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Silvia Forés

At the end of the year it is something of a classic to “weigh up the good and the bad”, as a song goes that has been played to death over the last few days, and in 2020, a year marked by the pandemic, reflection is more necessary than ever.

When we weigh things up we tend to focus outwards: what has happened in this terrible year, how the politicians have dealt with the situation, what health measures have been adopted, how damaged the economy has been in 2020, and a long list of outward-looking reflections.

Yet I feel that it is no less important to weigh things up looking towards one’s inner self. What have we done during this tough year? Some lucky ones will say they have been able to carry on working, with many difficulties, but at least they have kept their job. Others have been hard hit by the loss of loved ones. Others have looked on, utterly powerless, as their businesses, and sometimes their dreams, fell apart. We have all been emotionally affected in one way or another.

Sadly, a large number of people have lost their jobs and others are trapped in temporary layoffs that are dragging on and on

When I talk of an inner weighing up, I am referring not so much to what has happened to us but rather how we have reacted, and to this end we need to exercise great honesty in order to analyse ourselves objectively.

Sadly, a large number of people have lost their jobs and others are trapped in temporary layoffs that are dragging on and on. What have those who have lost their livelihood done over these months? At first it looked like it would soon be over; in some cases it may even have been taken as a halt along the way to rest for a while, something that is quite legitimate, but as the months have passed – and herein lies the real exercise of reflection – I think one must ask oneself: Have I taken advantage of the time to emerge stronger than before?

There is much talk of employability. In my opinion these months of forced shutdown have been a golden opportunity to improve people’s employability. Here I don’t mean job hunting. Temporary suspension of a contract does not amount to losing one’s job, but rather remaining on standby in order to go back to it when circumstances allow, even if some people may have opted to seek new job horizons.

This opportunity to improve your employability to which I am referring involves taking advantage of the time to train yourself, so that when the time comes you are a better worker, better prepared to face the challenges of your own job.

Employability coronavirus
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People often complain about lack of time for training. In this pandemic, from my point of view, if someone has been unable to work, unless they have been ill or engaged in looking after their family or performing essential social tasks, they will have had plenty of time on their hands. And what is the other element in the equation? Willpower. Willpower and an urge to read, to study, to analyse what trends are affecting the labour market, what skills we need to improve if we want to be more competitive in this fierce world of employment which, although it might seem paralysed right now, is in fact advancing at breakneck speed.

These months of forced shutdown have been a golden opportunity to improve people’s employability

Companies have been in the spotlight during the pandemic. Many have reacted in excess of their employees’ expectations both in the workplace and at home, and have provided them with multiple opportunities to improve their capabilities.

However, be it as it may, here what matters is one’s own attitude, rather than the quantity or quality of the training opportunities provided by each company. Learning can be done on one’s own initiative in countless ways.

For many years I had a German teacher who used to say: a good pupil learns always. I am convinced that this is the case. Learning is an attitude in life, but watch out: it is becoming a survival kit on this long journey that is our working life, and, like the furniture sold by a famous chain store, you have to assemble that kit yourself. And bearing this well in mind, now each of us must do that honest inner weighing up of the year 2020 that I mentioned at the beginning of this article.

Happy New Year

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