Yesterday I commented on my thoughts about job search reality, and Joe Biden’s advice for job seekers: Hang in there, stop smoking and cut out the junk food. I don’t mean to spoil his advice but that was it, in a nutshell.
While those three things constitute good general advice, and really, it is important for job seekers, I was hoping for more substance (since he chose to talk about it). Unfortunately, I think it was too out of touch with what today’s job search reality is.
You, Biden & Co, seem out of touch with what’s going on out there.
It’s been said people in the federal government (yes, the ones we’ve elected, and the ones we are paying for through our taxes (including their pension (which we’ll never have) and lifetime health insurance (which we probably won’t have)) have said that job seekers are lazy. Job seekers are gaming the system, living off of unemployment (have you seen how pidley unemployment checks are? Not enough to sustain a household for most people).
Unfortunately, you are caught up in the hype about the unemployment rate going up (sad! hide!) or going down (yippee! Celebrate!).
I don’t believe in those numbers. They are fraudulent (at the very least, they don’t tell the whole story).
You also get caught up in the reports that say companies are going to hire more this year. More than what? More than last year? That was bottom-of-the-barrel stats… anything is going to be better than last year! Those reports are speculations based on surveys – they are not necessarily going to happen. Anything can change the strategic direction of a company and cause them to not hire.
Unfortunately you have this far-fetched idea that it the governments right, and role, to provide or create jobs. The stimulus didn’t work. The jobs created for the census were fake, and are now gone. How has that helped?
It was a bandaid, it was not sustainable, and now it’s over.
Understanding the Job Search Reality
I’ll tell you how to get in touch with job search reality. I’ve been doing this for a few years and it’s been quite an exercise.
Go to job search clubs where professionals and executives meet.
Go undercover, so you aren’t the celebrity there that steals the show.
What you want to do is ask questions, and then listen. There are some very, very smart people there. There might even be some 99ers (you know, the ones you think are said to be lazily sitting on the couch, smoking, eating twinkies, and cashing those unemployment checks?).
Find out WHY they are unemployed.
Find out WHY they haven’t been able to get jobs.
Ask them what they think about the economy (they have a very realistic perspective).
Ask them what they think would solve some of these economic problems (the answers will be less selfish than you might think).
Ask and then LISTEN. Just listen. Don’t make promises, don’t give advice (because you aren’t really in a position of giving advice to them).
LISTEN, and then think about it, and internalize the problem, and then try and come up with real policy that might help our country, and the world, during these rough economic times.
Stop blaming past administrations, stop whining about who controls the House or the Senate, and how hard it is to work together.
Stop coming up with overreaching federal policy that is more of an expensive bandaid than a sustainable solution.
The reality you see, from reports and percentages and numbers and speculation, is far from the reality that we are living in.
I challenge you to spend a few days on the road, attending these meetings, talking with these people, and getting a real perspective on what’s happening and what could happen to fix it.
By the way, here’s my course on becoming a better listener. This course can help you observe and learn about anything…. including the job search reality.
3 thoughts on “How To Get In Touch with the Job Search Reality (And Perhaps the 1 Most Important Thing To Do)”
Jason. You are just so right on! You get it and give it in a way that virtually everyone can understand. I sent a copy of this to a friend who is on Joe Biden’s staff… expect a call from the Secret Service then one of Joe’s aids. 😉
All of this hit me a little harder in the last week. As an employer I do not see as much of the impact of the economy directly (I.e. at the human level). However I have been looking for new office space. I went during the work day. I was not only stunted by how much space is available-I was stunned by how empty the offices were. Offices that had had 20+ people were down to 4. While there are bright spots out there, those of us fortunate enough to have good gigs need to be more willing to lend a hand. Keep up the good work.
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