Although it’s only January, the year 2021 is already providing its share of challenges.  Global Covid-19 infections are rising at an alarming rate and lockdowns continue to disrupt family, social and business life; the US Presidential election fall-out has escalated to storming of the Capitol by angry citizens, and trade tensions continue between China and Australia… BUT, there’s plenty to be excited about this year. 

Here’s my top three reasons why I’m optimistic.

1) Opportunistic optimism

The word “opportunistic” can stir negative connotations, but not for me.  For me, it means grabbing opportunities when they arise.  And they do arise frequently.  As a leader at Optimum Consulting Group, I’ve got tremendous opportunities right now including:

  • Growing my Recruitment team to support the employment recovery here in Australia;
  • Developing my team and broadening their skills to provide career development;
  • Challenging the status quo of how we operate – re-thinking how we work, where we work and what services our customers most value;
  • Partnering with clients to support and improve their staffing practices.

Opportunities come and go and if you stand still you can miss out.  My view is to seize opportunities that align with your goals and take action to turn them into reality.

2) The inherent goodness of people

My second reason for being optimistic, is most people are inherently good and want to do the right thing.  This month is the 10th anniversary of Brisbane’s devastating 2011 floods.  I recall this period vividly, because my son was born at this time, when thousands and thousands of Brisbane residents joined the “mud army”.  People hopped on buses armed with brooms, mops and cleaning equipment, to go and help strangers across the city, who’d seen their homes and businesses damaged.  It was an awe inspiring demonstration of how people are wired to help when needed.

Despite the anger fueled flare ups we’ve seen across the world at various stages throughout the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve also seen tremendous examples of the human spirit and the power of collegial efforts.  The frontline emergency service personnel providing care to the sick have been, and continue to be, incredible.  The international collaboration on medical research projects, has demonstrated that collective effort can result in amazing achievement, if we look beyond parochial limitations.

In the workplace, we’ve been reminded of the value of social engagement.  The ‘work from home’ era has really taken off, yet we’re reminded that work provides so much more than a salary.  It is through our interaction with others and working with good people, where many of us derive our job satisfaction.  Additionally, we’ve been reminded of the value of holding a job, during a time when many lost theirs.

3) Recovery

The winds of recovery, both medical and economic, are now blowing.  Vaccination rollouts have begun in various countries and Australia joins the queue next month.  Sure, it will take some time for the bulk of the population to be inoculated, but it’s begun.  There is now light at the end of the tunnel, that was harder to see in 2020.

The economic recovery is also underway.  The Australian economy took a battering last year, but things started to improve in the October to December quarter.  The job outlook has picked up positive pace over the past few months with some sectors expecting to hire actively this year.  At Optimum, our job order numbers have increased significantly over the past few months and we are set for a strong start to the year.

And what about the sport!

For a sports fan like me, 2021 is super exciting with loads of contests to look forward to… the Ashes Cricket in Australia, the V8 Supercars and the upcoming AFL and NRL seasons to name a few.

I hope you have reasons to be optimistic and are looking forward to the year ahead.

Ben Walsh

Ben is General Manager – Recruitment at Optimum Consulting Group, an Australian employment advisory firm.  He has been actively recruiting and managing teams for twenty years, with industry experience gained in Australia, Canada and Ireland.

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