How will the current work environment evolve post-pandemic?
Media outlets such as The Washington Post and The Atlantic have forecast that businesses will turn to less contact and more remote models, speakers at a webinar organised recently by the EMK Centre said, adding that these forecasts are promising for fine arts careers.
"Careers in creative industries are considered high-skilled. And since high-skilled workers mostly produce knowledge, words, and ideas, their work can be delivered from any location with high-speed internet," they explained.
The EMK Centre, in association with University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (Ulab) and The Business Standard, organised the webinar titled "The Future of Creative Careers in the Post-Pandemic Era" on September 22. The event was arranged as a part of the month-long campaign styled "Future of Work Post Covid-19: Building a Sustainable Post-Pandemic Future for the Youth."
Patrick Williams, who joined the session as a panelist from the United States, said, "I believe creativity is important in all parts of our lives, especially business. I personally believe that a business cannot develop without some connection – without an individual's creativity."
A leading creativity expert, Patrick also said, "We all have creativity inside us. It flows from us as children. In the States, from 0-7 years of age, we are pretty much free to be as creative as we are. But after that, it gets pushed away. I saw how specific children will dive into creativity and others had it, but moved out. I call the loss of creativity the creative colonisation."
Arthy Ahmed, a renowned classical dancer, choreographer, and dance activist in Bangladesh said she was discouraged many times from pursuing her creative career. When she did not receive stellar grades in board exams, people blamed it on her dancing, she added.
"When my friends started earning more than me, everyone blamed my career choice. Especially now, when after the pandemic, when dancers are jobless as there are no shows. It affects me also. I believe I am young and am actually learning to handle most of the emotions," she said.
'How you show up online is your brand'
Meanwhile, at another webinar organised on September 26 as a part of the month-long programme, speakers discussed how someone who is looking forward to building a personal website can use free platforms available online and create their own brand through easy and inexpensive ways.
The idea of positioning oneself as a brand and differentiating oneself from one's employer is becoming crucial in this digital era, they argued.
Participating in the session titled "Standing Out: Having a Website of Your Own," Sarah Marie, a personal branding expert based in Boulder, Colorado, USA, said, "It also sets you apart from anyone else and gives you the freedom to demonstrate your skill. The best part is the global audience you can attract through it."
"How you show up online is your brand. What you are saying on social media is shaping the perception of you," she added.
Cautioning future professionals, Asif Uddin Ahmed, assistant professor at the Ulab and acting director at the Edward M Kennedy Centre, said, "Be very careful about what you write on Facebook unless you have a very private audience."
"This is because nowadays your prospective employer will look into your Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram accounts before selecting a candidate. What you post, open for the public to see, might add up or take away from your chances of being selected," he explained.
Asif who moderated the event, also said, "To young professionals, my suggestion is: Play it safe and stay away from social media if you are having a bad day."
Talking about her programme "Free to be You," Sarah Marie said, "It is the idea that you don't have to be in the box that other people put you into. I have always done what I wanted to, regardless of what others think of me. So, I wanted to empower, specifically, women to show up as themselves."