During the current recession, many Americans have found themselves with little to no paid work and are hoping to find employment that will allow them to return to their previous standard of living. I see a problem in having this kind of hope. Any recovery we see in the overall economy will likely have little to no effect on your employment. As we hear the news of businesses recovering, you will not be seeing any more money entering your pocket.
A Disturbing Trend in Job Growth
Author’s note: This section is a little dry and scholarly, so you have been warned to skip down and get to the good stuff if talking about past economic data is not your thing.
In “The Empty Raincoat”, Charles Handy claims that as businesses return to positive growth after recessions, they have shifted the burden of work on to a few highly paid individuals so they do not create as many “good” jobs as they had available before the recession. I found an analytical analysis of this claim in the article, “The Weak Jobs Recovery: Whatever Happened to ‘The Great American Jobs Machine’?”
When I looked at the first chart in Freeman and Rodgers on employment recovery, I was scared. It showed that during the most recent recessions, employment recovery has increasingly lagged economic recovery. Making some rough projections if the trend continues, we could see job recovery not happen for more then two to four years after this current recession is over.
The reasons for the lack of employment growth are debatable, but it can reasonably be predicted that if you do find employment after being laid off, that you will not be making as much as you did before. Employers know that they can hire qualified candidates for less, so they will in order to streamline their costs.
Why You Have to Create Your Own Recovery
I will not discuss if what businesses are doing is right or wrong. It is what they are doing, so it is up to us, the employable, to make a decision. Do we wait for an employer to pay us what we are worth, or do we create our own recovery by working for ourselves?
It is up to you to determine what path is right for you, but if you do decide you want more than is being offered, then you have to make some choices.
The Path Forward
If you want to create your own recovery, then you need to consider what you have to offer the world. What skills or hobbies do you have that can be applied to today’s economy?
It is not easy to figure out, but when you do, you have an amazing opportunity available. Never in history has it been easier to reach out to potential customers and find out their needs. With the many social networking applications out there, it is possible to see what people are interested in, promote your business, and converse with others on the same path as you.
The path forward with an employer is not always paved with gold, but if you chose to go it alone on your own path, you just might be able to do something more during the current challenging times.
Will you take the leap, or will you wait a few years to be making what you were a year ago?
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