I Declined a Job Because of COVID

Woman having video chat with colleagues at table in office, closeup

It is not often one declines a job. Especially, after three interviews, I was ready to take it. There was one thing nagging me that led me to turn it down. Blame it on COVID.

I recently retired from the “steady” workforce. I was looking for something more on a contract basis. Something I could do for a short period to bring in a little extra income.

I signed up with a few choice employment agencies to start my search. I found one that was interesting- a manager position. I applied and was called for my first interview. It went well. So onto a second interview with the Vice-President. That went well too. And finally a chat with the general manager.

The job offer came in. I became nervous, my gut was telling me something was off. I began to realize that it would take me one bus and two trains to get to the workplace. I was expected to be in the office everyday. There was not work from home option.

Now, you need to understand why I was feeling uncomfortable with this proposal. In 2015, I underwent 3 different cancer surgeries. I am cancer free. However, my health has never been the same since. I am immune compromised.

As this realization came, I understood why I was anxious. I was going to be exposed to so many people. The public who had COVID. I didn’t want to risk my health for a job! I was really uncomfortable.

I declined the offer.

The next day, I receive a survey from one of my employment agencies. It is asking if one would take a job at an office, or refuse if it did not have a remote work option. The fact that they are asking surfaces the issue that this is a big deal. People increasingly don’t want to risk their health for a job. It is a deal breaker to have remote work as a standard practice!

As a result of COVID, we have a Now Normal expectation of remote work. Employers must become more comfortable and competent at managing remote workers. It is about their leadership, keeping staff engaged, resilient, productive, while building relationships.

The ability to manage a remote work force is a new skill. One that can be acquired through personalized courses and workshops from companies like Virtual Team Builders.

The expectations of workers has changed dramatically with the COVID situation. Employers to remain competitive and attract talent need to offer remote work as a standard practice.

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