If You Have Less Than 20 Years’ Employment, Are You Recession Proof?

I was reading an article over at the San Jose Mercury News about the unemployment rate hitting Silicon Valley, when a story about a laid off HP employee caught my eye. The employee had started with HP when she was 19 years old and had been with the company for 28 years. Last September she was laid off from HP from her position as a  ‘printing systems technical consultant’.

But there was something about this story that struck me. In my small circle of friends and acquaintances, it seems like the people who are getting laid off in this recession are those who are in their 20th through 30th year of employment. Is this just me? Are employers getting rid of their older workers and keeping their lower paid newer employees to make ends meet?

In the SJMN article, it also states that:

Silicon Valley’s tech workforce is shrinking at an alarming rate, with job losses in the region’s dominant industry outpacing the overall employment decline across the valley.

Seemingly immune to recession for much of last year, the valley has been hit hard with tech job cuts that accelerated in the beginning of the year. Tech accounted for 21 percent of all lost jobs in the first two months of the year, for instance, compared to 13.6 percent of all lost jobs since the start of the recession in December 2007, according to a Mercury News analysis of data from the state Employment Development Department.

And more than two-thirds of the 7,112 layoffs scheduled during the first quarter were from high-tech companies, according to notices filed by companies with the EDD.

The job losses hit especially hard in a region so dominated by technology employment. And the jobs include some of the best-paying in the valley, supporting lower-paid workers in non-tech areas like retail and construction.

Tech jobs in the valley “are declining pretty rapidly,” said Jon Haveman, a principal with Beacon Economics, a firm that has done a recent study of Silicon Valley employment trends.

Please share with us your thoughts and opinions.

Comments welcome.


Elkhart, IN Hit Hard By Recession

I was born and raised in Elkhart, IN, and I still have family and many friends who live there. Last night I spoke with my niece and she was telling me how hard Elkhart had been hit by the recession and how many people had lost their jobs. I guess like many of us, the recession is something we see on the nightly news, but depending on where you live the effects are extremely different.

Here in Springfield, Missouri we have been blessed in that the effects of the recession are fairly mild. Yes, people have lost their jobs. Yes, businesses have closed. Yes. I know people who have lost their jobs. But overall the area where we live is still vibrant and hopeful of a quick recovery.

This morning CNN featured Elhart, IN and interviewed the towns mayor. He is reporting that, in Elkhart county, some 35,000 people are out of work, which represents an unemployment rate of 18.3%. The mayor was standing in front of trucks that were bringing in donated food to those in need.

Elkhart is not in a recession. Elkhart is in a deep depression.

I certainly hope that all of the bankers and mortgage companies who got our country and the world into this mess are proud of themselves. I am sure their parents must be happy that they were able to raise crooks whose greedy ways have affected us all.

As a Christian and a follower of our Lord Jesus Christ, I must accept these people as being children of God. But Lord, you sure make this a difficult task when so few can cause so many to suffer in the name of their own greed. This does serve as proof that evil surrounds us all and that the devil is always trying to convert news souls to do his bidding.

Finding the Silver Cloud in Unemployment

Everything in life comes down to attitude and with the right attitude you can change the loss of a job into an opportunity to change yourself from a mediocre employee to an outstanding one while working at a job you enjoy.

According to the National Association for Counseling and Development, the average person experiences 5 to 12 job changes during their working lifetime. However, even though it is a common experience the person going through the stress of losing a job and having to find another one cannot escape the stress associated with being temporarily out of work. To make it easier experts tell us to simply take one day at a time and to follow a simple 12-step program.

Careerbuilder.com lists this twelve-step plan which includes the following:

  1. Make sure that you file your unemployment claim as soon as feasibly possible. This can be filed at your nearest state unemployment office on the first day after you lose your job.
  2. Take time to recover from the shock of losing your job and realize that it doesn’t matter if you have known about the loss for months or if it was sudden. No matter how long the length of time is you may still suffer from a range of emotions that range from guilt to anger to depression. You should realize that these feeling are not unique and are shared by everyone who is forced to endure this situation.
  3. Draft a budget to ensure that you have the necessary funds to survive. To do this you will need to first determine how you spent your money prior to your unemployment and then decide how you can cut temporarily cut back to live within your out-of-work budget.
  4. Once you are sure that you can survive sit down and prepare a dynamite resume that will knock the socks off the people interviewing you. Make sure that your resume is accurate and describes your qualifications and achievements including examples of measurable accomplishments that you have documented.
  5. Draft a cover letter for your resume. While each letter must be customized for the job you are seeking you can prepare one that overall allows you to make quick changes to fit the bill for any position that you are seeking.
  6. Next, network with the people you know. Here the old adage that it isn’t what you know so much as who you know that can help to land you the position you want. A network can include former co-workers, family, and/or friends.
  7. Now you are ready, so buy a great interview outfit that will give you the confidence you need to face the person you hope will be your new boss. On top of making you feel better, the outfit can also help to make a good first impression. Remember, however, that while casual dress is often ok in the work environment itself it is never ok for the interview. For the interview you need to look all-business.
  8. Before the interview practice your interview skills. A minimum of three hours should be spent preparing for each interview. This preparation should include learning facts about the company you are hoping to work for such as the number of employees they have, their products, and their long-term vision. You should also draft concise answers to the most commonly asked questions such as why you want to work for the said company. You may also want to ask your own questions such as what is the company looking for in their ideal candidate.
  9. Keep a schedule just like you were at work. Your job during this time is preparing for interviews and interviewing so make yourself unavailable to family and friends during business hours.
  10. While you are waiting for an interview to be offered enhance the skills you need to qualify for the job. This will boost your self-esteem as well as better prepare you to fill the needs of the company you are hoping to work for.
  11. After 5 take time for fun. Get away from the stresses of looking for work and plan time to spend with your family and friends.
  12. Lastly, stay connected. Just because you are no longer working for the same company you most likely have friends that you would like to stay in contact with. Don’t isolate yourself this will lead to depression and until you have established yourself in a new job you will need the contacts from the old job to feel like you have the necessary ties. 

Given, you will need to keep yourself in top shape if you want to be considered for an equal or better job especially if you had worked for a company long enough to have moved up the salary ladder. However, if you can hang in there you can be assured of the old adage that anyone who really wants to work will find work even if it is only temporary until they land the job that they really want.

I know this is true after watching my daughter when she lost a job to down-sizing. She was a single mother and refused to accept any help. As a result, she started work at a temp agency while she was still receiving severance pay from her old employer. She actually made more during the two-weeks she was working this way than she did when she was working for her former employer. Thankfully, her job ethic provided her with a regular full-time job opportunity within the first month of her lay off and she ended up making more money than she had in her previous position. Given that, one must realize that every cloud can have a silver lining if you are willing to look for it and yes, work for it.

[tags]unemployment, unemployment insurance, job opportunity, job interviews, interviewing, National Association for Counseling and Development, NACD, Careerbuilder.com, [/tags]

Instructables – Do It Yourself Fun

For sometime now, I have been contemplating a subscription of MAKE Magazine for my younger brother. I figure that it would be more productive than sitting in front of the computer playing games all day.

Well, as I continued to investigate the value making such a purchase, I happened to come across a Website that I suspect, has some relation to MAKE. It’s called Instructables and man, is this site cool!
Continue reading “Instructables – Do It Yourself Fun”