The coronavirus pandemic will have a lasting impact on the future of work. Over 16 million US workers have transitioned to working from home, a new category of careers has been born under the title “essential workers,” and the average American has now begun to stream online content for 8 hours or more each day.
It’s safe to say that the traditional definition of career development has been put to rest. But, now we are all left to wonder, what will replace it, and how will we evolve?
We sat down with Amanda Brown, Assistant Director of Career Enhancement & Employer Relations at Northwestern University to hear her perspective on all things career development, student-athlete engagement, and the future of work.
Q: What’s been one silver lining, bright spot, or powerful story you’ve experienced with or through your athletes over the past few months?
“I’ve seen an unbelievable sense of resiliency from our student-athletes, a completely different type than they’ve had to embrace before.
Despite the circumstances and many summer internships being canceled, I’ve been encouraged by the Northwestern Community and family that has come together, receiving genuine outreach from our alum, asking“what can I do to help?”.
Q: What trends have you seen across the industry as it relates to programming, communication, and support structures for athletes through COVID?
“A more candid approach to providing advice — the pandemic really humbled people and opened doors for a sense of transparency and humility, creating space for real conversations from administrators and alum to students”.
“Everyone has been impacted in some way and everyone can relate in some fashion, there is more common ground than ever before. Being okay not being okay has become much more acceptable”.
“From a career development perspective, I’ve seen and heard an overall message of how to leverage the virtual world. Everything from “how can students leverage this time and experience” to navigating (fill in the blank) in the virtual world”.
“There has been an exponential amount of resources that have been provided by people while we are all still learning”.
Q: Which trends do you think will fade? What do you think will stick moving forward?
“Engaging in a virtual world will become a normal part of the conversation from both the student and employer side”.
“Employers will come back around and jobs will begin to open up, but our conversations will be different in the future.”
Q: What’s one workshop, program, or subject matter you previously hadn’t considered — but are now considering implementing?
“How do we help athletes accept or decline job offers/employment decisions virtually?
What do you do when you can’t see or experience the environment, people, culture of an organization? Educating students for full-time, internship, and grad school opportunities virtually has been a unique challenge because the answer may be different for everyone”.
Q: As it relates to athletes you work with, what has emerged to be the strongest need for support through COVID?
“Reassurance that everything is going to be okay”.
This summer is going to have a big asterisk next to it. You are not alone, but what are you going to do to create your summer experience. What story are you going to tell? People respond differently when the pressure is on, being able to provide the right support and resources for the person first and athlete second is critical”.
Q: When thinking about the future of work and organizations post-COVID, what do you believe is one essential skill for today’s athlete’s to cultivate and grow to experience success in their careers?
“The ability to build relationships and build teams remotely”.
“Organizations are getting creative with everything from happy hours and virtual coffee chats to combat feelings of isolation and transaction. We are all working to foster a sense of comradery and group feeling of achieving a common goal — which is what makes sports so special”.
Interested in connecting with Amanda? Check out the great work taking place through NU For Life — (@NUforLife)
“Inside The Lab” features perspectives of community members and sports industry experts within both professional and collegiate sports.
Each feature covers different aspects including adapted programming, communication, and support structures for athletes through COVID & recent events, blending theory into practice for athlete development professionals, best practices in social justice education and empowerment for athletes, and perspectives on the future of athlete development.
Written by the community, for the community.
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