Updated: Mar 30
There's no sugar coating it - we're all doing it tough; the Corona virus has changed our way of life for the indefinite future. I hope to use this article to deliver some messages of hope, as well as provide some ideas for how you can remain productive during these times, especially if your job relates to BIM.
Even if businesses close down, it's important our minds stay open.
Over the past couple of years I've grown a large network on LinkedIn, just over 4000 connections currently. One of the benefits of this is that I get to see how other aspiring and current BIM Manager's careers are growing - however there is a dark side to this also; I'm also seeing many get laid off.
Just this morning, I scrolled through my feed and saw no less than 3 BIM Managers (totalling 20+ years of experience) with no desk to return to tomorrow.
A message to the companies
I want to assure you this isn't going to be an article that aims to chastise companies conducting layoffs. As a small business, I can only just begin to comprehend the financial pressure placed on larger organizations by the Corona virus. There are likely many factors that have lead to companies deciding they can't carry their employees, and I hope these decisions are made with heavy hearts each time.
Having said that, it can be all too easy to dismiss the 'non-billables' as the 'non-essentials' during times like this; much of what BIM Managers do isn't always obvious until it's not covered when things hit the fan. Take a moment to remember who likely set up the remote working infrastructure you now use (e.g. BIM360) before you take drastic measures.
Consider offering reduced hours in place of cutting key staff loose altogether - a part time job is better than no job. Once this all passes you will no doubt need these types of staff back quickly, so holding onto them in some capacity benefits all parties (and establishes a 2-way bridge of loyalty that cannot be built by a hiring process).
A message to the BIM Managers
Whether you're nervously sitting at your desk or have just been evicted from yours, I advise you all to remain mentally productive - our brain is our strongest weapon. Each day on LinkedIn I see many free courses being offered in response to the times we are experiencing; take full advantage of these. It's usually difficult to find opportunities to up-skill during the busy times, so make the most of the quiet ones.
If you're unfamiliar with visual coding and programming languages, prioritize these skills as they are usually the most difficult ones to learn in a disruptive environment. There are many free or fairly cheap courses online that teach these programs - worse comes to worse feel free to check out my Youtube channel.
Stay hopeful for your future; your skills are valuable and will be needed again. Keep your network active, this way when the time comes you can easily find opportunities again - companies will be hiring.
If you need consolation or just general advice, I'm always here to chat as a seasoned BIM professional. I can be reached via LinkedIn or firstname.lastname@example.org for non-business matters. I'll always do my best to help those in need; it is part of what motivated be to begin my own consulting business after all.
A message to the graduates and job seekers
I understand what you're going through. When I first searched for work, we had only really just finished recovering from the global financial crisis of 2009 - market confidence was still quite low. Of the 50 firms I applied to, only 1 got back to me.
Remain patient if possible, and fall back on whatever support systems are available to you; whether they be family, friends or government. Just as I suggested to the BIM Managers, you should also up-skill where possible to bolster your resume; reduce your social media time in place of focused learning.
Hold onto your hope for the future, and for the world you are about to enter into professionally.
A message to small business owners
It's a bit of an awkward time, right? Hopefully you still have a small stream of client work keeping you active, but no doubt you've found yourself with more spare time on your hands than you were hoping for (and maybe your rent is feeling a bit more pressing than before).
Use this time to build your business infrastructure; hone your templates, review CRM and accounting platforms and gild your books for tax time - when everything is full steam you'll be thanking yourself for it!
Keep in touch with your clients, even if they're not currently looking for any work from you. Once business picks up again, there will no doubt be a lot of catch-up opportunities available from some of them, and in my experience they always appreciate your keeping tabs on their needs during these challenging times.
Hang in there, and remember there's no shame in shelving a business to come back to when the market is able to support it again.
A general message of hope
If any those you know are directly affected by the virus itself, I wish them good health and that they pull through their predicaments.
Hang in there! This time will pass, and we'll get through it more easily by supporting one another - try not to buy into media hype, and look out for your fellow people in your everyday life. Respect social distancing, and don't be afraid to tell others they should as well!
Above all, stay safe. We look forward to working with more of you once this is all just a distant memory of 2020.
- Gavin Crump @BIM Guru
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