I am Jade, a music producer, and vocalist from Australia. I am relatively new to the artist role having only started in 2018, however, I have been a part of the music industry my entire life – growing up around the family-owned audio/visual production company where I then worked part-time for most of the last 12 years. My primary profession, in stark contrast, is ten years in a large-scale corporate environment in the field of statistics, primarily undertaking roles in Business Strategy. I have experience in corporate planning, communications, policy, legislation, training, business continuity and of particular note here, I am certified in risk management.
My experience means I’ve been reflecting a lot on the information being circulated regarding COVID-19, analysing the responses on individual and national levels, and thinking about what could be done to prevent or reduce the risks. In doing so, two things have become evident. Firstly, misinformation really could have the ability to kill people – perhaps being much more deadly than the virus itself. Secondly, risk-based decision-making using quality information will enable effective responses that could save them in a crisis.
The next few months will see many people unemployed – a real crisis in itself. Despite all, there are still opportunities which could be leveraged at the intersection between industry need and employment loss, such as:
- There are educators (freelance, schools, universities, tutors, etc.) who are now having to rapidly-produce online content for their entire curriculum, as well as companies needing rapidly implemented audio/visual capabilities to support remote work, all which could be assisted by the thousands of audio/visual technicians with no jobs due to the entertainment industry collapsing.
- There are factories now required to increase production on essentials like milk, bread, etc. and thousands of people left jobless in the hospitality industry.
- There are hospitals now overrun with people, and major events staff trained and experienced in the safe and orderly management of large amounts of people who’s next six months’ worth of work disappeared overnight.
- There’s those in emergency services (doctors, nurses, police, etc.) now working double time when childcare services are closing down, and teachers/tutors, etc., and not to mention the childcare workers themselves, could adapt to practice at-home and one-to-one childcare.
If you’re faced with job uncertainty, it is so important to think long-term about what the future ‘might’ look like, and how you ‘might’ manage that future and not just how things are now. Planning ahead will reduce your risks, alleviate stress and build confidence so you’re less likely to panic because, as always, we can adjust and adapt. There’s likely a lot more to gain from adapting to the new environment than there is trying to re-create your past one, for example, a music industry professional affected by canceled shows attempting to get more shows vs.:
- Utilising the audio engineers now without work to assist you in recording as much content as you can now, so you can continue to deliver and maintain your presence despite live shows
- Boosting your portfolio by getting unfinished tracks mastered now by audio engineers needing the same portfolio boost to distribute online
- Producing mixes on to CD’s/other formats in case online distribution services face reductions in capacity and go down themselves.
Some actions you can take now which will improve your situation in the future might be:
- If you’ve lost work, do not rely solely on finding more work specific to your skills and experience as it may take you twice as long compared to migrating temporarily into another field. As per the above, there are many industries that will suffer due to being under-resourced where you could be needed.
- If you are or know of, someone with access to large groups in particular industries, be the person who starts an ’I can help with…’ and ‘I need help with…’ register.
- Explore the opportunities available to you to do training and get certified in things such as first aid, crisis response, IT support, childcare, etc.
- There will be hesitation to deal with any persons not appearing to have high standards of hygiene and favour given to those who are knowledgeable in health-related risk management. If you can, go and do some courses on Work, Health and Safety or hygiene best practice (free, quick and simple ones even), and print yourself off some certificates. Those certificates may be the difference between someone choosing you over someone else.
- It will be virtual service offerings that will survive here the longest, providing the infrastructure is there to allow for it. Think about what kinds of strengths you have, and whether they can be captured in video/online format in some way, and consider having some content that you can use in the event you are only able to work from home.
- If you can allow for it, make sure you are fully 100% functional in a virtual environment. This is paramount, as it may be your only professional environment at some point, so make sure you act now and master it before you’re needed to be efficient in it. Programs like www.notion.com, www.todoist.com are free platforms for online info management – get to know them, and read their articles.
- Consider speaking to remote-work training providers like Remote-How or freelance remote-work consultants about what they can do for you.
- In all cases, get your hard drives sorted out and fully stocked with your valuable work now so you’re prepared should online IT services fail you.
Larger-scale initiatives are what is really needed here nonetheless. There are already multiple organisations who are gathering information on things like canceled events and closed businesses to inform the requests for financial aid. In addition, to reduce the unemployment itself, opt-in skill & capability registers of those now jobless could be developed and shared worldwide. This could be used by the industries which are now facing long-term lack of resources (virtual environment service providers, healthcare, online educators, etc.) – mass onboarding is no easy feat., but it’s much easier if the information can be easily accessed. Similarly, the businesses which are likely to have a surge in demand for outputs (eg. Internet service providers, hospitals, manufacturers of home office equipment, home delivery services) should be assisted in managing large-scale recruitment activities and developing communication strategies outlining what they do, who they are and what they need.
Again, the long term implications of this are more likely (in my opinion) to do the real damage as people try to recover, so remember your wider community in times like this. Often, people will act (knowingly or unknowingly, often innocently) in ways detrimental to others in the interests of self-preservation – like panic-buying all available groceries leaving none for those who are unable to get to shops or don’t have the salary to spend on bulk rolls of toilet paper, despite the fact that it’s the disadvantaged with less access to hygiene products who are more likely to spread infections. Be the person that distributes some to them. It is elderly or unwell who are more likely to have serious complications from viral infections and who will require priority medical assistance meaning resources are diverted from things like providing you with testing and quarantines if you get sick. So, make sure those members of the community are safe, supported and comfortably kept away from crowds. If you want to act to ‘protect only your own self’, well indeed it is supporting those who cannot protect themselves which will do exactly that.
safe, and supported.
With all this information circulating, it’s difficult to know what’s true and what isn’t. But remember, it is true that the media industry is built on the premise of making a profit from the provision of content and the more engaging the content, the bigger the profit becomes. It is also true that high-impact dramatisation of events, the incitement of fear, and misrepresentation for effect can make a story more engaging. I do not intend on stating fact or fiction here, but I urge you to use credible sources of information and fact check every statistic you can before deciding to act in any way as a result of it.
Mostly, think about what things you can do now which will help you in the future and respect that maybe none of us know precisely what will happen, but if you have enough knowledge to inform you should as things change and help offer guidance and reduce stress.