Saturday, January 24, 2009

The World Has Changed -- Is It For the Better?

With a national unemployment rate of 7.2%, and some areas reaching double digits, the world has changed economically. Some companies are cashing in by offering bargains suited to the economic challenges of the day. Complete Entertainment Exchange, better known as CeX*, buys used electronics and entertainment in exchange for cash or store credit.

Even government is reigning in the spending. Governors in several U.S. states -- California, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Utah -- are looking at creative ways to trim state budgets. The news is filled with former mid-level managers and executives taking jobs delivering pizza or waiting tables. Most report the experience humbling but not impossible.

The question remains, will this recession change the way we do business and if so how? There are some things that cannot be undone. When AIDS began to spread rampantly in the 1980s and 1990s, the world began talking about safe sex in a new way with a much higher level of frequency. This recession will change the way the world talks about, thinks about, and uses money for some time to come.

A global economy with global communication means companies will outsource the jobs they can to the lowest bidder. So long as outsourcing call-centers to India and manufacturing to China is fiscally advantageous, fewer factories and manufacturing centers will remain open in the U.S.

Some jobs cannot be outsourced to foreign countries. Medical care cannot be outsourced. When someone is ill they are not going to hop on a plane and fly thousands of miles instead of going to a regional health care facility. The need for home health aides is estimated to grow by 40% over the next 10 years. Transportation cannot be outsourced. People still have to get themselves and the things they want and need from one place to the next.

Some jobs cannot be outsourced even within the same country. If a job requires a worker to contribute services at a set location and with set hours, it cannot be outsourced. Restaurant staff, retail staff, delivery services staff, staff managers, and government employees -- these positions cannot be outsourced. Plumbers, electricians, mechanics, security officers, hair stylists and other personal service specialists will always be needed.

There was a time, not so long ago, when you asked kids what they wanted to be when they grew up, and they named a profession. “I want to be a teacher, a police officer, a lawyer, a reporter. I want to be a doctor, a fireperson, a pastor.” You did not hear little children say, “I want to grow up to be a data analyzer,” or “I want to be the assistant vice president of a large multinational conglomerate.” With more positions being outsourced to the global market, this recession could very well see posted openings increase for positions with job titles that describe the daily work required.

Can anything truly positive come from this economic downturn that has already devastated so many lives? Some would argue that despite the pain, this recession will bring constructive, long-term change.

As people begin to think through the purchases they make, this recession will likely make people think twice before they engage in “spontaneous, unprotected spending.” And , as more people stay home, and forgo premium services and subscriptions, a higher percentage of families will continue to report spending more quality time at home together.

As money becomes tight, more people report investing time in relationships rather than purchasing expensive gifts with shiny bows for loved ones. And as change weighs on the hearts and minds of people everywhere, more survey respondents report turning to faith in something beyond themselves to get them through difficult times.

Indeed, this recession has changed people, and in doing so it has changed the world. It has not been without pain or a call for humility. And according to some economics, it could get more difficult before the situation improves. Despite this, many agree, that in some ways, this recession has changed our lives very much for the better.

CALL FOR COMMENTS: I'd like to hear your thoughts about how this recession has affected your life or your thinking. Your comments may be just the inspiration someone reading this blog needs to hear to make it through their day with hope.

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1 comment:

mberenis said...

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