Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, employees have continued to get promoted, move jobs, and retire. While compiling the agri jobs Focus, we found that positions continued to be filled in the agri sector, despite COVID-19.

While recruitment during a pandemic is not an impossible task, there are additional complications to be overcome. With social distancing there is no “firm handshake” first impression and it is hard to fully gauge a person through a screen. From the new employee perspective, the complications continue. Several friends of mine have moved jobs since March. They have either never met their colleagues, except in the virtual world or only once briefly met their new boss pre-lockdown. I think of the times when I moved jobs and how someone would bring you to the canteen and do a round of introductions, putting a face to a name.

Over the last couple of months, since our agri careers editor moved on, the rest of the team have been compiling the weekly careers pages bringing a fascinating range of careers to light. This week, our Northern editor, David Wright, met with an old student of his who has travelled the world to end up in the “best farm manager job in Northern Ireland”. This pandemic has impacted differently on people’s working lives. For those of us lucky enough to have worked through it, we are very fortunate and probably looking forward to a Christmas with some trimmings and trappings. But this is not the case for many.

On the way home from her piano lessons last Saturday, my small daughter and I were stopped at a crossroads when a large articulated truck, laden with Christmas trees, whizzed by. That sparked the question: “Should we just get the tree now and inject some Christmas spirit into the house?” I was duly reminded that the purchase of a tree this early would mean a very sad looking tree by 25 December. And as this was more than a fair observation, at least one more “tree-less” week will pass.

While it is too early for the tree, there are some things that need to be planned in advance. Gifts will still be needed but many of them will need to be bought online this year. Aside from the fantastic selection of gifts that Janine has pulled together for our gift guide, she also has some tips on how to avoid being defrauded. I saw a statistic recently about the amount of money the owners of Amazon, and other online shopping options, made over the course of the pandemic. The negative figure lost by small business in the same period was beside it. It was a shocking disparity and transfer of wealth. Jeff Bezos does not need your money, but your local shop really really does. There is definitely something in the gift guide for everyone. A lot of the products are Irish made or Irish-company owned. Indeed, I found it hard to move past the first page and I have circled a few things that might end up being “Happy Christmas Amii, from Amii”.

Last week, when I wrote about Bloody Sunday, Mick Hogan and the GAA, I could but hope and pray for a Munster final football final win for Tipperary. The fact it came to be, gives me hope that there is yet good to come from 2020.

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