Some career GPS for navigating coronavirus
Some career GPS for navigating coronavirus
30 APRIL 2020 7:25 AM

Here are some tools hoteliers can use to rethink their careers and find temporary work during the pandemic.

It’s quite unbelievable how our collective necks all snapped with the whiplash of shutting down our industry pretty much overnight.

The economic turmoil was immediate—instant furloughs, regrettable layoffs and some businesses shuttered for good. Even drenched in electronic news and cable network reporting, I still can’t quite wrap my head around the strange new world we’ve entered, but we have entered it for sure, and that’s about the only thing that’s certain right now. I wish each and every person reading this column safety and good health for you and your loved ones.

The positive news is that our pain is the result of putting human life above all else, including our economy, and it’s important not to lose sight of that priority. It was utterly necessary and there was no time to ponder—we had to shut it all down, and now we’re part of making history that others will study for generations.

Stepping back from the negative, there is a lot of positive. First, we’re alive, and can be grateful for that. We’re locking arms with brothers and sisters around the world to do what’s necessary to survive. We’re witnessing science and medical heroes, and countless selfless acts that are helping others. We don’t like losing our jobs or even five minutes of our freedom, but—more positive news—we’re adapting. Amazingly, we always do. We’re staying home and washing our hands a lot, and we’re really boosting sales for e-commerce sites, streaming media services, takeout and more.

We’re rediscovering our families, finding time to reflect, tune-up spiritually, work out, read, watch movies, take virtual guitar lessons, catch up with close friends and get those ever-ignored household chores out of the way. We’re even having virtual happy hours or other gatherings thanks to video conferencing services. Many of us are working remotely while our children are attending school online.

As for your career—now either on hold or with the next stop unknown—perhaps you’ll be fortunate to rejoin your employer when the clouds lift. Maybe you’re bringing your resume up-to-date hoping to explore any new opportunities that match your skills and experience. It seems like the last thing anyone would be doing is hiring, but that isn’t true. So, how do you navigate the job market during this crazy time?

Here are a few GPS waypoints to consider on your new journey.

Use this time to assess. Who knows? Perhaps we all needed a refresh and would never have done it on our own. Think about your life and your values. What matters? Who matters? Be honest in asking yourself if what you’ve been doing (and how you’ve been spending your time) truly aligns with that.

Allocate some time to gain new insights about yourself from live conversations with spouses, colleagues and friends and through an objective assessment tool. Yes, there are many such tools and you may have experienced one or more of them, but here’s one that is free and certainly worth taking 15 minutes to complete: 

Combining your own perspective with the input you’ve received from others and from the results of this straightforward personality assessment, what have you learned? Have you been working to live, or living to work? Have your professional activities and time allocations aligned with what matters to you? What other careers might better allow you to truly be yourself, and to shine? Perhaps you’ve been in the right place all along, but it’s still worth some introspection to determine that.

Make a decision
Based on the time you took to assess—and what you learned—what is the next step? Are you aware of your strengths and weaknesses, sources of passion and career direction? Make a decision and pursue it. If a change is what you want, don’t fear it, embrace it! Have the courage to be true to yourself; happiness takes guts.

Be practical
It’s possible that the coronavirus remains an obstacle in taking your next step, forcing you to acknowledge that the “perfect” job for you might be rare at the moment. Think of other ways to use your skill sets, from doing volunteer work to joining the gig economy while we all wait this out.

Spread your wings and earn some money
Several industries are flourishing at this time, from medical supplies and online retail to logistics and distribution, food service, consulting services and electronic entertainment in every form. While you are waiting it out hoping to return to your prior role or seeking permanent employment, you don’t have to wait on either process to make some money. I can’t provide a comprehensive list, and certainly not one that fits every need, but here are some practical suggestions to consider for at least interim contract/project work and some cash—there is no downside to getting your name out there and keeping yourself sharp and energized:

• LinkedIn
Check this link regularly to see a list of companies hiring right now.

• Freelance remotely—focus on skills in your toolbox that can add immediate value. Social media and SEO strategy, marketing, public relations, design, IT, writing (articles, blogs, web pages and more), talent acquisition, organizing, customer service, bookkeeping, sales, telemarketing (including surveys), proof reading, and more. Those of you in the hospitality industry know most of the related job sites to check out for related jobs. Here are some additional known and lesser known sites where you can find listings for permanent, part-time and project opportunities:

We’re all in this together—it’s important to stay positive and be resourceful. Take steps and do something to improve your situation which, I hope, will reduce the stress you’re experiencing and remind you of your value as a person and a professional.

A partner with August Leadership (formerly Ward Howell USA, a global retained search firm with offices worldwide), Ken Greger focuses on the Travel & Hospitality Practice. He is based in Portland, Oregon, and specializes in filling C-suite and other key leadership positions for clients ranging from travel tech startups to Fortune 500 companies, inclusive of hotels and resorts, restaurants, casino gaming and integrated resorts, cruise, private equity and all things digital. He is passionate about balancing skill sets with cultural DNA to achieve the targeted business outcomes.

Greger has spoken multiple times at The Lodging Conference, ALIS, The Global Spa & Wellness Summit and to other audiences. A frequent author, Geger’s articles have appeared in The Cornell H. R. A. Quarterly, Hotel & Motel Management, Hotel News Now, Hotel Executive and other leading industry news media, including Huffington Post. He is a certified public accountant, having started his career with Deloitte & Touche. From there he entered the world of executive search and consulting, later joining KPMG’s global search practice in Los Angeles, where he was also a member of the firm’s Entertainment Industry Practice Group. He was later recruited to lead executive search in the Western Region for Laventhol & Horwath. Greger left to launch Greger/Peterson Associates, Inc., a highly regarded executive search firm specializing in Hospitality & Leisure that ultimately merged with another firm. He joined Ward Howell USA in December 2018, which rebranded to August Leadership in February 2020.

The opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Hotel News Now or its parent company, STR and its affiliated companies. Bloggers published on this site are given the freedom to express views that may be controversial, but our goal is to provoke thought and constructive discussion within our reader community. Please feel free to comment or contact an editor with any questions or concerns.


  • Bernard Toliver, CMP April 30, 2020 10:20 AM Reply

    Mr. Greger, "thank you". I shared a similar perspective with my students seeking new opportunities upon graduation. I will share your additional resources with them. Great suggestions.

    • Ken Greger May 5, 2020 11:48 AM Reply

      Thank you, Bernard - glad to hear it, as the intended purpose was to be helpful.

  • Beneza Colon May 1, 2020 12:34 AM Reply

    I have questions to ask i been living in a hotel for 8months now please sumone get back to me asap thank you!

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