Now I Really Know How You Feel. I was Happier Not Knowing

The impact of the Coronavirus pandemic has hit as close to home as can be. Because of the pandemic, my wife, Gwyneth, may no longer be able to practice her profession. In fact, her entire profession may be going down the tubes. At least for now.

Like many of my clients, Gwyn has to explore her career options. Unlike many of my clients, this is an involuntary exploration; most clients come to me voluntarily because they want jobs they actually enjoy.

Gwyn loves her job. She has a Masters Degree in Gerontology and 22 years experience in the field. She does geriatric care management, assisted living placement and nursing home marketing. She helps seniors and their families explore their residence options when they can no longer live on their own.

She meets with seniors and family members in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and private homes to assess their situations. She can no longer do this. She can’t see people in hospitals because the hospitals are generally not letting outside professionals into their facilities for fear of contagion. The nursing homes are wary of admitting new patients for the same reason. The assisted living facilities are in the same boat. Even home care agencies are impacted, because a homecare worker may be a carrier or go into the home of someone who is infected.

The senior care industry is in a true mess – I don’t know how else to describe it. This will eventually change when the virus runs its course, but who knows how long that will be? There are many healthcare marketing and admissions professionals who are going to be unable to practice their trade and will need to find new careers.

My wife, like my clients, is very smart and very accomplished within her field. But she doesn’t know about the transferability of her skills. Like many of my clients, she is wondering about what else she can do with 20+ years of experience, what else is out there for her, how can she maintain her income and so on. She is wondering if her training, her graduate degree and two decades of experience will all be wasted. She is asking the same questions of herself that my clients ask of themselves. It is a scary, uncertain time for her.

My expertise is career change; I can help my lawyer clients, but I can’t really help my wife. I know diddly squat about the transferable skills of her profession. When it comes to the transferability of the skills used by lawyers and executives with 20+years of experience, I have substantial knowledge and can help them find new career paths. I am a subject matter expert. But that very specific knowledge is not going to help my wife.

I always understood, from an intellectual standpoint, why the thought of a career change can be so intimidating. I intellectually understood why so many lawyers fear change, because they know they are competent and know what they are doing in their profession, but don’t know what’s involved in something new. I intellectually understood why they were so uncomfortable not knowing what else is out there for them that leverages their skills but applies them in new ways, and still generates a good income. I understood all of this intellectually.

Now I am living it. I liked it better before.

— Bruce Blackwell