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April 2022 - Year 24 - Issue 2

ISSN 1755-9715

Employability vs. Workability in ELT: What Comes After the Pandemic

Karin Heuert Galvão has been in ELT for 22 years. She works as a Career Mentor and BE trainer at i-Study Interactive Learning. In addition, she is a licensed Coach and also works with Leadership Programs as a Corporate Trainer and Behavior Analyst. Email:


If you are just remotely informed, you know for a fact that the past two years were not a cup of tea. And if you are like me, you noticed the changes in the market and how companies and clients are now hiring professionals. Not only we had to adapt and adapt quickly, but we also had to reinvent ourselves. What you probably didn't know was that these changes had been happening for quite some time, but we just didn't allow ourselves to take a closer look at them because, let's face it, they're just too scary.

Ever since I started working, when I was fourteen, I heard from my parents and everyone around me about how important it was to go to college and find a job. Well, I have to say that it didn't work like this for me at all. Once I turned seventeen, I knew that my next step was to take "Vestibular," a Brazilian test everyone has to take to get into university. Every institution has its own, so we have to sit for many of them by the time we are seventeen, until the moment we finally get to the school we want to study. It's exhausting!

Although it was indeed fatiguing, you simply HAD to do it. It was a simple recipe: go to school, take a test, get into college, find a job, live your life. Little did they know that my generation was not as conventional and, as many might say, very - significantly - annoying. By now, you must have realized how millennial I must be, right? Well, yeah, guilty.

Millennials are these "little creatures" born from 1981 to 1995, typically children of Baby Boomers and parents of Generation Alpha. We grew up in the Internet Age, and evidently, we are incredibly familiar with devices and social media. And even though we are highly educated, we also seek knowledge from unconventional sources - not unreliable, just unconventional. We are considered a generous, team-oriented, and civic-minded cohort that has experienced an enormous global crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

So, I can't help but wonder: "Why were we raised to follow a script if life is not scripted at all, vis-à-vis the Pandemic?"

My professional journey has certainly not been linear, nor do I expect it to be - being a Millennial. On one side, I did get into Law School because it interested me, but much had to do with the pressure I had to become a lawyer. Well, we all know that didn't work out, right? However, I don't regret studying Law and working at a Court House because that undoubtedly helped me become the professional I am today. Many years after working as an English teacher, I finally decided to pursue a degree in this field, not because I needed the paper, but because it was another box to check. Let me clarify: I don't believe that an academic degree is not necessary - nor do I intend to say that; I'm just being transparent and saying that for me, it was not a must-have.  

At this point, you must be asking yourself: what does this have to do with Employability and Workability?

As mentioned before, your professional life was predicting; it was a recipe. A professional was expected to be prepared to find a job, to be employable. Everyone wanted that safe and comfortable place to be, and that is where you would stay for a very, very long time. You would study to do one thing and one thing only. That's it—the end.

Evidently, you and I know that in 2022 that is not IT, and it's definitely not the END. So the conventional had to become unconventional, and the recipe became more of a suggestion rather than an imposed rule.

Workability allows you to wear many hats - many profitable hats. First, workability is the capacity to generate profit even though you are not an employee in a company. Second, it's about using your knowledge acquired by all the certificates and diplomas you have and, more importantly, staying up-to-date. Third, it's about being entrepreneurial - even though you don't have a business. Finally, it's about being relevant to the market.

So how can you develop your workability skills? Here's a brief and effective list for you:

  1. Be open to studying other things outside ELT: Business, Psychology, Technology, Marketing, etc. Open yourself to exploring other fields. You will not become less of a teacher; actually, it is quite the opposite.
  2. Develop your Soft Skills: Nobody wants to work with a highly-qualified jerk. So you need to know how to work with others and be a team player.
  3. Tell the market you're open for new opportunities: Have you ever thought of writing content for publishers or schools? There are several opportunities in the market right now. Networks, such as Linkedin, will help you spread the word. In addition, this will prevent you from paying the price of the next crisis - because there will be another one - strategic/intelligent income must come from different sources.

Finally, I urge you to learn from the Millennials. Yes, we are annoying; yes, we can be narcissists at times, but we are unconventional, and unconventional times call for unconventional solutions.


Please check the Pilgrims f2f courses at Pilgrims website.

Please check the Pilgrims online courses at Pilgrims website.

  • What Are The Best Career Options For Bilingual And Multilingual People?
    Larry Blackwell, UK

  • Employability vs. Workability in ELT: What Comes After the Pandemic
    Karin Heuert Galvão, Brazi