aren’t ready to fully retire, you know you’re likely to return to work at some point. You just don’t know exactly when or what your next job will entail. You could keep doing what you’re doing—testing the wind and waiting for the world and the economy to stabilize a bit. Or you could jump back into the workforce now, without waiting, and take advantage of the opportunities that exist now but won’t be around for long. Here are a few reasons to make the second choice.

Get ahead of the mad crowds.

Right now, workers, in general, are reevaluating their relationship with employers and re-examining what their work and careers mean to them, in the broadest sense. Many have money saved up and aren’t scrambling to survive, and many others are recognizing that they’ve spent years working for employers who haven’t respected or compensated them adequately, and they aren’t wild about reconnecting before that power balance is reset. You could call it the Big Pause—a period in which many people are waiting to see the market value of their skills and time increase before they start submitting resumes. But during this quiet moment, employers are getting antsy. They have roles to fill, and if you move now, your application may be one of only a few. You’ll get the job…if you want it.

When you’re the only one in line, you set the terms.

Being the top—or only—applicant for a job doesn’t just mean you’ll get an offer. It also means you can follow up on that offer by negotiating a higher salary, and it may also mean that you’ll have more control over the terms of the job itself. If there’s one part of the role you don’t like—such as cleaning the grease traps at the end of the day, taking meeting notes, on-call Saturdays, or engaging with confrontational customers—this Big Pause offers an opportunity to simply make that part of the job go away. A few years ago, it seemed impossible to simply tell an employer “I’ll do anything…except that”. But now you can, and you should.

There’s no harm in asking.

Maybe this company is opening a branch office in Hawaii, and you’d like to be assigned there. Maybe the company has the ability to create a new role that resembles your dream job. Maybe there’s a narrow path that could take you to the management level in a year. Maybe you want to bring your dog to work with you. Whatever you want, when you’re the only one in line, you have nothing to lose by asking. Now is the time.

For more on how to navigate the challenges of the job search, in this era or any era, contact the staffing experts at PSU.