Robert Reich recently wrote an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times entitled “How to End the Great Recession.” Reich’s pessimistic take on the failure of current efforts to stimulate the economy is because the structure of the economy has changed rather than due to the normal business cycle.
Reich notes that productivity enhancing software and outsourcing jobs to countries with cheaper labor forces have been among the contributors to many jobs vanishing from the economy and thus, the continuing high rate of unemployment. Reich argues that it will take a restructuring of public policies to encourage job growth and position America to be competitive in the future.
The permanent disappearance of jobs is one of the most difficult issues for those of us who counsel and coach people looking for their next position. Those clients in real estate related fields, financial services and other occupations have seen their jobs just evaporate.
Dan Pink, in his book, A Whole New Mind, wrote about the “3As” of Abundance, Asia and Automation. His thesis was that traditionally routine work that can be automated will be outsourced to Asian countries where smart people can do the work cheaper than their American counterparts.
The point is there are jobs that are not coming back and the people affected most are the middle class, which has long been the mainstay of this country’s economic well being.
So what can you do? Whether you’re employed or not, there are things you need to do to ensure that you retain your value (and your job):
- Take responsibility – for both your own career and for being informed on how the changed economy affects your future. I’ve written plenty on the New Normal and strategies to navigate it relative to your career.
- Be accountable – for your own career development. Don’t rely on the organization for which you work to provide a career path. Know your value; tell your story of how you influence outcomes that contribute to the organization’s bottom line.
Pay attention – regardless of your political leanings, don’t swallow the simple bromides that either incumbents or their opposition offer about what’s wrong with our nation. Make them go deeper with their explanations and proposals for improvement. Think about what they’re saying. Does it make sense, why or why not? Don’t succumb to the polarizing arguments that both sides present. Question them, get engaged, hold them accountable.