The Problem

So apparently I failed miserably at Barcamp Jonesboro by not making it. Truth is I said all along my making it was contingent on a handful of factors, but none the less I failed. I can assure all of you that I will make this up in some way soon. I will however take some time to share with everyone the things I planned to talk about there. This will be a 3 part blog series and I hope you all will take some time in the comments to share your thoughts along the way.

The problem

Generations are defined by large life shaping events. The great depression, WWII, Cold War and Vietnam are examples of events that have shaped the generations before us. I remember walking out of class on September 11, 2001 standing in a courtyard at OBU thinking this was our generational defining event.

Little did I know that September 11, while defining for sure, would not even begin to have the impact on our world as the event that followed. Fast forward a few years to my second real job of my career. I was sitting in my boss’ office 2 years ago this week and we watched the stock market begin a freefall that would last all week.

In the 2 years that have followed we have seen unemployment higher than any time since the great depression. Many companies have gone under and starting a new business has become harder due to stricter loan reviews.

Supply vs demand

You are in the middle of all of this, the talented and hard working employee. Before the current economic downfall good employees were hard to find. Organizations recognized their best and tried to keep them. At the same time other organizations desired them and tried to obtain them. Supply of good employees was low, demand was high. It was the perfect situation. You could work hard, do a good job and get rewarded.

Now we have high unemployment. Everyone is busting their ass to do the best job possible just to keep things going. Bad employees are becoming better, good employees have become rock stars. A good portion of those good and rock star employees have still been unfortunate and find themselves without a job. This means there is way more talent to go around than there is jobs desiring them.

Recently we ran a job posting for an entry level data analyst. Of those who had applied we had former CEOs, people with PhDs and all sorts of highly over qualified workers. All of these people were applying for a $32k job.

Upper hand to the employer

This situation has given employers the upper hand. They can be more picky about who they hire, offer them less money, and let them go far easier than before. The supply has become extremely high and the demand extremely low.

As an employee you have to do your best to hold on. You have to work as hard as you can, as fast as you can and try not to piss anyone off doing it. Employers recognize this and can treat you however they want without the fear of having to retain a talented employee that they had before. This has created a situation where a lot of jobs have become a lot worse and as an employee there is little you can do about it.

This may sound a little dire, and I’ll admit it is not exactly the rosiest scenario to be in as an employee. However I think this situation is showing a change in business mindset happening across the nation. Next post I will talk about this new paradigm shift and finish with the last post of the series talking about the implications this has for business in the future.

Posted in Strategy

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