Career Ladder To Nowhere

Another downturn in the economy, another rung falls off the career ladder. An interesting article over at the HBS blog argues that the current staffing cuts and furloughs that have been executed by multitudes of companies in this recession is taking us one big step further away from the antique concept of the 5 day, 40 hour work week.

But the idea of furloughs, particularly for managers and professionals, is planting the seed of a new way of looking at work in our minds. Suddenly companies have asked us to work, say, 32 hours a week rather than 40. Hmmm. What does that really mean? Most of us were never working 40 hours – we might have been working 50 or maybe even 60. We were answering emails at odd hours, writing in the early hours, calling Singapore at night. Does this mean that we should now work 20% less than we were before . . . or does it mean we should work literally 32 hours?

For many, I believe the conclusion will be that we should work the hours specified by the company and perhaps do other things – start new businesses on the side perhaps, sell stuff on eBay, take another job, go back to school, whatever – with the other time.

This shift sits well with many in Gen X who have already tended to bind their involvement more carefully than have the all-out Boomers. But for both generations, it will be a new way to look at work – another step on the slippery slope of recessionary lessons moving us from (1) you don’t have a job for life, to (2) you may never find full time work with one employer, to now (3) even a full-time job is really only a contractor job in disguise.

Know Your Credit Default Swaps

If you are a little befuddled about what caused this economic mess we are currently in and will continue to be in for at least the next 18-24 months, take a few hours and listen to This American Life’s Giant Pool of Money and Another Frightening Show About the Economy. They are two amazingly clear and informative podcasts about what caused this mess and how the “geniuses” on Wall Street brought the modern economic system to its knees.

Frustration with the Job Search

i have been getting supremely frustrated with my job search. i do not think i have ever experienced anything quite like this. at least i know i am not alone since the unemployment rate is the highest its been in years. it is also reassuring that it was economic reasons that put me in this situation rather than performance issues. i know, or have heard of, many extremely talented people with backgrounds far more impressive than mine who have been out of work. a friend told me that the rececession in the early 1990’s cut the fat from corporations, while this recession (we are still in a recession, even though the economists say otherwise) has been more widespread and i think he is right. i will continue to plug along and i am confident that something will happen and i will catch a break sometime soon! click here to go to my resume.