Is Making a "Career Investment" like Swallowing a Dead Fish? - PART I

(With 2/3 of the workforce or about 60-70 million people actively looking or open to a new job opportunity, and just 3-4 million jobs advertised, creating a Career Investment Portfoilio may just be the wisest step to take...This Two Part article will spell out the state of the current employment economy and explain how to easily build a Career Investment Portfolio and benefit from it now and into the future...)

 

So after three years of doom and gloom where day after day it’s been drilled into our heads about the bad shape of the economy, we finally have a ray of sunshine.  In the State of the Union address, the President said that the worst is passed us and we are now on to better economic days.  It seems to have had an impact as the economic message from the blogosphere and the main stream media since this speech has been way more positive and upbeat.  Examples of more robust economic activity are filling the Internet and the Airwaves, and perhaps as a nation we’re beginning to start breathing a little bit easier.

There is a bit of concrete evidence.  With corporate coffers fuller than they’ve been in a generation, the stock market blasting toward record trading levels and the confidence of consumers approaching pre-recession levels, the 85 to 90% of us who have a job are beginning to realize that the world isn’t actually ending and that things are pretty much starting to move forward again (and hopefully helping those without a job back into the workplace!). 

Trips and vacations where people stayed home in the past few years (remember staycations”) seem over as bookings are up and the tourism and hospitality industries are soaring.   Holiday, birthday and even wedding celebration spending is way up – and the upcoming “love” holidays – Valentines, Mothers and Fathers Day could be the biggest in memory based on pent up skimping that has been the norm of the past Great Recession years.

The good feeling that is beginning to take hold is also beginning to seep into the job arena.  While in the past three years it has been almost reckless to take a chance on a new job (the possibility of it not working out was too risky), with things improving it’s becoming more and more likely for people to begin looking around and starting a new Career Investment program. 

Based on several studies (Conference Board, BLS, etc.), its estimated that as many as a third of all workers are typically in jobs and at companies where they find they’re not suited.  It’s sometimes the work itself, but more often it’s how the work is accomplished, where people just don’t fit in with the culture of the company or the leadership style of its management, among other things.  Add to this people economically afraid to leave who got a new difficult boss, or were transferred to a department or location they didn’t like, or their bonus, training, travel, or actual pay had been cut or reduced during the recession, and you have a large group of workers that may be looking for change. 

A recent Jobvite Online Survey found that, “67% of currently employed Americans are either actively seeking a job or are open to a new [career] opportunity – joining the millions of unemployed in the job market.”   Even if Jobvite’s sampling has an error of 10-15%, that’s still a startlingly high number of people looking to make a change!  Even still, the “C” word tends to make people’s eyes glaze over.  Mostly, we only want to make “career” efforts when we know we simply must do something to get a new job - or are out of work.   If this is you, keep reading, as we have a plan that is way more fun than investing in the stock market – and with a Career Investment plan there is never a chance of losing your shirt!  Most importantly, with 70 million people thinking about career changes, by easily creating a Career Investment Portfolio, you'll get a leg up on the competition for the best companies and jobs you're interested in (more on this later...).

OK, so what if you’re one of these 67%?  Well first off, you’ll find that as the economy is heating up; job creation has not quite caught up yet.  Recently the Bureau of Labor Statistics released figures that showed there are about 30% fewer jobs available today than prior to the Great Recession.  These figures are a bit misleading as they take into account every type of job , and particular areas of the economy are rebounding differently (see hospitality above). 

Certainly there are fewer jobs out there than in 2007, but 3-4 years is a long time and things haven’t stood still over these years.   There’s no question that some business practices have changed, others have accelerated, and this has had a big impact on the employment economy. 

The economic changes in the past few years for College educated workers have been profound.  There big advances in R&D and innovation in numerous areas (like Clean Tech, Energy, Sustainable Business Practices, etc.) creating new possibilities for STEM workers (science, technology, engineering and math).  These innovations are spawning new companies, and as they grow and begin to commercialize their concepts jobs for general and administrative workers (sales, marketing, HR, finance, etc.) are also needed.  In every corner of America this is happening today and there are new pathways and techniques for people to follow that will position them for a job possibility with one of these companies(we'll talk more about this later...)

In addition, the Internet has continued to evolve in a huge way during the Great Recession.  The advent of the Social Web and the explosion of its acceptance have been breathtaking.  While we were toiling away at jobs we weren’t interested in,” we got Linked In, watched You Tube and Twittered away our days.  We didn’t book a trip to visit our friends, but instead used Face Book to befriend to the tune of 600 million and counting.  These examples are the obvious changes, and there are thousands of websites, software and new business practices that have spawned evolving the business landscape. 

For me, I much prefer talking to people “in person,” so I Skype and conduct online Video Meetings as much as possible – even though they were both available, I didn't even consider these as options back in 2007.  The reality is that the Social Web has opened up more possibilities than anything we have seen – perhaps in history (certainly more than the sparks that lit the Industrial Revolution…). 

For those educated with “some college,” your options may have changed and you may need some retooling to compete for the jobs available.  The reason for this is the continued march of globalization where work can be done with lower costs in developing countries and the supply chain to move these products around the globe has become much more efficient.  This doesn’t mean the end of opportunity for this segment.  For example, American manufacturing isn't finished; it just means that the type of manufacture we do is changing and with advanced engineering, robotics and newer technologies (like Clean Tech and Nanotech) opportunities will continue to challenge this part of the workforce. 

I also feel confident that the movement toward localization in the economy (growing food and making products locally) may provide these workers with “hands on” skills much greater opportunity.  I am convinced that this movement is not a fad and networked properly a person could position themselves very well now and for the future.

Today there are more opportunities for economic gain available than before the Great Recession.  The types vary widely, and in the months and years to come the economy will expand as we continue to learn how to absorb this technological evolution into the economy. 

Career Investment

To benefit it’s not necessary to keep up with the latest app or website, but to be networked into the areas that interest you the most via the Social Web.  There are several areas available today where a person can learn more about a company and in some instances create a pre-hire dialog (Clean Journey, Twitter, Linked In, Facebook).  There are also online Communities that can be joined where networking is the focus and a confidential sharing of the inner story of both career minded individuals and companies is achieved - where discovery for the best career "fit" is more likely (Clean Journey offers this activity).  This is what is called making a Career Investment, by creating a small Protfolio of companies that are of interest.  By allowing your innate curiosity to take you to these parts of the Internet, absorbing the technology you need to get there - and most importantly realizing the opportunities that appear as you make this Journey will be the key acquired skills needed for success (we can help you with this - its actually quite easy...). 

Gaining traction in the career that you REALLY want is simply making time for it.  With what we now have at our fingertips, it’s not as much time as one would think.  The biggest hurdle is getting past the idea that building a Career Investment Portfolio is a pain - something like doing your taxes or going to the dentist. 

In reality, new Social Web tools can take the drudgery of career building and put it on its head.  In fact, in part two of this article I will show you that a Career Investment can and should be fun and I'll give you all the details of building one that will make investing in your career a success!  So be on the lookout for this next installment – and don’t worry in the mean time, there’s no homework assignment…

 

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