2020 is a year all of us want to forget. And my sympathies to anyone whose health and livelihood, or that of family members, has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been a year of immense struggle, with no bright light at the end of the tunnel yet to be seen.
We’ve lived in a “bubble” in our home this last year; as my readers know, my husband had a heart transplant in 2017 after a virus attacked his heart. Complications from his heart surgery resulted in kidney failure, and now he needs a kidney transplant too! He has a suppressed immune system due to the heart transplant anti-rejection drugs. He is at higher risk of the virus because of his kidney failure. He would most likely have a brutal fight if he were to contract the virus.
However, there have been some bright spots in this time of the worldwide pandemic. With parents working from home, school, and other activities being conducted virtually or canceled altogether, families have once again gathered around the table to enjoy home-cooked meals and conversation.
My two sons, ages 22, and 25 came home to live for about four months during the early days of the shutdowns, and my food budget skyrocketed! After a day of three of us working from home and another attending college online, we would meet at the dinner table to check-in and have a home-cooked meal together.
I was thankful for this time as there will probably never be a time again when we live in the same house for an extended time. Blessings come in strange packages sometimes.
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Another bright spot during this pandemic is the spotlight that has been shined on the grocery industry and the frontline heroes who work in the food supply chain. Despite the risks and fears of contracting the virus, these heroes showed up every day to ensure food distribution and availability continued without disruption.
They worked around the clock to enhance their e-commerce capabilities or develop an e-commerce platform in record time if they had not yet jumped into that distribution channel.
They problem-solved to create safe store environments that included implementing plexiglass checkout dividers, social distancing recommendations and reminders, hand sanitizer stations throughout the store, occupancy limitations, and many more actions shoppers might not have been aware of but which made the shopping experience safer.
The grocery industry is one of the few sectors that has seen growth in sales and job opportunities resulting from this pandemic.
Thankfully, the actions taken by the grocery industry heroes have been recognized and profiled in every news and media outlet and platform.
I am a person who finds the positive in every situation, and there is a silver lining to be thankful for what we have all experienced this past year.
The media focus on our sector and has done more to create awareness of our industry’s career opportunities than what we collectively could have done on our own.
As an industry veteran, I seek out all opportunities to share grocery industry career opportunities with college students. Still, I never could I, or other industry professionals, reach the audience’s breadth and depth these media stories have reached.
Careers in the grocery industry have not been a big blip on the radar screen for those considering their career path. But the favorability of the media received during the last year has demonstrated the flexibility, nimbleness, excitement, proactivity, and opportunities found in the grocery industry.
The media gave our industry great coverage in 2020 due to the pandemic; let’s use our success stories of 2021 to continue a discussion with those seeking an initiative in which they can build a career. What is your role? How can you, and your company, shine a light on the opportunities our industry can offer?