Although Jack and I regularly banter about the state of job search regularly on our live stream show, “#JobSeekerNation,” I wanted him to talk about his perspective on the future of work. You can find the podcast recording here or wherever you download podcasts. You can also catch the video of our entire conversation here.
Enjoy the transcript of our conversation.
Mark: And so I’m going to bring on my friend, Jack Kelly
I think everybody’s bringing them whole selves to work and to whatever they’re doing, whether they like it or not.
I think one of the things that we can talk about a little bit is how the job search is going to look in the future and how it’s going to be different for everybody because now people have to consider not just where they’re working with, but who they’re working for.
How is a big deal, but in your view, I know you’ve written a lot about, and I’ve been talking a lot about, on your channels about what things are going to look like. So we only have a half hour here and you, and I could talk for hours, which we do anyway.
Jack: I like how your preferences. We only have a half hour,
Mark: I think one of the bridges to this discussion is how people are going to attack the job search and what people are going to consider. So in your view w what is going to be the difference between two years ago, and now, as far as people going forward and looking at going into a job search, whether they’ve been present, or they have been present in this particular environment,
Jack: see, it’s interesting, you know like we’re saying two years, I’m lucky this way is that if we had this conversation three weeks ago, my answers would be different than it is now, like three weeks ago.
And I’ve been very positive. I was even kind of referring to everything. Hey, post pandemic, here’s where we are, you know, I was already kind of factory and yeah, we still get it. You know, COVID-related stuff for the probably next few years, but I figured like the, you know, the hard part was over and we deal with it just like we deal with other things.
Now with this new Delta variant, it’s a wild card. We’re dealt this wild card. And what do mean by a wild card? Is this now? I don’t know. You know, it could be really bad then we could get strain after strain. It could just dissipate, but because of the fear of it, the unknown, it’s gonna make it harder for the job search because what’s going to happen, I think, is that companies we’re seeing it now, apple, Facebook, Twitter, Google, Microsoft are all pushing back when they were going to start, you know, they were saying, all right, we’re going to go September.
Which makes sense. You know, kids go back to school in September. Now it’s October now. It’s like, Hey, we’re monitoring the situation I was writing about today with JP Morgan. Right? They’re starting to rethink. And JP Morgan, along with the wall street, banks have been very, you know, strict and say, we want people back in the office, butts in chairs, get in here.
Now you don’t know it may, they may not have a choice. They may have to say go back home. So it’s hard. So the search, all of a sudden it’s, it’s, it’s up in the air a little bit. It’s not as certain as it was, or at least what I thought it was three weeks.
Mark: Yeah, I imagine the things won’t ever be the same. Within a year’s time, I put a couple of years because you know, people, I think we’re going to stage where people are fed up more and they’ve been fed up with the with employers kind of not knowing You know where they’re going from one moment to the next.
They’re fed up and they’re tired of being misdirected. I mean, really the old school. I mean, we got to consider the source where some of them, sometimes, because you mentioned one name and it tends to I think of all the other things that they have fumbled in and underestimating their workers and how they treated the employees.
I’m not saying they were terrible. I’m just saying there are times when, they say, well, it’s going to be this way. And then it’s like, well, I don’t know. And really when you got other companies that said, there’s going to be this way for the next year, like we saw Microsoft, we saw Google said in Twitter, say, this is the way it’s going to be the, for the next two years, this is the way it’s going to be for a while.
And you know, the one who’s the most agile is going to win the day. And when the talent.
Jack: I think that’s, what’s going to really boil down to
Jack: and that makes it tougher for the companies because they’re going to have to figure out, okay, let’s say right now, New York city for, let’s say the banks in New York city.
Now you have, you know, Cuomo and you know, the governor, Andrew Cuomo and Mayor, Bill De Blasio, basically saying, Hey, if you will go to restaurants, you have to show proof of having your vaccines. You have to wear a mask. So that alone makes people question, do I want to go into the city? Maybe I don’t want to go into the city.
Do I want to go back to work? If I have to work, is it doesn’t sound very nice and fun? And it just sounds very awful. And, and then the companies have to make a decision. They may have to say, Hey, we wanted people to come back to the office, but we’re going to get a revolt on our hands. So that, so that maybe we have to say go back, you know, calm.
If someone wants to come in, they could come in. So, and then it may change again. It may turn out that it fizzles out. And then they might bring everyone in. So it’s going to be this weird vibe. And what, what troubles me Mark is I think it’s going to hurt people in the job search because w with when there’s uncertainty.
Companies tend not to hire. They tend to kick it down the road. They tend to hold off. They tend to kind of say, Hmm, let’s interview. But listen to view some more because it’s not a word
Mark: They tend to hold on to tradition. This is the way we do it. This is the way we’ve done it in the past.
And this is the way we’re going to do it now. And you know, there’s a fire in the building. So you know, the one again, you know, you’ve got to prove to a job seeker to the candidate, into your employees, that you can be agile and it not it and you not, or the employees not be the ones to blame for it.
Jack: I think it’s going to be on both sides because then, you know, people who are looking for your job, workers also have to figure out what do I do? You know, do I suck it up and go into Manhattan and worry about maybe catching something because I, I have to do my job and I don’t want to get fired.
Do you say I’m just going to quit with the great resignation? Do you just bide your time? So from the employee job seeker, you have to kind of keep monitoring the situation. I think the company is going to have to keep minders situation, which doesn’t make it easy because a lot of people let’s say a lot of, a lot of people may just opt out and say, I’m just going to hang tight.
Just like they did dinner pandemic. Let me just, just wait it out. But then, and this is why it gets so weird. Cause then it could be good for other job seekers because then as a lot of people pull out, if there are these hard to fill jobs and there are less people and you’re in the market, you have a better shot of getting it.
So, yeah, I think as you’re saying, the watchwords are going to be just being real nimble, right. Being really nimble to keep adjusting. To how things are playing out.
Mark: So your take of the possibility of September and October, that might be another mass Exodus, because the way that companies are anticipating what may happen with the Delta via variant and all these other factors that might be coming in,
Jack: See, I think it’s gonna depend.
So let’s say, you know, we go to the end of August and there are still concerns about the Delta virus. You know, you have mask mandates across the country and so on. It’s not going to be easy for people to quit their jobs because they’re going to be worried if I quit my job, am I going to find another one?
So they, you might not see that same great resume. Alternatively, if companies are forcing you to go back to where you are, it could be whether investment bank or it could be a restaurant or bar. Certain people may say, you know what, I’m just going to, you know, I’m going to quit because my health is more important than what I’m making as a waiter or waitress.
Mark: Our company’s losing focus by mandating a hybrid workplace?
Jack: You have to because think about it, let’s say you and I are responsible for a hybrid. And you talked about, you know, companies with tens of thousands of people, there’s so much to do. Sure. So we all set it up for hybrid. Now we don’t know.
So now we got set up for maybe or mode, but then we gotta be prepared to come back. So I imagine we put so much time and effort into that, that we don’t have enough time to look at new candidates who are interviewing. Right. So that’s where I see things getting bottlenecked for a while.
Mark: Are companies going to have to fight tooth and nail pretty much to have it their way, or will they actually get some kind of emotional intelligence as a whole.
And start to say, Hey, you know, we got to put these implants. If a, because very rarely I hear people. If companies say, if a can’t happen, then we’ll do B, then we’ll do C I rarely see that. I don’t know if you see anything different.
Jack: See, you know, to me right now, it’s a little bit different in the sense that a year ago it was clean.
You know, we’re in a pandemic, this is really bad. We’re not going to bring people in because of the obvious reasons. Now it’s, you know, people like, well, is it really that bad? Is it not that bad? Could it get worse? So there’s so much now I think there’s more uncertainty like during the pandemic, ironically, there was more certainty.
Yeah. This is bad, you know, you know, this is really, you know, problematic. Yeah. Right now it’s more of what are we do?
Mark: There’s so much uncertainty, but I think to a certain degree, you have to provide some people some comfort in knowing you can use a switch or better yet that you.
Aren’t going to see the future because that’s pretty much what most companies pride themselves on, or whether the smaller, big they’re saying this is the direction we’re going because we see it this way. And a lot of companies are building, or pretty much setting themselves up, or causing people to doubt because there’s more uncertainty amongst those who are making the decisions.
Then there are people because people have already made the decision. It, this happens, I’m going to be staying home, or this happens I’m going to go into the workplace no matter what, which might be fewer than the people who will actually stay home, but then know this you know, that those danger approaching, you know,
Jack: I like what you said about management.
And I think that is going to be. The defining characteristic of a company and they really articulate to their workforce what’s happening in a very empathetic, compassionate, and intelligent way, you know, not demanding, not being stern, but really just talking to people like they’re human beings and sharing.
And I would love it. If some of these companies would just really be upfront about it, say, Hey, listen, we’re not sure what to do.
Mark: That kind of candor means a whole lot more to somebody who is looking on and may be considering working for them than to say that we’re going to forge forward with this from now on without considering all the other intangibles that could actually happen.
Jack: Yeah. I think it’d be better if they kind of lay it out and say, Hey, you know, we love to say we have a crystal ball and this is what’s happening, but this is kind of, you know, moving quickly and there’s not enough. You know, intelligence right now to know what we can do a year from now. So let’s, so we’re going to all have to work together, as you said, to be flexible, adjust, be nimble.
And, and, and just again, to be really honest with folks and say, this might not be easy for a lot of people because it may disrupt it. You know, we may say, Hey, be at home, but then things change. We may ask you to come back. Right. You know it depends on how it plays out. So it’s going to be, I think it’s going to be an odd time, and this is all, if this Delta keeps going and other strains, if it fizzles out, then it’s a little different cause then maybe there’s more clarity of what to do.
So what I’m saying now is just based right here in this moment where, you know, New York let’s take New York as an example where you could say they’re putting in some really strict stuff and you know, and when you do that, it makes everybody else other cities and states saying, huh, maybe we should do the same thing.
And then before you know, it that’s the trend.
Mark: Yeah, I agree with that wholeheartedly, something you said recently on a thread on LinkedIn you said an energized team will vastly improve results at the company, creating a better atmosphere for both executives and workers. And I know we’re kind of good.
Yeah, I know it’s a sound. Excellent. I, but it, it brings to mind one, what an energized team is going to look like here in 2021 and with all that that’s going on.
Jack: Yeah. That’s a good question. It’s probably could be hard because after, you know, I would, I would suggest that a vast amount of people felt like, okay, we’re, we’re pretty much almost done who, and now all of a sudden you get hit again.
And it’s very hard to be energized where like now you’re worried. Okay. Are we going to be under lockdown again? What’s going to happen with my kid’s school. Now let’s say you have young kids. Does this mean that they’re not going to be in school if they’re not being in school? Can I do it, am I going to have to quit to take care of them again?
So yeah, it just throws a big monkey wrench into all the decision-making. Yeah. And, and then it’s hard if that happens to show up to work and be your best self and be all excited when it’s like, I got to worry about my kids and they’re wearing masks eight hours a day, or I got to worry about, you know, they’re going to their job and maybe something could happen too.
Them, well, maybe something to me or my partner or my spouse. So when that happens, when you have all those things hanging over your head, it’s too tough, you know, to come in, like, yes, let’s get working today. I can’t wait to work on my Excel spreadsheet, you know, is, it seems kind of meaningless.
Well, I think
Mark: people who are working from home or at least working remotely, somewhat, it could possibly have a domino effect that so-and-so’s affected with their children.
Hey, what about me and my kids? And it could possibly affect a whole team. And I think that the team can still remain energized at, they all understand each other’s challenges a whole lot more than the company, because you are the company now when you’re working in teams, right?
Jack: Yeah. The more I’m thinking about it, go back to what you said, mark.
I think it really is going to boil down to, you know, the senior level management. Cause you know, you know, the tone comes from the top. If, if, if they are clear in their message if they’re looking after people if they’re giving surveys to their employees, Hey, what do you think? What do you want? What would work well for you?
Do you want staggered hours? Do you want to stay at home? Do you want a hybrid? You know, and the ones who reach out and keep those communications open, then I think you could get a manager because now you’re feeling like we’re all on a mission together. You know, then you’re feeling, Hey, I feel empowered because they’re trusting me.
They’re asking my opinion. They want to know what I want to do. And then they’re going to allow me to do the way I want to do. Then maybe you could say it because then you, same way with a lot of people during the pandemic were putting in way more hours, they’re working longer hours. They’re working nights, they’re working weekends.
And partly because there was not much else to do, but they felt a sense of accomplishment. Like, okay, at least I’m doing something productive. So I think if the tone of the top is like saying, Hey, let’s work together. Let’s make this happen. It could energy energize people and you could achieve great things.
If management just takes this hands-off approach, and everybody is looking around at what do we do? What are we supposed to do? That’s going to be the worst. And I think you’ll see a divide between companies, the ones that have good leadership, they’ll probably do really well and prevail the ones who have really lackluster or don’t put the effort into it.
There’s this? don’t think we talked about it. There was a survey. This is really surprising from SHRM, right? And they, polled both remote workers and supervisors. And the supervisor said basically, and I’m not making this up. Cause it sounds so crazy that we sometimes forget about the remote workers and that remote workers are easily replaceable.
And this is what they, these are what they responded. This is how they feel. So imagine how the workers feel. Right. That’s what they’re saying. Cause that’s what they’re saying. Imagine what they’re doing or not.
Mark: Yeah. Well then, the workplace, I mean, being remote it takes away the emotional attachment to the employee.
Jack: That’s a good point. That’s interesting. You don’t see them. So you could beat, you might be a little bit more cold.
Mark: Here’s what what’s coming down to it. Unless you are constantly communicating with your team, it can definitely feel like, well, I don’t have this emotional attachment. I don’t see them all the time.
I don’t comment on their lunch. They can’t get idle, you know, there’s no exchange in office dynamic that you used to. So in that way, some people will say, well, that was like family, but remote no longer. Has that family except the one that they live with. So it totally changes the connection between the employer, the supervisor, and the employee this board minute to the point to where now I can see where they don’t have that emotional attachment or they’re not as sentimental. To the employee that they once were.
Jack: Yeah. I really like that. It’s just smart, the viewpoint is that if a manager isn’t trained and they’re not great at what they do and they’re thrown into it and their heart’s not into it. Yeah. You’re not going to know who mark and Jack are.
You know, you’re in Chicago, I’m in New Jersey. There may be, you know, in LA and they don’t really know us. They’re not taking the time to know it. So of course, we’re going to feel, they’re going to feel we’re dispensable and that they’ll forget about us. And you, and I probably spend all day long looking for new jobs.
So they’re cutting off their nose to spite their face.
Mark: I was just talking to my friend, Scott Behson about his book, about bringing the whole person to work kind of ideal. There’s an irony to it. As you bring your whole person to work, the less of a whole person you possibly be seen because the physicality is so used to the relationship being built on what rather somebody is right in front of us or not is going to make a big difference to how they’re going to be seen.
I’ve collaborated with people at least hundreds of times now you know, over the past 11 years or so there’s not much of a difference when you meet somebody in person after being alive. You’re not met in New Jersey or in New York, we were going to have lunch.
I wouldn’t expect anything different, but if you’re not used to it, you’re, you know, you have perception, you have things that come into play to where that dynamic may not be, is amicable as you would, as you as if you were working across from each other at the office.
Jack: It’s a gap that needs to close.
And, you know, in that same survey, it was saying that the remote workers kind of felt that they’re missing out. On the interactions they’re missing out on networking, meeting, new people. And so they were kind of say, they’re recognizing that as a trade-off, they have a better quality of life and a balance, but they realized their career might be hurting a little bit because the managers aren’t paying as much attention.
They are not networking. The boss, the big bosses don’t see them. So they kind of realize it’s they prefer working remote, but it’s not perfect because they feel like you said out of sight, out of mind.
Mark: It could be a little tough for people to really make that adjustment and to tell the difference between virtual and real life.
We’re really, there. Isn’t much of a difference. I mean, it’s just that you’re there and I’m here and we’re having this conversation. It wouldn’t be any different if we were together, I mean, or a physical in the room, there really isn’t much of a difference, but the mindset is, is this the biggest difference of it?
Jack: Yeah. It’s, it’s definitely, it’s so frustrating because to me, it seemed like we were going in such a good place. It seemed like, okay, we pretty much closed the door and the pandemic, not, you know, completely but enough that we could kind of live our lives. And then all of a sudden you hear this new thing and you’re like, All right.
What does that mean? But then it also raises the specter. Well, after Delta, is there going to be, I don’t know, Epsilon so-and-so and so on. Right. It’s like, oh my God, we’ll never, we’re like, whoa, whoa, who, who’s going to be the one to say, you know what, stop it. We just go back to our lives and that’s it. Or maybe you can.
And that’s, that’s where I think you get that challenge where I’m, I’m, I’m concerned that the job market could get clunky because with uncertainty, it’s easy for people just to say, I’m going to stay, but where I am, or I’m just going to collect unemployment and ride it out and companies and say, hey, let’s just wait.
Let’s wait. Let’s see what happens. Let’s wait some more. Wait, wait, wait some more. And. And that’s not that doesn’t bode well.
Mark: Doesn’t. And one of the shifts I think received as far as job seekers concerted and their job search. And I’ll have to say this, knowing that we’ve said it before, but it is no longer about the company as an entity anymore.
And looking at where you want to work, you got to also look at the team and the people with who you’re going to be interacting with. Sort of like we talked about last hour where you, you know who your boss will matter, who your teammates will matter. And that’s where you’ll need to try to get the insight and also get the Intel on what it’s like to work with them, remote on a team when, when everybody else is not looking,
Jack: I like that.
You know what that, that seems to be like hitting the nail on the head, because if you are looking for a new job in this kind of model, It definitely behooves you to find out who your boss is and naming when you’re interviewing to really ask what’s their style, like, what are you doing for remote workers?
You know, first of all, let’s say, can I work remote? And if I can, what systems do you have in place? What, what policies, what procedures, what controls, what tools, and this is not a time to be shy about it, because if you don’t get good answers, then you probably don’t want to work there. Because if you get a sense that they didn’t think it through right.
Then what do you think is going to happen? They’re not going to care too much, but the ones who thought it through care, the ones that say, okay, here’s what we do. We have a slack channel. We use Google Hangouts throughout the day. We do zoom calls every block at this time, you know, we have regular check-ins with the manager.
We have, you know, tech teams available. So let’s say if you’re having trouble with your computer, with what have you, you call this number, they’ll deal there. Then you’re like, wow. Okay. They really care. Yeah. Yeah.
Mark: And then you want to meet the team if you were, you want to meet with them as a team.
I think because of the window to the team dynamic, if you meet with them as an individual, then you’re just. Okay. You get familiar with someone, they ask you questions, it’s how you are. But what you’re interested in how do they respond as a team? What is the philosophy? And then you’re able to look at the reactions of each person is the other person talks that give you a holistic view cause if they’re not cohesive as a team, you will see heads turn in different ways, eyes roll in different ways. And also may be times when they’re correcting each other to the point where it becomes not to correct to give the right information, but correct them too, because they don’t necessarily like their perspective.
And that just adds to the fact that you’ve got to do that kind of dig deeper thing now dig deeper because it’s important to you that that team vibe feels right, because you’re going to just be spending quite a bit of your day.
Jack: I like that a lot. And that’s something maybe else you also ask, you know, if let’s say you’re interviewing, Hey, is it okay if I sit down with his group and get a sense of everything you mentioned, but then also feel if I’m going, if I’m working remote by myself, Hey, now I’ve know these people.
So I have my core group that I can go to and brainstorm with and not feel so alone, and then just feel part of something. So that’s, that’s a good, that’s a good thing to ask. So to ask the nuts and bolts. Of what they’re doing for somebody who’s going to be remote, but then also to see, Hey, who are my peers?
Can I really get to know them so I can make sure I’m, I’m not on an island by myself. Right. And that goes to your initial question about how you can get people together and be enthused about it. Because now you’re like, Hey, I got my team, I got my posse, I got my group, I got my tribe, whatever you want to call it and say, Hey, this is awesome.
All right. I feel good. You know, I might be sitting by myself, but you know what, I know I can just hit the zoom call and Mark’s going to be on there. And that guy, Scott will be on there, you know, and you know, you know, Kyle and so forth.
Mark: And you know, just people will have to be a whole lot more thoughtful for them to leverage the opportunity they’re going to get interviewing.
I know we could talk more about it, but you know, right. Who’s online. So everybody knows Jack Kelley, founder of WeCruitr.io, check out his Forbes column, UC content 3, 4, 5 times a week. You’ll love it. And also catches future of work live stream that is every day now.