New Publication: The COVID-19 Crisis as a Career Shock

September 7, 2020

In a recently published essay in the Journal of Vocational Behavior, Julia Richardson, Maria Kraimer, and I reflect on the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on people's careers from the perspective of career shocks. Specifically, we argue that the pandemic constitutes a major career shock for many people, and we draw three key lessons from the literature on career shocks. Most notably, we conclude that the context in which careers evolve are critical to take into account, that temporal processes need to be considered, and that this major shock does not always have to result in negative outcomes for people's careers.

Curious to read the full article? It is available HERE and published open access, thus freely available to anyone. The abstract of the paper appears below.

The covid-19 pandemic is a career shock for many people across the globe. In this article, we reflect on how insights from the literature on career shocks can help us understand the career consequences of the pandemic and offer suggestions for future research in this area. In particular, we offer three “key lessons”. The first lesson is that the implications of Covid-19 reflect the dynamic interplay between individual and contextual factors. Here, we argue that although the pandemic was difficult to predict and control, research shows that certain psychological resources – such as career competencies and resilience – could make this career shock more manageable. The second lesson is that the pandemic may have differential implications over time, as suggested by research that has shown the consequences of career shocks to differ between short-term vs. long-term time horizons, and across life- and career stages. The third lesson is that, even though the pandemic is clearly a negatively valenced shock for most people, further into the future it may allow for more positive outcomes. This lesson builds on research showing how negative career shocks have long-term positive consequences for some people. We hope that these insights will inspire both scholars and practitioners to study and understand the work and career implications of Covid-19 as a career shock, as well as to support people in dealing with its consequences.

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