Career Calling

November 28, 2010

Sabbath, Nov. 28, 2010

Filed under: Sabbath — claycerny @ 6:17 pm
Tags: , , , ,

[On Sundays Career Calling looks at intersections of work and life in “Sabbath.”]

Slow and Not So Steady

Writing in today’s Chicago Sun-Times, Mary Wisneiwski profiles several Chicagoans who live in a neighborhood on the South side of the city that has been hit hard by the recession.  They are feeling better, more confident.  We’ve seen the economic ups and downs before, but this recession has been especially strong in its ability to keep people afraid.  Even now we have stories of national economies collapsing in Europe (Greece, Ireland – maybe Spain and Portugal).  It’s hard to be confident when there are always warnings about disaster just beyond the horizon.

Fear makes people stop and think twice before they spend.  It also affects how they manage their careers and look for work.  I’ve had several clients tell me, “There are no jobs out there.”  Factually, this claim is wrong.  Jobs are hard to find, but some are available.  However, if someone has an attitude that they will not be able to find a job, that attitude will make it even harder – if not impossible – to get hired. 

Not all is bad.  Two restaurants profiled in the article report that business is up.  When people eat out, that is a sign of confidence.  A car dealer interviewed for the article also says his sales have increased.  Auto manufacturing is still a vital part of the American economy.  If that business goes up, more people will be employed, which means more confidence and consumer spending.  Based on visual evidence, the holiday shopping season if off to a booming start

We still have big problems.  Unemployment needs to come down, which will only happen once there is some change in manufacturing and offshoring.  As long as American business leaders chase the cheapest labor, it will be impossible for American workers to live with any kind of confidence.  Our political leaders also must behave differently.  We live in a media-driven age where everything is politics.  That said, our leaders need to find a way to address real problems people face.  One and two word answers – “tax cuts,” “freedom” – are cliches, not solutions.

I’ve never felt this recession was as bad as doomsday pundits made it out to be.  I remember the 1970s and early 1980s.  That was the time when our industrial base really took a hit, especially in industrial cities like my home town, Cleveland, Ohio.  Inflation was double-digit, and OPEC drove gas prices high by limiting oil supply to the U.S.  We survived that time.  Our parents and grandparents survived the Depression of the 1930s.  This too shall pass – eventually.

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