Breaking News: 89.2% Are Now Employed!

From the glass is half full department: 89.2 % of the nation’s workforce is EMPLOYED!

This headline is a simple reminder to stay as optimistic as possible when the media is trumpeting the “worst unemployment rate in 26 years.” Nobody who is looking for work wants to hear that negative drumbeat!

So what to do if you seek better/new employment while things are in a downward spiral?

Some people have responded by “going solo.” This is where they assess their strengths, package their abilities to address their niche, and then peddle their wares/skills as independents.

Entire books have been written about this strategy and its inherent pluses and minuses. “Laid Off and Loving It For 2010” also addresses this topic in several chapters.

The reason this strategy may be practical now is that there is still work to be done “out there.” The stock market is up over the recent past because companies have cut labor costs to the bone but are still selling some stuff. Their lower costs have translated into good stock market results.

But, as mentioned, there is still work to be done out there. And employers like their thin/tight staffs, but realize that they still need some hands on the deck to keep their boats running.

Except for the Information Technology industry, this “going solo” approach may be a way for you to help firms get their work done. Using your talents as a solo practitioner may allow employers to bring you in and pay you while NOT having to add the new hires which they seem to be against adding.

More on this topic across the next few weeks. In the meantime, share YOUR stories of solo success or even failure here in this blog. Let’s learn from each other and celebrate that over 89% of the workforce is employed!

America’s Job Coach

Did He Get the Job? Also, Job Posting Scams

In my last post I discussed a young man who was interviewing for his first job out of college. The job was for a sales position and he was wondering if in fact the niche he was exploring was good for him. I mentioned  how some industries in the current economy are looking for people like him: young, techno savvy, moldable and cheap. 

None of that is new news to you who are “decades into” your careers and maybe months into your job search. Employers are flooded with applicants and some are taking advantage of that. There was an article in the Omaha World Herald on 10/26/09 which described how formerly hard to fill hands on care giver jobs were now doing just fine due to some factory closings in a Nebraska community. Before some jobs in that town vaporized, the health care facility had a hard time staffing these positions. Now it has a surplus of applicants. Ah, perspective.

Perspective is what the young job seeker had too. He was “wax” just ready to be molded by his potentially future employer. He didn’t have an entitlement attitude and his small dose of arrogance was more attributable to his youth than any entrenched “in your face” cockiness.

Yes, his potential employer wants him back for some “job shadowing.” That is where our young applicant will sit and listen to the current staff while they make their daily spate of phone calls. Not just anyone or everyone can sit in a cubicle and make 70+  phone call attempts a day. I don’t know if our young hero will want to but that employer has invited him to find out if he wants to. And there is a fairly handsome base-plus-commissions to go along with it. I’ll keep you posted on his progress. And keep remembering his child-like interview exuberance while you do your job hunting.

Speaking of commissions, I saw a listing of “The Top Twenty Most Helpful Job Hunting Websites” or some such similar title the other day. I immediately thought that would be a logical link for this blog. And of course, I clicked through on many of the web sites listed.

Well, you won’t see me linking to that list anytime soon. I found many sites I had never heard of. And the ones toward the top of the list had many “jobs” posted. The problem was, most of these “jobs” were work at home schemes. Nothing wrong with working at home…millions of people around the world work for thousands of legitimate companies in a remote fashion. Online technology allows and encourages that.

But so many of the “jobs” posted were all about multi-level marketing businesses. Many have an investment required or involved some marginally shady types of plans. The rise of this kind of “noise” out there has tracked and kept pace with the rise in the number of unemployed.

I have nothing against legitimate multi-level businesses. I have been involved in some in the past myself and have learned from them. I am just saying use caution when you “apply” for jobs within this world. Most are not jobs with a regular paycheck. Growing your own business is great but just know what you are getting into when you start. Will your new “job” require you to buy inventory?

Have any of this blog’s readers ventured into this area?  Again I have no problem with these legitimate marketing businesses but I do dislike it when these outfits dress themselves as “jobs” on what were formerly job boards. Who has a story to share on this?…

Next posting will be about a 50-something “coachee” who was recently laid off, DOES know a lot of people to network with, but is stuck in the 1990’s regarding using those contacts.

America’s Job Coach

Author: Laid Off & Loving It For 2010

The Young (& Old) & the Restless Job Seeker

Paradigm shift today!  I gave career advice to a 23 year old. That would put him at half the age of many of this blog’s readers. I remember where I was when his mother told me she was pregnant with him.  Now 23+ years later I am giving him advice on how to ace his first professional, post-college “real job” interview.

What does that have to do with you, the “mature” person who is in or considering a job transition? Just this: Perspective.

Here I was, chatting on the phone with this fine young man. He was headed to his first interview in an industry I know a lot about. I was working in the field before he was conceived. It was weird and almost unsettling to realize I have worked for the length of this person’s whole life in a specific niche, and now I was tasked with building his competitive knowledge of the field.  

He has only gone through high school and college and worked (hard) in jobs typical of those ages. He has not yet become jaded by office politics, layoffs, recessions, business closures or stolen territories (he is pursing a sales position).  Instead, he was engaging, friendly, an excellent student of his parents’ careers, and optimistic.   

It is hard for those of us who have decades of work experience under our belts to approach an interview with “child-like” exuberance.  We may tend to come at it with a jaded tone:  “What will you, Ms. Employer, do for ME–I am important, you know…” Or, “Word on the street in our industry is that you pay 20% under market norms for this job. At my level, I could never consider that kind of move…”    What employer wants to be around that kind of attitude 8 hours a day?

No, we may not ever SAY those things to a possible new employer, but, we may “radiate” them by accident! My young “coachee” today didn’t need to be guided away from built in negativity. If anything, the interviewee needed to be reminded that even though he had a strategic college class or two, the new employer would mold and train him in their own image anyway.

I had to educate him that the employer’s interest in him was that he was the raw material for them to indoctrinate in any way they saw fit…and for a very reasonable price.  

How many of us “seasoned” job hunters have that “innocence with a dash of hubris?” 

  • Sure we have mortgages and kids and college costs and car payments and health issues that this young man hasn’t dreamed about yet.
  • Sure we know what we know because we have seen what we have seen. Yet, the young and the restless (and the cheapest) may be scooping up some of the jobs that the “seniors” ( I hate that word!) are willing to do! 

But I contend that you’ll get a job because of your knowledge, skill, history, connections, niche expertise, people skills, technical abilities AND your willingness to come off as eager and innocent. This will get you the job long before someone who verbally or non-verbally says, “Here I am. Make my day.”

Did the whippersnapper get the job offer?  I know the answer and you will too when you tune back in for the next blog post in a day or two. 

In the meantime, please share your thoughts about the benefit of hiring a seasoned person versus a greenhorn. Use the comments section below to tell how one hire may not be better than another, please. Let this (growing!!) community know how YOU feel…

Paul M.

America’s Job Coach 

Laid Off & Loving It For 2010