When the pandemic hit last year, Andrea Palermo said her sense of stability was suddenly shattered.
“It was definitely scary,” she said.
Her job as a patient care coordinator at a dental office was in limbo, she said, after the office shut down for two months.
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“I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do,” she said.
That’s when Andrea decided it was time for a change and focused on learning everything she needed to grow her beauty business - from how to build her own website to marketing.
She even took a course at the Brow Effect – a Miami-based eyebrow salon.
“A lot of people right now are trying to reinvent themselves,” said Lisandra Rodriguez, the Brow Effect’s owner.
Lisandra told NBC 6 she had seen an increase in the number of people interested in taking the courses she offers.
“Before the pandemic, we only used to do it like maybe every other weekend,” she said. “Now, we’re doing them basically every weekend because we have such a demand for these classes.”
Lisandra said most of her students are women, looking for new ways to make money after facing financial uncertainty during the pandemic.
“I have a lot of students who are nurses,” she said. “I’ve had a few people from the travel industry, like flight attendants. I even had a pilot a few weekends ago who took the course because she’s trying to find new ways because they cut her hours.”
According to a January Pew Research Center survey of unemployed adults, a third said they were pursuing job retraining programs or educational opportunities. Two-thirds said that since losing their jobs, they had seriously considered changing their occupation or field of work.
“Even as people are dealing with unemployment, even as they’re dealing with job loss, they’re looking ahead and saying, ‘How do I position myself better for the future?’” said Ravi Gajendran, an associate professor at Florida International University’s business school.
Gajendran said when things are going well, most people are not actively considering shifting careers.
“But when this crisis is forced on us and people are out of a job, they begin to reevaluate their choices,” he said.
Andrea, meanwhile, said it took the pandemic to get her to where she is today.
“I think having that downtime allowed me to really research and get everything in order,” she said.
She told NBC 6 she is working full-time at her beauty business, after quitting her job at the dental office.
“I am very blessed to say that I am booked out about a month,” she said.
She also said she had no regrets about her decision.
“I wake up every single day like this,” she said smiling. “Happy. Happy that I get to do what I love and that I get to make people happy.”
If you’ve been furloughed or laid off, Gajendran said now is the time to invest in yourself. Take advantage of online classes and maybe even try something new. He said you should try using this crisis as an opportunity to explore options you might not have considered before.