Master Career Counselor

Carla Hunter, President of Career Span, Inc. is a Master Career Counselor (MCC) by the National Career Development Association and a Certified Career Coach by the National Board for Certified Counselors. She is an expert in writing resumes, effective job search strategies and interviewing success. Most recently, with over 20 years of navigating the complexity of today's world of work, she published "Finding Your Place in the World of Work", a career interest inventory (2014) and CareerView, an iPad app. As a private practice career counselor and a workforce development consultant, this blog is Carla's trove of ideas, trends, forecasts, and career tips for finding meaningful work.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Recalibration: The job market's bully

Economists are not career counselors. It seems to me they're being sought after to explain the job market's woes while using potentially outdated methods to surmise our current condition.

Economists can explain the parameters about the job market but are not actively working inside it to give us an accurate bird's eye view. To say they live in an ivory castle is the extreme but I'm not far off when it comes to providing us with substantial relevance to our present condition. They appear sometimes as detached from the real world.
It is equivalent to me stopping by a funeral visitation of a friend. I enter the room, walk over to him and pay my respect. Gently, I begin to speak.
"So sorry for the loss of your mother. I know just how you feel."
I then proceed to the exit, grab my cell phone and call my mother.

What I offered was hollow sympathy without a speck of authentic understanding for the crisis my friend is experiencing.

Economists have sympathy for our job market woes. But do they really know the impact of the power of their words and how that affects the trenches? They seem to focus on the hole when we need them to look at the doughnut.

The hole they see: Loss of obsolete jobs. Low consumer confidence. Bleak outlook. The sky is falling.

The doughnut they need to talk about: New job creation not on the radar as independent contractors emerge and vocationally certified occupations need new workers to provide infrastructure for the new economy from electricians to hydrologists.

The bully who made it all happen

The reality is some types of jobs are lost everyday and this will never end. The likes of media giants in particular are beginning to fossilize in print media form such as newspapers. Some business chains are suffering HUGE consequences for not adapting their stone age models to an ever fluid audience.
Technology has outdated yesterday's golden digital child. It is a tornado of epic proportions that is hard to predict and few can stay ahead of its volatile forces.

Many businesses during the economic recession (not my word for it) did not peek ahead to an ever changing paradigm of customer need and fickleness that will hurt them as the economy rebounds. Businesses who stick to hard and fast rules are losing breath or are already dead. Still have a pager? Once you did, but now you don't. Why? Because something else made it obsolete. This is the nature of our economy that is beautiful in one way and ugly in another (especially when you lose a job).

We have created a beast. I call it the bully of constant recalibration.

The world of work is in the midst of unprecedented evolution. A recalibration that may not shake out for several more years. One major reason is because so many jobseekers right this moment are searching for jobs that don't exist. They are never coming back. So what do you do in this job market climate?


The economy is recalibrating for a new era of workers who stop looking for big companies to hire them. Rather, they gear up to do business as unusual. In other words, they develop a type or brand that offers a specialization that makes life easier for customers who don't have that particular expertise or product. This could include occupations such as graphic artists, writers, editors, project managers, consultants and trainers just to name a few. Our emerging economy will be quick and nimble unless it has federal government letterhead. There will be many who contract their services and answer to the feds on a 1099.

In just a few years, we will have a generation of tornadic new spenders in the market numbering over 75 million. When they get ready to spend, their primary business targets will be who they know, trust and believe will make life simpler, cheaper and quicker to navigate. How will you position yourself to be on their radar?

Every worker has to develop a business acumen independently and as a part of a community of experts within an industry. Keep reading blogs on emerging technologies and business practices. Keep having coffee and lunches with your colleagues. Stop focusing on the decline(symptom) as the economist seem to be doing and start paying attention to the recalibration (cause) that took effect when computers first began to hum. I think we need to face up to being the new business owners we were always afraid to be.

This is not an easy transitional decade. Yet, we as a nation can't continue to spend money in reviving what can't be brought back to life. We don't want to go back to pagers, do we?

After all, the global market is calling. The ones who pick up the phone to answer will see recalibration not as the bully who forced job elimination and wreaked havoc on family and friends. But the new kid on the block who wants to be a friend. What do you think economists will say about that?

No comments:

Post a Comment