All The New Jobs

Did you ever think you’d train for a job as a temperature taker?

That’s just one of the many jobs that have been created thanks to COVID-19, and is partly what has kept employees on the job, thanks to cross-training. Businesses have stepped up in myriad ways to adjust to the impact felt by the coronavirus and accompanying changes to their business models. New jobs are one of them.

It appears to be more than a numbers game. Those who keep track of these things report millions of jobs added over the summer, although others offset it with language such as, “The figure may reflect both an improving labor market and a new methodology used by the Labor Department.” I just scratch my head and go to work.

Numbers aside, the nation is definitely creating new job titles out of the pandemic. While some of the old jobs may not be viable, at least for now (think restaurant server), new jobs (think contact tracer, health monitor, workplace engineer) have picked up the pace.

These new job titles are causing people to rethink their resumes and adjust their skills. New classes and educational offerings are in the mix, as well.

One of the new titles I saw recently is “Pandemic Health Planner.” Who, prior to 2020, would have put that as a job goal, or had a school counselor tell them, “You know what? You’d be a great Pandemic Health Planner?” No one. And yet, now it’s a viable option, and businesses are hiring for those skills.

Tutor is another growth job title, as parents seek alternatives to public school. Face Mask Sewer. Outdoor Fitness Trainer. E-Learning Developer. Remote or Virtual everything.

There are also new categories that aren’t necessarily COVID-created, such as Cannabis Cultivator. People Operations Coordinator. Cloud Security Architect.

There was a time when we wanted to become nurses, doctors, teachers, and journalists. We didn’t work remotely, didn’t—couldn’t—aspire to jobs we’d never heard of. CEOs were just “bosses,” and the best opportunities for women, in particular, were usually prefaced with the word “assistant.”

Years ago, I was a bit amazed when I found out how many people were actually paid to play video games. For some people, that morphed into eSports and they began making real money from online competition. I also learned about “White Hat Hackers” who turned their hacking skills to good, working for criminal investigations to uncover the things others were trying to cover up. These were likely not jobs talked about in high school Career Day twenty years ago.

Just as we learned that foodservice jobs do not relegate you to a choice of chef or server—but that there are thousands of jobs that all contribute to getting meals on the table—we’re now learning how jobs grow out of need. Technology, of course, plays a big part.

Maybe it’s COVID-19’s influence, or maybe we are coming out of our job-induced rut and re-examining job functions, or perhaps a little of both. We are combining cultural events proactively to create solutions.

The best part of new job creation is that they can replace jobs that have been lost. What’s more, they are replacing them with jobs that seem more thoughtful, more appropriate, and more focused. These are jobs that require specific skills along with adaptability. It could be the best of all worlds.

As a former adjunct instructor for a university, I spent years telling my students there were more jobs out there than they could even imagine. In an example that obviously dated me, I told them—gasp—that when I was growing up, there was no internet. How, then, could I have ever imagined the career I’ve spent building online content and communicating digitally?

Even more, what can they dream of that hasn’t yet been invented?