Our valued workforce is currently facing the greatest challenge and adversity in our lifetime. In recent weeks, reports of white flags and suicides have caused great alarm and grief. The situation in households as well as companies across our nation seems grim. Something has to be done fast as a continuous lockdown may not even allow small businesses the capital to reopen again. To the people out there, never ever give up hope.
No doubt for many of us, this is a time of searching, for bread and butter. When the pandemic hit, the world had looked to the west for some kind of vaccine hope as we were just unaccustomed to look within. Most developing countries lacked quite much of the impetus to be able to come up with their own vaccine. We’ve often looked at others. Have we become such a consumer society that we look to other countries for almost everything? Is unpreparedness a choice that we make deliberately?
As the workforce keeps on waiting, there is only one thing that we can do, which is to be a strong individual, take matters into our own hands and help those around us. Here are some thoughts.
You can get great fulfilment when you volunteer. If you can, while waiting for a job, why not become a delivery volunteer for the various food banks, soup kitchens and of course, individual localised movements called the “white flag” who are mobilising food for the needy at this time. You might find that it’s a good thing to be able to go out and drive around to help. This may also help you psychologically as you get out of your zone. Volunteerism comes in many forms but it is one that can make its way into your job resume if a potential employer were to ask you what you’ve been doing these many months.
2. Donate blood
If you can, do this because we know you have it in you. Hospitals have been at a precarious point so blood is always needed. Kindly make sure you’ve been tested, fully vaccinated and consult your doctor if you can donate your blood.
3. Call and check on your circle
Don’t just tweet or post on social media. Call personally and offer words of encouragement, support and lift up the people around you. Charity begins at home.
4. Offer tuition classes
There exist too many school students in the Klang Valley alone who are struggling academically beyond what you or me can honestly understand. You can look within yourself and see what subjects you can teach. The most important part of this is to choose your preferred age group and target their syllabus.
These would be;
1. UPSR syllabus for Primary School.
2. PT3 syllabus for Form 1 to Form 3
3. SPM syllabus for Form 4 to Form 5
4. Cambridge and IGCSE syllabus for those in international schools.
You may have other gifts like teaching piano or guitar. Give it a try while waiting for that next job to come. Most classes these days are via Zoom therefore you may have to get used to sitting in front of a laptop for hours. Offering tuition for less will help your community manage a huge part of that stress of educating students.
5. Make a donation
Yes, we know money is tight, but there are many who are in the shadows now, walking alone. You can be a giver of money or of food and other essentials. Support your local business, especially that auntie who is selling noodles. If she bills you RM5.50 for that packet you bought, just try to pay more and make it a round figure. You’re not buying from her everyday anyway.
You can even donate computers to needy students. Not every home can afford a computer that or a screen that is bigger than 15inches. You might find that even students have developed eye bags now due to hours on end looking and squinting at a tiny screen. If you have one or two lying around, you could give it away.
Research shows that helping people and volunteering has a blessing effect on the giver and makes them happier. Your state of mind will improve and you will have strength to face the future. Depression will not hit you because you’re doing something purposeful. You will also find that you’re now part of a growing movement putting good into the world.
Case in point, depression comes when people lose their sense of purpose. It’s a form of rejection, but it has nothing to do with the one who is having all these feelings. If you’re reading this and you’ve been feeling suicidal, please recognise that you weren’t rejected but rather it’s the virus that has caused this situation.
6. Do you have any other skills?
Are you a trainer or mentor at work? Perhaps you can offer your services to others less experienced than you to improve their chances of landing a job. You can impart your computer skills, management and communication skills to some young people who are desperate for jobs. Perhaps you can even leverage your influence to certify them. This also can be included into your own resume.
7. Call and encourage your boss and team mates
Your employer has been paying out salaries without maximum production over the last year. The pressure is really there. Call personally or send messages to try and pull people up. This is the time when your team really needs each other. You know how to do the rest.
In conclusion, let the people who can make a difference, get creative and keep on starting new initiatives for the safekeeping of their communities. At this time, any form of volunteerism goes a long way. Observe the SOPs, get out there and make a difference, for your own peace of mind too.