Hopes and Fears

Good morning Boomers!

I read an article this morning by a well-respected, successful career coach that caused me to think about how different experiences color our perceptions.  

Using professional anecdotal evidence, the author noted that job seekers with longevity in former positions had far more options, were in much higher demand, and secured positions with expanded authority and higher compensation than those who had a history of more frequent job changes.  

Then came a warning against taking an “interim” position as this could become career suicide by ruining your resume if you left the job too soon.  

My career has not risen to the level where I enjoyed a wealth of increased opportunities, of expanded responsibilities with higher salaries  from which to choose.  That has not been my experience so my perceptions likely not match those who have enjoyed such career growth.  But I know people who have had such careers, or at least who did.  Today, even for them, the buffet line has scant opportunities from which to choose.  Will these new experiences change their perceptions?

Many people who held high positions, who guarded their resumes in the appropriate manner throughout a long and often extremely illustrious career are unemployed today.  Many were cast out after a succession of mergers and downsizing.  Others were victims of the current recession. 

Too many are still looking after one, or two, or even more years of unemployment.  I wonder if it is because they are waiting for the perfect position?  Are they waiting for the position that will move them further up the career ladder?  Are they waiting for the position that at least gets them back to where there were before they lost their jobs?  Have their perceptions not yet changed to meet a new reality?

Others have grown tired of waiting and have taken an interim position to rejoin the ranks of the working.  Some have been forced to take an interim position to pay the bills and keep food on the table.  Others will be forced to do so soon.  Few will be able to refuse the lifeline forever, even if it does ruin their resumes.  Perhaps their new reality has changed their perceptions. 

It seems that changing times must necessarily change some perceptions, perhaps even rewrite the rules.  We don’t know if what was will ever be again.  And the dizzying array of advice out there is confusing as often as it is conflicting.  

Some advise the unemployed to take an interim position.  Don’t want to look like a lazy slacker who is content to sit on the couch in pajamas watching TV and eating junk food all day while collecting money for doing nothing.  (Sorry… but this often seems to be the perception of unemployment by those who aren’t experiencing it.) An interim position will show a prospective employer that you have been doing SOMETHING since losing your job.

Now we are warned not to take the interim position unless it is the “right”  position because that could damage our careers by putting a black mark on our resumes.    

So the decision boils down to the lesser of two evils.  Take an interim position and have it on your resume forever or wait for the perfect position while the hole in your resume continues to grow.  If you saw my previous post that directed you to the video about the penguin and the whales, you know where I stand.  But the choice must be yours because either way the ramifications can be significant to your career, to your financial picture, and to your future earning power. 

I hope that a year from now things will be better.  I hope we will discover that we should indeed have protected our resumes by waiting for the right position.  I hope  those who took a lifeline will be able to make it relevant, to position it appropriately for their next employer, to protect their career.  I hope things will return to “normal” with plenty of jobs paying good wages.  

My fear is that a year from now those waiting for the perfect job may still be waiting.  My fear is that next year those still searching for a position to replace what they once had will still be searching.  My fear is that a year from now the hole in their resume will just be larger, their skills more rusty, their outlook dimmer.  My fear is that things won’t get better, that jobs will remain scarce and wages will continue to erode.

My fear is that this IS the new normal.  I hope I’m wrong.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: