Workplace COVID Mandates Lead Some to New Careers

By Lee Harding
Lee Harding
Lee Harding
Lee Harding is a journalist and think tank researcher based in Saskatchewan, and a contributor to The Epoch Times.
November 4, 2021 Updated: November 4, 2021

Various mandates and other conditions brought about by the pandemic are a price too heavy to pay for some employees who have already embraced new career paths or are about to do so.

Edmonton resident Kelley Lynn Lewis spent years as an X-ray technologist and mammographer, but was not comfortable with mask and vaccine mandates she had to adhere to at work.

“I knew I had to get thinking about another source of income. I knew I had to try to get into making money online so that I could start to have freedom,” Lewis said in an interview.

She recently launched a wellness and spirituality YouTube channel, and is working on monetizing her channel as well as building a website so she can make a living that integrates her interests and desire to “bridge that gap between the spiritual community and the freedom community.”

“It’s exciting and it’s fun to have something positive to focus on,” she says.

Aaron Chubb had served at a popular restaurant franchise in Saskatoon since January of 2018 and decided not to return in August 2020 as lockdowns lifted. He wasn’t prepared to face temperature testing, masking, or forcing customers to mask, and he also anticipated vaccine mandates would happen eventually.

I knew that I needed to get onto something independent really quickly, and I opened my radar to business opportunities,” Chubb said in an interview.

He and his wife found wearing masks made them feel unwell. She left her teaching job to homeschool their two youngest children. Meanwhile, Chubb has embarked on a new career as a financial planner and has accepted a second job to pay the bills.

“We need more funds than I can get my business to generate immediately. We will get there, but in the meantime I need some guaranteed income. And so I’ve taken up a job with a landscaping company taking care of snow and ice removal this winter,” he said.

“If I didn’t sense this pressure, there’s a very good chance my human nature would have just clung to the old programming a little longer. And so in a sense, I do refer to this business launch as a silver lining.”

Lisa Hamoline had been part of a Saskatchewan online school for seven years and was vice-principal when the pandemic began.

“I was extremely comfortable. I felt [I did a] very good job and had COVID not hit, I would have continued on,” Hamoline told The Epoch Times.

In 2020, the students under her care grew from 300 to over 1,000.

“That on the surface seemed awesome, but it was extremely overwhelming, especially for me in my position, and it just wasn’t sustainable for me,” she said.

When extra support was not forthcoming, Hamoline quit. Classroom teaching in the context of the pandemic did not attract her.

“There was a lot of processing and there was a lot of just looking, seeing what was going on in the world. And so I made the decision to start a curriculum design company, specifically for homeschool parents,” she said.

Her company, Adventum Homeschool Quest, provides curriculum for Kindergarten to Grade 8 and targets three different learning styles with each lesson. Some of her former online clients have become customers, but her vocational venture will take time.

“I’m starting a business so the income doesn’t compare, so I’m not currently bringing in very much income at all. But we have a plan for growth and I feel very confident that that’s not going to be an issue coming next year,” Hamoline said.

“I actually get to do what I really love doing every day. I’m providing this service to families that are really in need—very, very badly in need. That, to me, is more worth it than the big giant paycheques.”

Calgary resident Chuck St. Peter has also decided to become a financial planner. He believes his circumstances represent a blessing in disguise. He was fired for not getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

“I started to feel more and more out of place, especially towards the last few years,” St. Peter said in an interview.

After 14 years as a truck driver, he’s looking forward to new adventures on the open roads of life.

“I convinced myself that this would be the end of the road for me as far as trucking goes. Time to reinvent myself,” he said.

Lee Harding
Lee Harding is a journalist and think tank researcher based in Saskatchewan, and a contributor to The Epoch Times.