I was listening to a story on NPR the other day about whether the stock market recovery had led to an increase in hiring. And the bottom line answer was a quick and emphatic no. I read another article that said if job growth continues at 2012 levels it will be another ten years before the country recovers to full employment. I am not sure that I believe that full employment will ever happen again.
I read a lot of different points of view about the current prospects for graduates. The New York Times recently wrote that unemployment among college graduates was only 3.1% and that they were faring well. Then I read another article that said that there were over 5.5 million young people out of work and that the high rate of unemployment was a national crisis. I know youth employment is a powder keg globally.
I do not really worry about college graduates that much as I believe that most youth will figure it out. That is based on my observations of what has happened to the sea of young people around me over the years. I do worry about young people who have already marginalized themselves at a young age. The unemployment rate among young people with only a high school degree is 19.7%. Many will be bound to jobs of labor where they will never be able to sit down at work.
The problem is more acute among people 50 plus. Now some of these people have marginalized themselves by not building bridges to the New Normal. We all have to evolve or we will be left behind. Ask Kodak. Many of them are pretty much invisible to companies and hiring managers. Overlooked and abandoned. The irony is that their situation was created by companies that let them go.
Many companies have been doing very well recently. They stockpile money. Their shareholders get paid and profit. But companies rarely look into the firing mirror. If they did many would be invisible. They do want us to like them on Facebook though.
Another irony of companies is that most are just composed of simple people that aren’t part of any grand scheme. Some work and some get fired and then a great gulf separates them. The working and the unworking. Two different worlds. Two different places to go on Monday morning. The new great divide.
So what do you do if you feel left behind? Well the first thing that you do is that you don’t do the things that you did in the past. I recently reached out to a transition group sponsored by a church group to see if they needed any speakers. I have spoken countless time to numerous transition groups. From Catholics to Mormons and almost to Muslims. Those in transition follow many beliefs including none. The Great Recession cut its swath across all faiths. An equal opportunity unemployer.
The person who I connected with told me that the attendees at their events preferred people from the employment industry. I lit a candle for them that night. Entering the New Normal by using the rear view mirror of the past doesn’t work anymore.
I like to look to youth for some answers. Some of them have shunned the corporate path for the entrepreneurial track. The follow their vision which has only the road map of their passion. No experience. Limited business skills. Limited money but unlimited reserves of dreams. I surround myself with them.
I reflect many days that I would have been left behind with many others in the Old Normal if I didn’t create my own future a decade ago when I started Blank and Associates. A couple of bumps in the road caused things to change. The first thing I did was not chase the Old Normal and stopped looking for jobs that no longer exist.
I don’t know all the answers but I know one thing. It is not the ways of the past.
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