The pandemic of 2020 has provided ample opportunity for those of us who need time to think and process to do just that. It’s been a time where the chance to do good work in the moment cannot be lost and has given me the time to think more deeply about such lofty things. Indeed, the pauses are essential and this pause has been one forced upon so many, unfortunately with tragic results for way too many.
As hope for a vaccine begins to become more real and a glimpse of what could be a return to something more normal, we have the chance to not only return to what we had before, but to improve on what we do and how we do it. In short, we need to create a present that is less focused on the here and now, and build an existence where the future is just as important as the present.
So much of the resistance happening now to everything designed to keep us safe is rooted in the need for instant gratification that dominates society right now. If we can think about the possibilities the future holds, it makes it much easier to make needed sacrifices now.
Of course, that’s easy for someone like me to say. I’m fortunate to be stable in all areas of life right now. It’s not as easy for those struggling to make ends meet or even to survive from day-to-day. This pause in our normal life has only exasperated the chasm between the haves and the have-nots in our society. This is not good for anyone. We have done an admirable job in privatizing the benefits of our hard work while getting the risk more spread out. This is leading to greater inequities, which do not move us toward any type of sustainable future.
There is a direct impact to the work that HR does in all of this. The demand for a skilled workforce is increasing even faster than the supply of workers with college degrees. This results in rising wage inequality by education levels, and companies facing a skills gap.
So, my challenge to you for 2021 is as follows. What is one thing you can do through your work that creates a present that is focused on the future?