Conveyancers – do you have a Plan B?
“Success in life is not how well we execute Plan A; it’s how smoothly we cope with Plan B”.
On Friday 13th March 2020 I was made redundant. I was no longer part of a plot sales team working with national and SME house builders to hit Target Exchange Dates. I’d stopped playing any part in the success of the construction industry.
Plan B was in place. I had interviews lined up, including one for a role which was a perfect fit for my skill set. The future was looking great and I viewed redundancy as a blip which I could handle. Then, like a polar ice cap, interviews melted away; offices shut and job boards went blank.
Covid-19 lockdown loomed and was announced. I had no job prospects.
Over the next few months, I hate to think of the number of people who will join me in the world of unemployment. The construction sector has predicted what is coming, backed up by a cross-industry ‘People Survey’ carried out by Build UK on behalf of the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) at the start of June 2020. This survey provided a valuable snapshot of how a reduced workload post COVID-19 may affect the construction workforce. The statistics set out in the report make for alarming reading including that
- On average, 32% of direct employees are currently furloughed.
- 60% of companies expect to take on fewer apprentices at the next intake in September.
- 43% of apprentices are currently furloughed.
- 43% of respondents anticipate making redundancies.
Combining the figures in the report shows an anticipated reduction in the construction workforce of 9.9% by September. That’s not far away, so currently it’s very hard to be positive.
Brexit impacted the number of conveyancing transaction in 2019, but the “Boris Bounce” gave some market confidence going in to the start of 2020. As construction re-starts, social distancing on development sites plus difficulties sourcing materials will impact on completed plot volumes. This has a knock-on effect for conveyancers.
It’s possible that you need to think about a Plan B. If you do, then you could start planning by thinking about
- What sets you apart?
- If you have the skills that will make you stand out in a tight job market?
- If not, in what areas do you need to upskill?
- Can you access the resources to upskill?
- Answering this question at interview, “What did you do during the Covid-19 pause?”
After a month of redundancy and staying at home, all positivity deserted me. I’d been reading books about coping with redundancy, but pandemic job-hunting advice wasn’t covered. Action was needed. Harnessing the power of Google, I found there was so such free training on offer for upskilling and transferrable skills that I wondered where to start. I booked on a webinar hosted by BT Skills for Tomorrow.
This webinar confirmed what I already suspected, that pivoting is the new business normal and a fundamental part of business strategy. This resonated with me. It was time to create my own opportunities. I knew this would be a process and would not happen overnight.
I compiled a Plan C (Covid-19) list. My priorities were to improve my LinkedIn profile and posts; work on my CV; to virtually network to be visible and make new connections; to understand remote working; to keep up to date about how Covid-19 was impacting the real estate sector and to learn something fun!
Utilising free resources, I’ve now completed this list. I’ve spent £7.19 on a domain name and built my fledgling remote locum business a simple website. Today I’m excited because the site has had the first click through Google! My rudimentary attempt at Search Engine Optimization which I knew nothing about a month ago has worked.
I’ve learnt so much in the last six weeks and made brilliant contacts. I’m now “out there” and visible, to offer law firms a remote locum real estate lawyer option and provide flexibility whilst transaction levels are uncertain.
Throughout July I’ll be posting regularly on LinkedIn to share tips, ideas and resources about upskilling and events, which I hope will help you to work towards your Plan B.
 Sarah Ban Breathnach
Image by jburson from pixabay.com