Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fixing the Job Market Will Take Everyone Digging In – WARNING CONTROVERSIAL

Earlier today Ted Turner was on CNN doing a junket for his new book. He was asked whose fault it is that we’re suffering through this world financial crisis. His response: “We all are.” He went on to say that the average person can only live beyond their means for so long before it catches up. Ted Turner understands what it takes to make a business profitable.

Hours ago, the Japanese government announced that the world’s second largest economy is officially now in a recession. I haven’t had a chance to call my college roommate Asano in Tokyo to ask how the slowdown is affecting Japan's job market, but I’m sure it’s affecting her like it’s affecting us all.

This may seem controversial to say – everyone wants to hear how hard we all work – but the truth is that few people outside of those whose pay is linked to the success of the business, invest in the companies we work for like we would invest in ourselves. And again controversial – unions may be among the worst offenders. Union positions are so regulated by work times, break times, paid holidays, precise duties, etc. that there’s no room for industrious employees to say, “I’ll stay until this job gets done.” [My uncle is a janitor at a public school, and he’s not even allowed to screw in a light bulb per his union contract. He has to call plant operations.] Can anyone argue that’s either productive or that it inspires someone to go the extra mile?

The only way for our economy (and by extension our job market) to get back on track is for 1) companies to cut the fat out of their budgets, 2) employee pay to be compensated in large part by performance-based commissions and/or bonuses, and 3) there to be a significant increase in the number of small businesses or employee co-ops where the compensation reflects the effort invested. It sounds harsh – especially in light of the U.S. job market where benefits are an expected extension of salary. But if Ted Turner is right – and I think we all know he is – that American’s have been living beyond our means for far too long, the only way to move away from our role as world consumers and begin producing products and services again, is to take back the power through an explosion of small business.

I’d like to hear what you think. Please consider sharing your insight with other readers by commenting today.

Creating Job Security, The 2009 All-In-One Workbook, published by The Graduate Group, will be available December 1. To order e-mail, call +1 860 233 2330, or visit them online at


Creating_Job_Security said...

I need to clarify that this post is not anti-union. There are times, and certainly in some professions, where a union contract guarantees that a replacement employee (such as a nurse or a certified technician) will be adequately qualified to step in on a moment’s notice. Nonetheless, I stand by the fact that people whose compensation is directly linked to the success of the business (such as sales people on commission or co-op members) do tend to work more diligently toward assuring the financial success of an organization than someone who gets paid the same regardless of the end product. - dy

Berah said...

I agree that most Americans are living beyond their means. Unfortunately I believe that they are doing so in an effort not to "get ahead" or "keep up with the Jones'", but simply to keep their perverbial heads above water. With a current annual rate of 5.3 percent, grocery inflation alone can be seen as a budget killer. When you add to that the ever inflating price of gas (despite the current trend of lower prices), the average person may find themselves using that credit card more than they should. Unfortunately, no matter how difficult the task may be, the only people who are going to get the American people out of the current crisis are the American people themselves.