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July 1, 2020

COVID-19 upended all of our daily routines. But through this forced transformation has arisen new ideas and ways of doing things. Here Samantha Sheary, business solutions specialist at the San Diego Workforce Partnership, discusses the challenges and opportunities she’s experienced in the last few months.

Headshot of SamHow has your work changed during the pandemic?

 To say my work has changed drastically during the pandemic is an understatement. Before COVID-19, I was overseeing multiple grants and contracts as well as continuously supporting our Layoff Transition services. Layoff Transition services connect employers who are laying off with information and resources for their impacted workers. This service offers an on-site presentation covering topics of job search assistance, career center services, financial planning, Unemployment Insurance and more.

Since all the other aspects of my work were postponed, my main priority shifted to recreating our Layoff Transition services in a remote environment—like the Layoff Transition webinar— and responding to inquiries from employers as well as workers impacted by a layoff.

Once the pandemic hit, and even more so after Governor Newsom’s shelter-in-place order was put into effect, we started to see the affect the pandemic was having on businesses. My team of one turned into a team of four and we were working full-time on responding to the hundreds of employers who were forced to lay off their staff.

The help and support of my colleagues made this vital service accessible to as many people as possible. We have been able to touch over a thousand people in San Diego County that are looking for guidance and answers through their transition.

Any challenges you’ve had to face or overcome while working from home?

 I have been lucky that my transition to working from home has been fairly smooth. I think the biggest challenge came with realizing that I live in a very vibrant and active area in North Park. This can be great for after-hours but can be very disruptive when I have 100 people listening to me speak on a webinar and there is commotion going on outside my window.

I have to stay sensitive to the serious nature of these webinars, like discussing the difficult circumstances many San Diegans have found themselves in and the resources that can help, so it’s important that I find a way to block out the noise coming in from outside.

Have you picked up any new hobbies?

I love being active and exercising! With my gym closed, I turned to running a few miles every day. This is not only my newfound outlet for exercising but also helps with my mental clarity and focus.

I also turned more attention to reading and personal growth. My two favorite books that I have read during the pandemic are Daring Greatly by Brené Brown and The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews.

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