You’ve got your head buried in the sand if you are not preparing now to survive and prosper in the new world of work that is evolving day to day.
There are three main points:
1. The work environment will be different from anything we have known in the past.
2. As for the job market, there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel—conditions are improving marginally–but many experts think it will be at least 2015, or even longer, before we get out of the deep hole we are in.
However, as reported by the New York Times, the current rate of employment “is not enough to absorb people entering the work force for the first time in the United States, much less to shrink the unemployment rolls.”
3. There will be changes of tsunamic proportions due to two megatrends: globalization of production and marketing and the emergence of new technology. Combined, these forces are making it possible for companies to lower costs by reducing headcount and by improving efficiencies. Bottom line: record revenues and profits. This, of course, reduces the incentives to rehire.
All of this raises critical questions about the job market in the coming years.
Will the skills of those who lost their jobs in the recession be in demand in this new environment? What will those who have been able to hold on to their jobs have to do to stay on the payroll and to move their careers forward? Will there be opportunities for men and women seeking to enter job market for the first time?
What is one to do in order to survive and prosper in this new world?
I. First, let’s consider those who are unemployed.
The hard fact is that the longer one is out of work, the more difficult it is find a job. People who have been unemployed for less than five weeks are more than three times as likely to land a job within a month than those who have been idle for longer than one year. This is primarily due to a combination of growing discouragement and debilitation of skills. There is also the stigma attached to unemployment. These are negative influences against those trying to reenter the workforce.
Jobless benefits paid by the government occupy a critical point in any discussion of unemployment and returning to work. These benefits are a two-edged sword. They put food on the table, but they can be a dangerous opiate.
With subsistence covered, it is tempting to turned down offers for temporary work or for jobs that pay less than previously earned.
There is also the fact that some will take the benefits, figuring they can land a job when they run out.
Another group is composed of people who have become so discouraged with their search for a job that they have dropped out of the competition.
All of this means that those who are unemployed should get back on someone’s payroll as soon as possible, even it means taking a cut in pay on a temporary job. This period should be seen as an opportunity make set goals for a new job and a new life. This exercise should include a plan of action for acquiring new skills required in the future.
II. Now, for a look at those who are employed, but face an uncertain future because the skills their employers require and the number of people needed are changing or they are working in a dying industry.
Some employers in this category have reduced their workforce during the recession/depression and do not plan to rehire when there is an improvement in the economy. With lay-off induced by the recession, they may have found they can get as much or more done with fewer people. Others may reduce their workforce by replacing people with technology which demands new knowledge and skills.
Career Advice For The Unemployed
It is easier to get a job if you have a job. This adage means it is desirable to get off unemployment benefits as quickly as possible, even if it entails taking a temporary job or accepting work that pays less than you formally earned.
This period of unemployment or underemployment is a good time to look to the future. Do you want to return to your former job and/or industry? What changes do you need to make in your set of skills? Where and how will you get the training you need for the new job market that will exist in the future?
Whatever the situation it is not wise to sit back and wait for a job or hold out for something comparable to what once was. Set goals. Determine what it takes to reach them. Get going on a plan of action.
Career Advice For Those With Jobs
Regardless of your present situation, changes are inevitable. It’s time to heed the advice of Charles Darwin who said: “Survival goes not necessarily to the most intelligent or the strongest of the species, but to the one that is the most adaptable to change.”
It’s time to assess your situation. Are you prepared to prosper in the future that is racing toward you?
What is the state of health of your employer’s business and the industry in which you work?
Are you employed in a dying industry? Look for these signs: competitors are acquiring each other; innovation is declining; extreme cost cutting is in place; head count is reduced; and investments are not being made to replace and upgrade equipment.
If these conditions exist, it may be time to leave before the stampede begins. Look for a position in a growth industry.
Ask yourself: am I prepared to succeed in the new world of work with my present employer or in a new job with a new employer? If not, do you have a plan to make a successful move to a new environment?
Are you learning new skills and making contacts with mentors and associates who can help you advance your career path?
Are you adding value to your employer’s benefit from his investment in you? Are you accomplishing more with less? Are you exceeding your employer’s expectation?
It’s worth repeating: Whatever your situation is now, it is wise to accept the fact that the world is changing with lightning–like speed. Don’t be trapped in the present environment. Set goals. Determine what it takes to reach them. Get going on a plan of action. Otherwise, odds are you will be trapped in a losing position.
Consider this observation expressed in the recent book, The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs”
“…maybe the Great Recession has acted as a wake-up call, reminding people that they need to take control over their lives instead of leaving their futures in the control of others who may not have their best interests in mind.”
I wish you career success!
Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach
Common Sense At Work