9/11, The Great Recession, & Recruiting - 10 Years Of Lessons - But America Still Stands Strong

USS Hornet


On July 4th, 2007, I visited the USS Hornet.  Steeped in History, she sits proudly in the San Francisco Bay.  On that day, we witnessed fireworks over the Bay with a wonderful daylight concert, games, and a fun family outing.  The Hornet sank the Yamato, a Japanese supercarrier in WWII and recovered the astronauts who flew the first mission to the moon.  It was here as I witnessed over the SF Bay Area the proud history of a carrier who now serves her country by helping folks remember their freedoms and hope.  On that day, I remember the fireworks, and the memories and thoughts of history that flowed into my mind.


In my lifetime I have seen incredible history unfold.  We have witnessed the most devastating attacks to hit our shores since the days of Pearl Harbor, we have witnessed, the justice of Osama Bin Ladin finally being met with the karma that was needed to close a chapter of our history.  The lessons of 10 years are fresh in our minds.


We have witnessed what analysts have called the Great Recession.  We have witnessed the greatest economic malaise since the Great Depression.  And yet, staffing still continues, lives change, fills emerge, and America continues onward.  I recently read in the Reader's Digest a remarkable article that put into perspective how our lives have been changed since the Great Recession hit us, in the grander scheme, I also have pondered how our lives have changed since 9/11.  Think on these things, and you realize that the Reader's Digest statistics which I will quote below, how it has made us learn important lessons that hopefully will make us appreciate the blessings we have, and create within us, a renewed vision of how staffing/recruiting can also be a blessing and the importance of applying lessons from these recent historical changes to our lives. 


The article from the Reader's Digest is entitled - "How The Great Recession Changed Us" - it can be found on pages 96-107 of the April Issue.  The following statistics are mentioned which should really make all of us think:


> "From 2007-2010, American households lost $11 trillion in real estate, savings, and stocks - including a third of the value of our homes."

>11.7% increase in the number of households containing more than one family from 2008 to 2010.

>1/2 million - number of people 35 and older who were forced to move back in with parents, siblings, or other kin from 2008-2010

>8% increase in number of kids who've moved in with their grandparents from 2009-2010

-source for all 3 statistics above US Census according to Reader's Digest.


>$827 Million - Mac and Cheese Sales in 2010 - up 27% over the past five years according to the Mintel International Group

>57% Share of Americans who say they have cut back on vacations - source - Pew Research Center

>1 out of 2 - number of Americans who say they will save more in the future - Pew Research Center

>57% Percentage of Lawyers reporting a decrease in divorce filings in 2009 - source - American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers

>10.7 Million - Decrease, from 2008 to 2009 in number of people who moved - US Census

>44% The percentage of women who have put off having children or plan to have fewer kids.  - Guttmacher Institute

>"In a 2010 survey from the Pew Research Center, 42 percent of Americans consider owning a TV a necessity, down 10 percent from 2009. Cars, home computers, and landline phones also made fewer must have lists, according to the survey."

>"Walmart reports that sales of starter sewing kits increased 30 percent in 2009. More than 5,000 home landscaping businesses died in 2009, according to market research firm SBI."

>38% share of Americans who have gotten at least one raise during the past 30 months - Pew Research Center

>2/3 Share of Americans who believe that the economy will fully recover in three years - Pew Research Center

>49% Percentage of workers polled who say the recession has helped them recognize the value of people over things - Florida State University Poll

- The Readers Digest quoted these statistics liberally, I quoted them as they appeared in the April - 2011 article.  Additional Credit is given to "The Washington Post" And "USA Today" which were contributors to the article.


It also speaks of several couples who put off selling a home, changing careers, or the life changes that were affected by The Great Recession - I think the one lesson that stands out powerfully in the midst of both the Great Recession, and the 10th anniversary of 9/11 is the "value of people over things."  That right there is a lesson staffing professionals can take to heart.


These past 10 years we remember the Hurricane Katrina, The Sumatra Indonesia Tsunami Disaster, The Earthquakes in Haiti, & Japan, we remember 9/11, and worldwide tragedies - it has been something that should make us all take a step back to realize why we do what we do every day.


If you are a staffing professional sitting at your desk, and feeling overwhelmed by the day to day, remember how important you are to giving hope to others in this economic malaise, how important it is to give hope 10 years to the day after September 11, 2001, and now in 9/11, of 2011, we remember how Flight 11 ravaged us, and two buildings shaped like an eleven changed our world.  Hard to beleive that 10 years of lessons can open our minds to the importance of living like there was no tomorrow, to giving equal opportunity and shining a bright light on hope.


As we are now under the 10 day mark until the historical anniversary, let us take a few minutes on each of these days leading up to September 11, to show mercy, kindness, and give hope to lost workers trying to build up their careers again.  Give service - my challenge 1 kind act every day until September 11, let it go without fanfare, but give everyone to which you come in contact with - hope.


Staffing Professionals are well placed to offer such hope.  There is a fabulous movie - you should watch it sometime within these next few days - Pay It Forward - you will be touched as you watch the pursuit of happiness take place in such a way as to build the ultimate Karma. 


These days need to be filled with hope.  It is my hope that everyone who may read may rise with the knowledge that America is still a proud nation - the last few years primed with lessons have made us better.  They have hopefully made us less selfish, more aware of the needs of others, and more full of promise.  There is nothing like helping a candidate land a job in a rough economy.  As recruiters - we are career counselors, we have the capacity to maneuver these new days.  The Great Recession, and the Great Historical event have great similarities to the historical events the Hornet was a part of - the Doolittle Raid where America with fire in the belly delivered a major step forward after Pearl Harbor, it signified the triumph of American ingenuity as we looked past our atmosphere and made a landing on the moon - the first landing.  It signifies planes rising out over the sea with heroism, and the motto - "Return With Honor".


As staffing professionals - the time to "Return with Honor" the economic opportunity for great candidates, and giving hope whenever possible to a world who needs it.  9/11 reminds us of a Flight 93 - who saved our Capitol building, when passengers representing the heart of American Independence stormed a cockpit, and with Todd Beamer's words ringing true - "Let's Roll" still very much clear 10 years later.  Let's Roll - Let's Fill jobs, "Let's Make Connections".  Let's find hope where we can.  There is nothing more powerful than that.  And to firefighters and policemen - NYFD, and the NYPD who rushed into burning buildings, giving hope to whomever the came into contact - even when hope was perhaps a glimmer.  At West Valley College - where I graduated - there is a wonderful memorial in a garden to Todd Beamer and Nicole Miller who both lost their lives on that fateful day - graduates of my Jr. College.  I visit there every year since that time in September, and each day since it has been as clear of a day as it was when fire mixed with sadness, and moments of hope and heroism shined through.  Stories of such acts of bravery are being replayed on the National Geographic Channel - and as I watch I am humbled, with the knowledge that every day I have is a gift.  I must be grateful, patient, true, and firm in my commitment to help good people get back to work and open doors whenver possible.


America still has a heart of hope, it beats loudly and pushes us to greatness.  If you ever have the privilege to visit a proud Air Craft Carrier in the Hornet, you can look up and see the American Flag waving proudly over the water catching the breeze, as Freedom still rings true all these years later.  The Great Recession, 9.11, and Challenges from the last 10 years - really there is nothing American Courage, Tenacity, and Hope can't overcome.  And perhaps that right there is the greatest lesson of all.  A tribute to heroes past and present who have paved the way for us.  To me, staffing/recruiting still represent the best America has to offer.


And Finally - watch this incredible video which can be found on my LinkedIn Profile - which shows a special tribute to the victims of 9/11 - may God Bless you and Keep You.



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