We all want security. In a time of high unemployment and job insecurity, many people look for careers that will be recession proof. Sadly, like the unicorn, such jobs do not exist. Even healthcare, which is clearly a growing field, churns jobs. My clients in this field have told stories of layoffs and reorganizations. Several hospitals in Chicago have reorganized departments and laid off staff. One of my clients survived a layoff. She had to take over a co-worker’s job and her staff had to take on the duties of other laid off workers. So much for recession proof jobs in healthcare. Rather than seeking a security that doesn’t exist, the best career strategy is to be prepared for any challenge or opportunity. Change happens. Make the most of it.
January 9, 2013
October 25, 2012
Think Progress reports disturbing news about college graduates and salary: Men are making more than women – even if they graduate with the same major. Overall, female new graduates are earning .82 to the dollar earned by their male classmates. The studies cited in the article point to clear discrimination against women. Feminists in the 1970s would say, “We’ve come a long way.” While that is true in many ways, when it comes to paying women fairly, America has a long way to go.
August 28, 2012
Recently Pioneer Press (which is owned by the Chicago Sun-Times) told editors and writers that it would changing their roles with the paper, which would impact compensation. The changes must have been pretty dramatic, because several editors and writers quit.
Journalism is one of the most challenged industries today. The industry seems to shrink and shed jobs by the day. Some of these journalists had been with the organization since the 1980s. Their decision to quit says something about what their employer was offering.
I’ve said before that I don’t recommend quitting a job until you’ve found something to tide you over. However, there are times when the “offer” is an insult. These journalists made a bold decision. They felt exploited and would not accept a wage that was beneath their skills and contribution. Best of luck to them.
August 13, 2012
The best way to kill a lie is to catch it early and call it out. This is exactly what Laura Clawson does in today’s Daily Kos. Experts and pundits are claiming the unemployment rate is high because workers lack skills needed to fill open jobs. Clawson look at the numbers and finds something very different. Employers are recruiting workers less intensely than they did before the recession. She also tests the claim that there are not skilled workers needed to fill open positions. Again, the lie is blaming the workers.
Why might employers want to leave positions unfilled? It’s more profitable to squeeze every ounce of productivity out of existing staff. A client recently told me that a leading retailer is going to cut all of its store managers and shift that duty to people who are currently assistant managers without giving them the title or salary of store manager. Sooner or later, this kind of corporate “strategy” will boomerang. Don’t listen to the lie. Don’t blame the workers.
PS: No Sabbath this week. I’ve been busy and dealing with a minor health issue.
July 21, 2012
Writing in Common Dreams, John Buell explores how workers are afraid to confront their bosses. Moving from the scandal at Penn State to examples from the public and private sector, Buell shows worker fear to be pervasive and well founded. Workers who step out of line should expect to be fired. Buell ends on a ray of hope, the Mondragon* collective in Spain and similar organizations in the U.S., where give themselves rights by owning the workplace.
* Mondragon’s tagline is “Humanity at work.” For too many American workers, humanity at work is a very foreign concept.
July 10, 2012
Alexander Eichler of Huffington Post Business reports on a study from the University of Heidelberg that offers this thesis: Bosses exploit workers who don’t understand what they produce. The university set up a study in which boss set workers’ pay based on what employees knew about their contribution and value to the company. When an employee demonstrated that she knew her value, her pay was less likely to be cut (Note: “less likely”). Clueless employees were easily exploited and worked for less.
Eichler connects this study to conditions in the U.S. over the past few decades. Productivity has steadily increased while workers have realized few of the benefits. He says that the situation won’t change because so many people in the U.S. are out of work. That’s true. But, as the Heidelberg study shows, people who know their value are more likely to get paid – or they’re more likely to find an employer who will pay them. Take control of your career. If your boss and company are exploiting you, find a new job and lay off your employer!
May 17, 2012
Think Progress reports that wages for college graduates have not increased over the last 10 years. In fact, they have dropped 5.4% (1.6% for men, 8.5% for women). This data was taken from The Economic Policy Institute.
This news is very troubling given the trouble recent college graduates are having finding decent jobs. It’s logical to assume that the wage decline will be even steeper in the future. Not good news.
Meanwhile, the Board at JP Morgan Chase approved Jamie Dimon’s annual compensation of $23 million. Nice work if you can get it.
April 12, 2012
Laura Clawson of Daily Kos is the most important reporter on issues impacting workers. In her most recent post, she examines the claim that U.S. manufacturing has been in steady for decades. Using data and a great chart from the Economic Policy Institute,Clawson shows that manufacturing’s most severe decline began in 2002 and has only recently seen a very small up tick.
Corporate media spreads memes and recycles clichés. Reporters like Clawson and Matt Taibbi ask us to think and look behind the headlines. That is the kind of journalism needed in a real democracy.
April 11, 2012
Laura Clawson has a great post in the latest Daily Kos in which she explores the impact of cuts in federal spending for job training. In a time of a employment crisis, what do politicians do? Cut spending that could help people get jobs. There must be logic here somewhere, but I can’t see it. Meanwhile, the President and Congress have found bipartisan agreement on a JOBS Act which seems to only favor Wall Street. Who’s getting jobbed? Working people and the middle class.
March 24, 2012
We read stories again and again that companies won’t hire the long term unemployed. Now some states are even going to pass laws to address this problem. I don’t deny there is bias against job seekers the longer they are unemployed. Clearly some companies have even posted help wanted ads saying they are only looking for people who are currently employed.
However, as I’ve written in the past, this meme is not the big problem the scare-loving media makes it out to be. If two candidates are similarly qualified, it makes more sense for the employer to hire the person who is unemployed. Why? That person is cheaper. Like most of us, hiring managers want the best deal. A person with a job has some security and can negotiate. An unemployed person will be more likely to take what is offered.
I have no doubt that workers who have been out of a job for a year or more are having trouble in this economy. Employers do look at gaps. However, I’ve had many clients (especially at home parents) re-enter the work force after several years out of the work place. It’s not easy, but it’s possible, especially if a person is strong enough to ignore negative stories that only try to bring us down.