It seems the news these days is all doom and gloom… you have an employment rate of 92% in the USA and instead of being proud of this fact considering how much stuff is happening in the world, the news seems to focus entirely on the 8% saying life is over, they lost this, they lost that.
Generally, what I see from the stories of people who lost everything is that they did several big mistakes and instead of taking personal responsibility, they blame just about everybody else but themselves. I know there are other circumstances of course, some people just get wacked from nowhere due to medical emergencies and the like but I’m describing what I see as GENERAL trends, not specific cases.
This is a HUGE factor as to why many people are unable to find jobs, they only know things specific to one industry doing rather specific things – sure, they can do it extremely well and probably better than anybody out there but instead of upgrading and broadening their skills as the economy evolved over time, they just stuck to that one thing. They got comfortable while the world passed them by. Essentially, they are 10-30 years BEHIND the current economy in dead-end industry with dead-end jobs that finally DIED. Remember the guys whose job use to be to weld car frames together? Neither do I, they’ve been replaced by robots!
Investing and studying the wrong things!
Would I go to university for 4 years NOW to become a newspaper journalist? Absolutely NOT… yet there are plenty of people doing this right now. Why? If blogging has taught us anything is that anybody and everybody is a journalist these days. Look at the YouTube top videos, these aren’t professionals, they are guys and gals doing something that builds an audience. Journalism IS a noble profession but guess what, it’s a dying profession – newspapers and magazines are going under all over the place, replaced with bloggers and online content aggrigators like the Huffington Post. Anybody can write a story, not well, but anybody can – there is no future here. When your skill set become a commodity, you are expendable.
All your eggs in one basket
I’ve done this once, I got screwed big time… that’s when I decided to diversify my income streams as much as possible. If you are living paycheck to paycheck with that income coming from ONE source… well, you are asking for trouble! Many of these horror stories paint a “romantic” picture of how a family all worked for ONE company their whole lives and got laid off when the plant or factory closed. I don’t know how they ever got comfortable with this arrangement, considering how global the world has become. At the very least, don’t get jobs at the same place and rely totally on that as your sole source of income.
Lived beyond their means
Poor people trying to live like millionaires, millionaires trying to live like billionaires… all on borrowed money. It catches up to you – again, I”ve done this myself and learned! If you are making 100K a year and spend twice that, you will lose everything and the economy has nothing to do with it! If you are a family with two drivers, surely you don’t need 4 cars (unless you can afford it without borrowing). Live within your means… actually, live BELOW your means. If shit hits the fan, you won’t lose everything because it will ALL BE PAID FOR ALREADY!
Not taking care of yourself
This is another HUGE one. You work at a job and never find time to take care of yourself, after 20 years, you look like shit and nobody will want to hire you. This is reality! Your past employer saw you decline… GRADUALLY (hence never noticed the change) but your future one will see this all in one shot. Maybe your past employer didn’t care if you were a chain-smoking-morbidly-obese-alcoholic-dickhead because he or she NEEDED YOU (or was one themselves) but don’t go to another employer expecting them to jump through hoops to hire you. Everyday, you are in competition with younger, smarter, better looking people who are more than eager to do your job for less money than you are. Your employer didn’t hire them because it would have been too much of a headache to fire you and hire them (value proposition wasn’t strong enough). When you are no longer employed and sitting at a job interview, guess what, you are at the bottom of the list even before you open your mouth!
What is your value proposition? Sure, you worked at XYZ for 10 years doing ABC… I don’t care – what are you bringing to the table? If all you have to show for the past 10 years is that you worked at XYZ for 10 years going ABC – as an employer, you are bringing nothing (unless this is high-demand specialized skills). People get complaisant, it’s easy doing the same repetitive task and at the end of the week, pickup your paycheck. As an employer, this tells me that you aren’t willing to learn new things (unless I push you to do so) – hence your current predicament. It tells me that your life is most likely stagnant and that your vision of the future extends as far as your next paycheck. Sure, I’m willing to assume you will be loyal – of course you will, you get yourself in a groove and stayed there for 10 years doing the same thing! Your past is a very good indicator of your future unless there has been a change in your life recently (death, marriage, kids etc.)
Willing to take chances
The very fact that you are alive if a gift onto itself, the best you could do with this gift is to take chances to achieve the life that you are now capable of dreaming about. TAKE CHANCES! If you have an opportunity, jump on it before somebody else does. Our entire species tends to want to keep itself down, keep us comfortable, stable… those who fight against this are the winners in life. Tired of working minimum wage? Well, go to school, switch employers, make dramatic changes in your life! The comfort of a life or job keeping you down in order to pay the bills one more week isn’t worth doing your entire life. This is throwing the gift of life that your parents gave to you into the trash. Successful people succeed because they FAIL far more and harder than they ever succeeded… the reason they are successful is because they eventually hit onto something that didn’t fail. Never forget that success comes from lessons learned in failure! You cannot succeed if you never tried, you cannot succeed if you never failed.
Harsh reality of employment
At the end of the day, you have a job because you MAKE more money for the employer than they SPEND keeping you there. The moment they SPEND more than what you are worth to the organization – you are OUT. You should always think of your job under these terms… and realize that any change in the economy (locally or globally), your health or that of your employer or anything else… your job is on the line. This happens regardless of whether you worked there for 5 months or 50 years.
Employment isn’t a right, it’s a privilege!
So, what happened in the vast majority of these cases? The employee thought that their job was a RIGHT, not a privilege. What do I mean? They took their employer for granted. Well, be happy you HAVE a job, work everyday to bring VALUE to your employer and always strive to LEARN new things both inside and outside of your industry should something threaten your job. The way I see it, being on both ends of the stick as an employee and employer is that as an employee you are always one paycheck away from a pink slip while as an employer, you are always one contract away from having to give said pink slip. Scary? This is the reality that sadly, if you are unemployed, you found-out too late!
Good employers look for rock stars!
People are good at answering straight questions… what is your date of birth, what are your hobbies and the list goes on. As an employer, I want to see your PASSION! If you don’t care about this job and are looking for a paycheck – go elsewhere. That simple! If your resume is impressive and you are over-qualified… instead of worrying if you are a flight risk or that you will make me look bad (you being better than me) – it means as an employer, I want YOU. Why? Because employees can learn as much about a business as employers from who is working for them. If you hire a rock star and he or she bolts after a few months, you are richer, your staff is richer… everybody gained valuable insight and were most likely highly motivated by this individual while they were there! Any boss can hire a person, but can you hire AMAZING PASSIONATE employees?
The Bottom Line
Instead of blaming others for your state of affairs, take it upon yourself to make changes to create the life you wish to have. At the end of the day, you are your own worst problem or best solution regarding the circumstances you my find yourself in.