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The End of Careers?

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For the past few years I have helped hundreds of my clients manage their careers. I written hundreds of resumes and social media profiles; I’ve helped career changers and others prepare for interviews. I helped more than a few launch small businesses and consultancies; I’ve helped a lot of my clients start blogging, Tweeting, Facebooking and marketing themselves in a crowd; I’ve helped most of them negotiate offers and/or relocate; and I’ve led seminars on networking and job search strategies.

My clients have had success, and this year alone, 12 of my clients received employment offers with combined salaries over $5 Million USD. But, recently, I’ve noticed a shift. It seems that hiring picked up a bit in the first six months of this year, and is slowing back down, again. Jobs are so scare, and the unemployment numbers reported by the media are wrong. Way wrong. The real unemployment number in the US is closer to 23%. Michael Thornton wrote this informative article at HuffPost with the real unemployment numbers.

I have, on many occasions, questioned this administrations’ response to the job crises. They have come up with a plan, yeah, but I have yet to find it in its entirety, so here’s a synopsis. I applaud their effort to do something. Is it a little too little and a little too late? Probably. Is it expensive and debt increasing? Yes. But it does have some necessary foundational work, like fixing schools and infrastructure, and extends Unemployment Insurance, and offers some tax breaks for hiring. I also like that there’s a provision that addresses offensive discrimination of long-term unemployed.

But it needs Congressional approval. Great. So here comes the battle. This is one Congress I could do without. It will be all about raising taxes on the rich for them. I think it’s interesting that some billionaires are asking the President to raise their taxes. Obama listens to rich people all the time – why not listen to them?

So, what does all this mean for working professionals who have had their career plans seriously interrupted by The Great Recession? Well, from my experience with my clients, it’s meant that most have had to reassess their careers. What they planned on doing for the next 10-15 years may have evaporated. It’s been a journey of self-realization for many, finding new passions and ways to make a living. It might be the “End of a Career” for you, but that just means you have to find a new niche. Here a few things I learned in the past three years about careers:

1. Don’t Cry

Shit happens. I think our Government should have taken a tangible and sustainable approach to employment in the US ages ago, but they are inept and it’s not really in their interest. So, if you find yourself out of a job – or career – mourn, but not for too long. The competition is overwhelming, and you need the time to strategize, not whine.

2. Assess Your Real Skills

As we move forward into the 21st Century, you may need new, relevant skills. What sufficed in the past may not cut it when you consider your competitors are mostly young, and possibly in another country. You must know exactly what you do the best, and how you can adapt those skills to the new labor market. Not knowing what you bring to the table, or what services you can offer as a consultant, is risky.

3. Go Global

Think about work outside of your local environment. The Internet creates new opportunities worldwide to work, or consult. With Skype and Google Chat, you can connect with employers or clients worldwide. It takes some research, finding the right people/recruiters/clients, but you do have some time on your hands, yes?

4. Think Per Project

The days of “permanent” employment are most likely going the way of the dinosaur, as companies look to keep the profits high and overhead low, so salary and compensation packages may not be generous, if even offered. Health insurance from employers may become a thing of the past as well. You need to know what your hourly rate is, and how to offer your services on a “per project basis” as this may be  the future of work.

These are just a few ideas to help you face the end of your career. It’s all about re-booting. If you find yourself in need of covering the basics, register with nationwide staffing agencies, but even at that level, the competition is stiff. It’s important not to waste a lot of time lamenting what was, or spending time on outdated job search techniques such submitting your résumé online. You need an actionable career management plan, and that takes some thought and time, and most likely professional help. It’s worth the money to get back into the working world.

If you are a C-Level job seeker, contact me for a complimentary consultation.

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