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How lockdown could literally change your life

PUBLISHED: 06:00 20 April 2020

Male high school teacher with student using an interactive whiteboard. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Male high school teacher with student using an interactive whiteboard. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Archant

Christine Webber says many of her friends are thinking of completely overhauling their lives after lockdown. Although this phase of our lives has been very challenging, perhaps there is a chance to turn it into something truly radical?

Some years ago, I worked on a survey of over 2,000 people which looked at the impact of holidays on day to day life.

It turned out that our fortnight in the sun really gets us thinking and spurs us on to make significant lifestyle changes.

* 40% of respondents said that holidays allow quality time to discuss important matters

* 54% claimed to have made major alterations to their lives because of discussions they had on holiday

* 28% who discussed changing jobs while on holiday, took action when they got home

This set me thinking. If a relatively short vacation can cause such a shake-up, what might the effect of ‘lockdown’ be on our futures?

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Certainly, it’s clear from social media, and conversations with friends and family, that lots of us are enjoying elements of the current situation and are trying to work out how these can be retained when normal life resumes.

As a lawyer friend of mine told me: ‘I’ve seen more of my kids in the last four weeks than I have in the whole of their lives and I’m not prepared now to go back to that old routine where I leave before they’re up and come home after they’re in bed. I’ve missed so much of their childhoods and I won’t do it anymore. I’ve been amazed at what I can achieve working from home, and though in the future I’ll still need to be in the office some days a week, I realise now I don’t need to be there all day every day.’

Undoubtedly many individuals are thinking along the same lines. Some though are realising that it isn’t just aspects of their jobs that are wrong, but the jobs themselves. And a common theme is emerging, which is that many of us want to spend the rest of our working lives being more useful.

Here are some of the examples I know about. I’ve changed names but the other details are accurate.

1. Lisa is a sales assistant – currently furloughed by her company. She’s in her late forties, married with two grown up children. Like much of the nation, Lisa has been impressed and inspired by the work of NHS staff during the coronavirus outbreak. ‘It’s made me want to train as a nurse, so I’m looking at various websites to find out how to do it,’ she says.

I’m sure Lisa isn’t alone in considering a career in the NHS. And there are plenty to choose from – I read recently that there are more than 350 different occupations within the service. So, if you’re interested, take a look at https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk. As you’ll discover, the NHS values the skills that older people with careers in other fields can transfer to them.

2. John works in a bank. When he was younger, his parents told him it would be a job for life. But he’s seen many colleagues made redundant and banking no longer feels a safe option, or indeed very interesting. He’s got a degree in Maths from the Open University and he wonders if, at 50, he’s too old to train as a teacher. Absolutely not! These days, with us all working longer, he could have 20 years in his new profession. In fact, older adults than John are making the move into the classroom, and you can actually get a student loan up to the age of 60.

There’s a lot of information on the internet about second-career teachers. Try: https://getintoteaching.education.gov.uk/ and https://nowteach.org.uk/

It’s also worth remembering that there are opportunities to become teaching assistants too – and again, being older is not a drawback.

3. Finally, Ted works for a big insurance company. Before the lockdown he was feeling so bored with his job that he was considering taking early retirement. In a kind of way, having to work at home for the past few weeks has seemed to him like a dress rehearsal for retirement, and he’s discovered he doesn’t like it at all! As a divorced man living by himself, he’s finding the experience lonely and depressing. So, he’s done a lot of thinking and decided he’d like to be a bus driver. This sounds like a good solution for someone who enjoys being around people. Obviously, Ted will need a clean licence and will have to undergo training as well as regularly pass a medical. But other than that, there should be nothing to stop him. Learn more here: https://www.gov.uk/become-lorry-bus-driver

We must never forget that for many individuals 2020 will forever be remembered as a year of tragedy and loss. But despite that very sad fact, let’s allow ourselves to be glad that the human spirit is resilient – and that so many people are using this bizarre episode to work out what they want from the rest of their lives.


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