Feel joyful for Thanksgiving this year. One of the lessons I learned from the Career Advisement Supervisor in my first Career Advisor role was that we were there to offer hope for job seekers in our program. This approach did not necessarily seem fair to me, especially during recessions.
My supervisor was correct, I learned with experience. Job seekers each need only one job so it is irrelevant whether there are 1,000 or 10,000 openings in the relevant market.
My experience in employment programs and consulting through the bank consolidations of the 1990’s, the dot-com bust, 9-11, and the recession of 2007 and 2008 taught me there are reasons to give thanks and be hopeful today. Here are just four reasons for us to be optimistic about the near future:
- There are new types of jobs in the US economy,
- Motivated job seekers get jobs,
- Education is becoming more widely available online, and
- Control of the Pandemic could usher in a new era.
As usual the comments below are based on my experience. Your ideas and information are welcome in the comment area below this post.
There are new types of jobs in the US economy.
Job categories exist today that no one heard-of a few decades ago. For example, there was just one Web site in 1991, and just one webmaster in the whole World—Tim Berners-Lee at CERN, a research facility in Switzerland. Today there are about 400 million active Web sites, so the total number of webmasters and web designers working on them must be astounding.
Social media did not exist when I became a career advisor around the turn of the 21st century. Today it is a burgeoning industry. The best part about the social media marketing revolution for the job seeker is that you do not have to be a techie. Social media managers are business people, rather than programmer-analysts or engineers.
New technologies continue to evolve. Companies such as SpaceX are starting to do business in outer space. (Beyond the realm of traditional communications and weather satellites) Jobs with previously unheard-of job titles such as Commercial Astronaut are being created. Of course, few of us will qualify for this highly technical job, but less technical (and safer!) support jobs will exist on the ground.
We can be thankful that technical innovation is creating new and challenging opportunities. Think outside-the-box, or perhaps outside-the-planet, when you plan a career in 2021 and beyond.
Motivated job seekers land jobs.
As a career advisor at employment programs, a key lesson I learned is that motivated clients landed jobs in nearly every economic climate. This does not mean clients always got the jobs they wanted. They got jobs to pay their bills and help support their families—something that is extremely important in most cases.
My first job in career services was making follow-up calls to downsized professionals and executives that were no longer attending our workshops at a publicly-funded outplacement program. The Program Director I worked for was ecstatic because many of the missing-in-action clients (too long ago for me to have statistics) were working. Some had great jobs. One former client, I found, was dean of a college in Puerto Rico. Others were restaurant managers, substitute teachers, and customer service representatives, among other things.
Not everyone I spoke with was happy. Several were making much less money than they earned before being downsized, and were working outside their chosen field. All of us at the program were thankful, I think, to find that hundreds of people we had not heard from were working and earning income.
Other staff members and I kept in contact with a few of our former clients. It was rewarding to us when we heard from former clients that advanced from their “survival” jobs to positions on their career track, or into new careers they enjoyed. An executive-level client I spoke with, for example, went through our assessment program and learned he could be a good match for a job as a mortgage broker. He found a job at a mortgage brokerage firm on Long Island and was extremely happy to be “making his numbers” every month.
Education is more widely available online.
Several times on this blog, I’ve noted that formal education is the key to greater lifetime income. Technology has made education more widely available. You can find an endless variety of classes and training online.
Traditionally, we have listed only accredited degrees on resumes. HR departments, I’ve found, often set starting salaries in part based on the accredited degree we hold.
LinkedIn and online learning have turned this idea on its head to some extent. Profiles on LinkedIn are not limited to one or two pages like resumes, so we can include online classes we would ordinarily not place on our resumes. The classes will not have the same impact as degrees, but they add keywords that could result in more hiring teams reviewing your profile. We may still not be selected because we do not have degrees in marketing, or IT for example, but our profile will at least pass the ATS and be seen. This may turn out to be something we will be thankful for.
Control of the Pandemic could usher in a new era.
All of us are waiting to see the Pandemic brought under control. Chances are “normal life” will be different, just as our parents and grandparents returned to a normalcy in a world with television and new suburbs after World War II.
Will remote work become the norm rather than the exception as companies decide to sell or repurpose expensive office towers? What new medications and medical technologies will emerge from the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries? Things could return to the status quo, but I doubt it.