Go Forth and Prosper?

(Time: Business & Money, 2013)

(Time: Business & Money, 2013)

Rainy days are always the best medicine for writer’s  block.  Something about the weather, its dreariness, the rain, the dark clouds, plays on your mood and your thoughts.  It’s always far easier to actually commit to writing when the sun isn’t shining, the birds aren’t chirping, and the breeze isn’t singing a tantalizing love song calling you to come outdoors and play.

I’ve just finished one of many iterations of “job searches” for the day, having just completed a short term Customer Relationship Management (CRM) database implementation contract the middle of May.  Its ironic that U.S. economists continue to banter on about a stronger economic situation with improved employment trends, and yet the 2013 Workforce/Workplace Forecast (The Herman Group) states “2013 will look much like 2012, with most employers adopting a ‘wait-and-see’ approach to hiring and U.S. unemployment remaining above 7 percent for the year.”

Competition is fierce, especially amongst educated, degreed professionals well above the thirty-something category who have been diligently fighting an uphill battle to reestablish themselves in a previously dominant IT-centered metropolis that hit rock bottom several years ago (i.e., Kansas City, MO and Kansas City, KS post Sprint layoffs).  Unfortunately, if you were part of that era and have the name “Sprint” attached to your experience anywhere on your resume, chances are you’ve been dubbed an “untouchable” – even years later.

Contract based opportunities appear to be the current trend, and most statistics support this observation.  According to The Herman Group, “Companies will keep trying to do more with less—cutting staff and hiring independent contractors to squeeze still more productivity and profit out of their teams.”  Unfortunately, this strategy ignores the need for a happy, engaged workforce.  I’ve spoken with more friends and colleagues who are, for the first time in several years, considering a major job change for just this reason.

On the flip side of the coin, if you’re and independent contractor and/or small business, chances are that you’ve seen fierce competition in the number of new upstarts and freelancers entering the market.  Small businesses are aware that they need to improve their operational structure to gain an advantage in their industry; however, many of these business are incredibly mired in their “we’ve always done it that way and are comfortable with it” paper processes and refuse to step into the 20th century and use that CRM they purchased for much more than a giant sized paperweight.

Point in case, I recently had a customer refuse to implement a mobile iOS (i.e., Apple IPhone Operating System also used on all of Apple’s mobile devices) construction estimation package because they couldn’t see the value of spending $10 per month per user to gain the strategic advantage of a system that would provide estimation continuity in the field, eliminate the need to lug around pencil and paper while on the jobsite, and ensure that every estimate was accurate and generating revenue for the company.  What made this more unbelievable was the fact that I offered to program the first template for FREE so that this company had the advantage of “trying it before  buying it!”  Have you EVER heard of a company turning down such a great FREE deal?

Software will continue to replace the need for employees who function as estimators or appraisers, robotics technology is already replacing the need for employees in manufacturing processes, and companies continue to farm out work to remote, offshore workforces.  At present, if I had one word of advice to offer to the next generation, or even to those currently considering a significant career change, it would be “healthcare” (projected to reach $4.78 trillion in U.S. spending by 2021).

In this recovering economy, you do not want the task of sifting through thousands of irrelevant, low-paying jobs to find the one that will sustain your family.

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