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What To Do If You Are Stuck in a Bad Economy?


What To Do If You Are Stuck in a Bad Economy?

For many people, the biggest fear is being without a job. Even people with titles such as sir or top government officers such as ministers can be without well-paying employment in hard times. In the "Be happy, be positive" culture of mass media, there is little advice on what to do in tough times.

This article will post some ideas, should the economy or your personal life leave you wanting a job without one. Interestingly, this advice works for novices without credentials or much education, training, and experience.

This process has some scientific usage and data, while much of it will be reading, research, talking to people, and trial-and-error.


Method 1: Find Out Where the Shortages Are; Where Are Firms Really Hurting?

In research, there are essentially two types of reports, public and private.

Public data comes from government sources, often annually. It tends to be well-funded and free of personal biases and agendas. The only drawback to such reliable information is that it is slow to address an immediate problem.

In contrast, private companies such as English First, Manpower Group, McKinsey, or millions of others produce reports, often to address a specific need. For example, the public US Bureau of Labor Statistics will publish stats every year related to changes in industry numbers, including those in education; yet, English First will write a report about what the specific Coronavirus outbreak has had on expatriate teachers in China. The EF report is more focused, specifically on the problem at hand. Yet, many private companies have fewer resources than public organizations, often have an agenda, and do not keep reports yearly for decades on the same topic, as these specific topics change so rapidly.

Nonetheless, reading both public and private research reports will provide insight.

Specifically, looking for "labor shortages" can be a key to finding jobs right this very day. In some job categories like harvesting for farm work, security personnel, and information technology, there is a high demand but insufficient labor supply.

Pure economists would say wages would rise to get more people involved, but that often does not happen. Many firms cannot double the wages for a fruit picker, security guard, or similar jobs, no matter how short-supplied. Likewise, many places need highly skilled labor like doctors, nurses, and engineers but cannot afford to pay more than prime employment places.

Hence, reading, researching, and talking to people about where are "labor shortages in ________ (industry, firm, city, state, country)" can be a way to find where they are desperate for honest, hard workers who will deal with difficult situations.

Be forewarned, many of these jobs require much more hard work, patience, grit, and even a sense of adventure. It is typical to work at an office job near your home, but not so typical to find farm work away from home, plant trees in the northern part of Canada, or even be a doctor in a small town if you are used to city life.

In the end, doing these jobs that are dirty, degrading, and even dangerous can build character and even impress others. Anybody can say they are tough and act confident, but true confidence comes from knowing that whenever difficult situations arise, you can rise to the challenge and work very hard to solve the problem.


Method 2: Find Out Fastest Growing Industries in Your Area and Target Them

Those who need work today to pay today's bills have no time to take more classes, get more certificates, or try new things.

However, for those thinking about what to do next, the fastest-growing industries present some very exciting opportunities.

By definition, the fastest-growing industries mean that the amount of business and jobs required will increase by 10%+, sometimes even 100% plus, in a given time.

Fortunately, reliable government data make up well-organized reports published freely online. Here is one for my home state of California and one at the national level.

Now, it is true that someone often needs certification, education, training, and even some prior experience to get involved with the industry. But, by reading, researching, and talking to people, many entry-level jobs need far less than they think. For example, personal care aides add millions of jobs annually in Western countries but often require a short course that would take less than a month, like solar panel operators, wind turbine installers, etc.

For those who have done due diligence and concluded that a specific job or industry would grow into the future, gainful employment might be a few months or even a few weeks away.

Interestingly, Human Resources or informational interviewing for people who work at these fast-growing enterprises can provide some excellent insight into what is needed. What Color is Your Parachute offers some excellent advice for a 15-minute informational interview to see what these companies would be looking for in new hires.


Method 3: Be Willing to Move; It Builds Resiliency

Being mobile can be something that saves people in times of crisis.

While Recessions can decimate entire industries, rarely ever does it destroy every company in every industry around the world.

For example, during the Great Recession of 2008 – 2012, the US and Europe faced negative economic growth rates. Yet, countries such as Gulf Oil countries and Australia had positive growth rates and even labor shoratages in certain fields. Simply being able to take your traditional job and willing to move locations was the answer to many who had the data and insight.

In my teaching career in California, up to 40% of jobs were cut in the Great Recession. Yet, in hard-to-fill countries in the Middle East, South Korea, and China, there was a booming amount of teaching jobs, often that paid competitively and allowed a fair ability to save.

Yes, it is very difficult to get up and move to a new city, state, or even country very quickly. But, those who try it several times find it a welcoming experience, and they can always return home later, hopefully with more money in their pockets.

Method 4: Design a New Career Around You

Of course, for those who can choose what career they want, it is best to design a job compatible with your beliefs, values, goals, preferences, etc. The "perfect fit" or "dream job" for you may not be the same twenty or more years from now, and may be completely different from what another person wants, now or later.

Books like What Color Is Your Parachute help outline many different exercises, frameworks, and tactics to try and find the right job for you. By learning what you really want, and being able to justify it with data, experience, etc. It makes it easier to direct your search and focus on the exact areas you want. While we all feel the pressure to conform, do what others around us are doing, or impress or please others, the real necessary thing is finding the best fit for you, and do whatever it takes to move forward.


Method 5: Don't Be Too Hard on Yourself; Keep Going

Humans often compare themselves to others, creating undue mental stress that can lead to severe consequences.

It is also true that "luck" and forces of the universe beyond your control often can create outcomes that are inherently unfair. But, that does not mean you should not have goals and keep trying.

For example, I always have enjoyed exercise at the gym. Arnold Schwartzenner's genetics shows he is naturally bigger, stronger, and more muscular than I am. He can make gains in the gym faster than I can. He also will peak at a much higher level than I will ever peak.

Many other more moderate examples exist. Physically, some people have genetics that can allow them to start at a higher level, progress faster, and peak higher than I will ever be able to. Likewise, some people are born with more intelligence or money than I have, develop quicker, and peak higher than I probably ever will.

Yet, should I stop trying to exercise, study, or earn a living? Of course not. It means I must realistically look at myself, set reasonable goals relevant to my values, and measure my progress against my capacity for growth, rather than what I hear other people talking about, what I see in TV or magazines, etc.

Specifically to job categories, many of us in the teaching world know people who make far more money, have more prestige, or other factors that we would wishfully like. Yet, we have chosen to be teachers and must develop appropriately to this trajectory. Just because someone else seems to have it better than you does not mean that it is necessarily true, or should even matter, as they ask the same questions: "what is the best version of myself? How do I get there? What to do now? What to do next?".

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