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
www.americasjobcoach.com

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Two Girls For Every Boy!

In 1963, the song Surf City was recorded by a young, feel-good band named The Beach Boys.  It was the number one song on Billboard  Magazine‘s Top 100 (according to www.Wikipedia.com).  Some people who are ‘Over-50 Types’ might even remember when the song hit gold. 

What a fun concept for millions (of especially young men) to think about — a place where the girls may have worn an Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, AND there were also two girls for every one boy!  Wow!  

First Wave Boomers were not alone in their indoctrination to this song however. It went on to be enjoyed by millions more who were born later and grew up hearing it at wedding dances and theme parties for decades to come. Throngs (not thongs!) of youth heard it for dozens of years and it became a part of culture.

Fast forward 45 years or so. Instead of ‘Two Girls for Every Boy,‘ now we have “Six Seekers For Every Job.”

A recent editorial by Paul Krugman of The New York Times included the statistic that we are now seeing six job seekers pursuing every one available job.  That doesn’t sound near as much fun as Two Girls for Every Boy. This level of competition for work looks like it is going to be with us awhile. It may become part of our culture…

If you are stuck in a job you don’t like, or you are out of work, that culture thought might be depressing.  Don’t let it bring you down!  Three out of five 50-something laid off people I know have recently found jobs! Collectively, they were competing against hundreds of other job seekers. But, they managed to land something despite the long odds.   

But the numbers are still the numbers. We are probably stuck in a “hot mess” with regard to optimal employment for at least the forseeable future. So what do you do?

A short answer is similar to what you may have heard already. If your line of work is clogged with too many competitors for too few jobs, you may need to reinvent yourself. This topic is addressed in many, many good books out there so I won’t go into detail. The short version is this:

  • Take what you know better than anyone else, repackage it, remold it, add a new, big dash of passion to it,  get someone smarter than you to review your efforts, and give it a whirl. 
  • Maybe you now can become a consultant to your former industry, or to a niche you have followed for a long time? Maybe you can boldly approach your former employer with a new “value-add” proposition or TwitterVator Speech? Maybe the time is finally getting close where you can turn your hobby into a small business?

I won’t expand much here, but instead invite readers to comment. Free job coaching by this blog’s participants may be helpful if you are struggling with how to reinvent yourself. But you have to be willing to ask for the help…

Let this group help to conquer your career crisis as you work to catch that perfect career wave and land your surfboard on an ideal beach of a job! 

Maybe comments by this blog’s readers will lead to Two Jobs for Every Boy (and Girl)!

Surf’s Up!

America’s Job Coach

 

Are You Sacrificing Enough?

OK.  This post might be the one you show your unemployed spouse…or maybe not.  Do you have a 50-something or 60-something spouse who is in a job / career transition and just not doing enough? 

What does that mean? It means that job hunting or career changing or job transitions may get even harder in the near future and extra effort or sacrifices may be required. It means people may have to make some sacrifices about what jobs they may or may not consider or accept. Some “experts” are predicting that 2010 won’t produce a hotter economy for job creation than 2009.

That could mean that some of the “chronic” unemployed may have to make some sacrifices. I am not referring to the sacrifices typical of a newly laid off person. Most laid off people immediately trim the family budget to the bone.  

No, I am referring to “the T word.”  T is for tradeoffs. We all have them. Maybe we sacrifice by working in a field or company we prefer to be in but do so at the cost of lower compensation. Maybe we chose a job we dislike but stay in it because of the pay. Maybe we commute a total of four hours a day in exchange for stability.

What tradeoffs are you making or ready to make? Is it time to consider doing some other kind of work while you wait for your dream job to come in? This question is practical for both working people and non-working people. In his book “Winning,” Jack Welsh the former General Electric CEO says most all workers make some kind of tradeoff. 

Using Jack’s famous philosophy of candor (with yourself) may help you to assess what internal tradeoffs you are willing to make in order to achieve progress in your career or work. 

But remember, you only need ONE job…and you CAN find it!

* * *

News:  Keep checking back with this blog as an announcement should be coming in a week or so about an exciting event which will benefit one lucky reader/contributor!

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 50 Over 50 Project

As we reflect today about 9/11, we are all brought back to remembering just what we were doing at the moment of the attacks. And we also reflect on  the “Pre 9/11 USA” and the “Post 9/11 USA.” 

Before the attacks, the nation was winding down from a somewhat “happy place.” The economic climate was just starting to head downward. The  recent burst of the  “dot com bubble” was starting to be felt, but “The Roaring 90’s” were still a fresh, positive memory. There were cracks in the workplace wall, but the it was still standing.  

After 9/11 we were shocked, rattled, distrustful, and suspicious.  Employers  froze and began robust layoffs.  Innocence was also lost due to distrust of firms like Enron, WorldCom and others. The tragic events of the 9/11 directly affected millions of Americans who had no relationship to the dead (other than our shared citizenship).  The paradigm of job security and endless prosperity collapsed.    

But, America’s citizens are a resilient lot. And today isn’t only about looking back. As long as we never forget, I think it is OK to look ahead and learn from the past. 

Since this is an employment-related blog, I ask am asking you what  has changed for you or your vocation over the past 8 years?  How did this tradgey affect your career? What is different about your work, “Pre-verses-Post?”  Consider sharing your story…    

Never Forgetting,

AJC

PS: Check out Labor Day’s first post to this blog to learn about the mission of The 50 Over 50 Project.