The job situation brightened in January 2017. According to the official government statistics, 227,000 were created. Here is the Bloomberg coverage.
But the light wasn't equally bright across the labor market. Some industries are shrinking in both the number of jobs and how much they pay. Others are flat, that is no job growth. Among them are law and writing.
Clients who come to me to ghostwrite their job-search materials are usually engaged in magical thinking. They truly believe if they hunt long enough and the right way for a position in a downsizing or flat field they will return to making a good living.
However that rarely happens. Here are the factors usually preventing a happy ending to the unemployment or underemployment chapter in their professional life:
- Their contacts are gone. They might have retired, been involved in a scandal or moved on to another industry. We establish useful networks when we are in a position of strength, not weakness.
- Their skills are out-of-date. For example, speechwriters don't have experience in video.
- They present themselves as "old." That perception can begin at age 40.
- There is a gap in employment. They have created no work history for the months or years after their last position.
- There are simply fewer and fewer jobs. And the competition for them is a dogfight.
So, what can they do to earn a good living?
What the alert have already done when they woke up and smelled no future was find an exit ramp to a growth field.
That might have taken the form of an entry level job in, say, Aldi's. There they learned the ins and outs of retail grocery. Eventually they could be store managers, then territory managers.
They studied to be certified in a marketable niche such as GoogleAdwords or personal care for the elderly.
They bought a franchise or launched their own business.
They made it their business to make new contacts in their current field. That gave them access to plum jobs.
More lines of work will be disrupted. So those who have been displaced are not alone.
Yesterday I interviewed a young medical doctor in family practice. Her niche was secure in its job growth. However, it didn't pay enough for her to keep up with her student loans without putting her life on hold. Right now there will be no children.
Many of her colleagues who didn't specialize in family practice are underemployed or hunting for work. To become more cost-efficient, the healthcare system is having lower-paid classifications of healthcare workers do more and medical doctors do less. For some of them the solution is to study in a specialization.
Being displaced should not incur shame. What it has to do is open professionals to experimenting with all kinds of opportunities.
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