#JobActionDay11: Speak Up: It Takes a Village to Turn a Jobs Crisis Around

This guest post by Darrell W. Gurney is part of Job Action Day 2011.
[Reinforcing the Job Action Day 2011 "Skill Up Start Up
Speak Up" message is a group of bloggers
dedicating blog posts on or around Job
Action Day 2011 to the event. Scroll down to see their blog posts listed.]

“If a man doesn’t have a job or an income he has neither are life nor liberty and the possibility for the pursuit of happiness. He merely exists. We’re coming to ask America to be true to the huge promissory note that it signed years ago. And we’re coming to engage in dramatic nonviolent action to call attention to the gulf between promise and fulfillment to make the invisible visible.”

– Martin Luther King from his last Sunday sermon at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. 1968
Those words spoken by MLK nearly 44 years ago are as glaringly — if not more so — relevant today. With the greatest unemployment crisis this country has faced in decades setting new statistical records regularly we endure a punch-drunk existence of economic one-downmanship that has our country — and world — teetering precariously on edge. Wild swings in the stock market on a daily basis show an uncertain body of investors. Latest unemployment figures show us still at 9 percent unemployment and even if the economy added five times the number of jobs that were added in October every month it would still take five years to reach 5 percent unemployment. Folks we have issues.
Before going further let me come clean right upfront: I don’t purport to be an economist nor a political activist. As a matter of fact though I generally stay abreast of the news and exert my citizenly right to vote I am very average-American when it comes to intense political involvement. My family and their needs–as a single dad building a business — generally occupy most of my waking hours. I am a writer and coach on topics of how to best compete for the jobs that exist … not a genius on how they are created.
And yet from that average American’s perspective some dynamics nonetheless don’t jibe in the direction our country is going which has me speaking up. And whatever your cut is at these same dynamics I invite and encourage you to “Speak Up” also.
Arianna Huffington wrote in an August 30 article What Hurricane Irene Can Teach Us About the Jobs Crisis that the way the political leaders media and communities banded together to confront and tackle the imminent threat of that storm bearing down on the East Coast could serve as a model for how these groups could come together to defeat this jobs crisis. She points to the effects of collective action that took place as this (potentially much more) harmful storm arrived on nearly the 10th anniversary of yet another time of intense and collective American action: the aftermath of 9/11.

“What Irene and the response to it showed is that when the media devote wall-to-wall attention to something and government officials bring a sense of urgency and ask the public to respond in kind remarkable things can happen. What this weekend demonstrated is that even though we can’t do anything to stop the hurricane with resolve and collective action we can greatly mitigate its destructive impact.”

The point she makes is that a jobs crisis has been wreaking havoc on our economy for more than three years now a crisis that is having both immediate and long-term systemic effects on our economy and yet we allow it to linger and remain unresolved in a sort of hands-in-the-air “I dunno” or “Whadya gonna do?” blame-game.
The media has tired of the “Our top story tonight” status of jobs. The politicians practice CYA (Cover Your Accountability) by seemingly offering plans to confront the situation while knowing full well that the “the other side” won’t buy them…at least hopefully retaining their seats in office by “trying” against those other damn inflexibles.
But what’s missing in the midst of everyone’s frustration and tiring of the dilemma is the American spirit of coming together to defeat — or at least mitigate — an agreed upon “enemy” whether that enemy be a storm or an overtly hostile foreign challenge.
A historical way out of recessed or depressed economies and a surefire way to create jobs is to fire up the war machine. The government spends borrowing from future generations to get everyone engaged and rallied for a cause. Yet in his reply to Paul Krugman’s contention that “War Would End the Recession” Stephen Horowitz slams the idea of destroying the world and indebting future generations in order to turn things around. Ideally we are progressing toward a more conscious human race as we are even now in the midst of pulling out of a war that helped create this very economic mess (which — note to self — came on the heels of the last recession).
If war isn’t the solution and if the same money that would be spent on a military war can’t be spent on a humanitarian war such as a “War on Unemployment” financed by government job creation then where do we turn?
Some say that it is the responsibility of business itself to step into the breach. In his August 15 article What Is Business Waiting For? Joe Nocera makes a case for corporations to assume the leadership role that has been abdicated by politicians. He agrees that business should put people as a priority over profits and prime the economic pump unilaterally by investing their hoarded cash into more workers. However expecting American business leaders to operate with such benevolent social consciousness requires an underlying philosophy absent from their business-school indoctrination toward short-term profits.
A year ago Warren Buffett and Bill Gates led a rally to enroll a group of billionaires to give away a huge percentage of their wealth to humanitarian causes. To date many have joined that call to serve. What if business leaders of some of the strongest companies led a similar rally to enroll their largest colleagues to extend themselves in a paced hiring initiative? Would someone be willing to stick their neck out in that way?
Perhaps a restructuring of American consciousness overall is what is needed. The “Occupy Wall Street” movement though unstructured and unclear in its initial message has tapped into a deep-seated angst residing within the hearts of many: the disparity and inequality of income and wealth that undergirds our nation’s economy. Seemingly just a bunch of know-nothing throw-backs to the protests of the 60s these folks have turned even initially dismissive political leaders around to begin to address this growing economic disparity. Eric Cantor and Mitt Romney are just two examples of politicians who dismissed this movement and now say there is something to be investigated. Who can deny the wake-up call that the top 1 percent of income-earners have quadrupled the percentage increases in income experienced by the bottom 99 percent in the last 30 years.
Therefore being willing to “Speak Up” has something to say for it … even if one feels that they don’t exactly know all the issues or can’t speak particularly intelligently about all the pieces of the puzzle. At least following that gut-urge to express discontent when organized in some form of combined effort gets the minds of those in positions to impact the overall picture whirring towards discussion … if not solution.
Even as the non-economists non-politicians non-business leaders or government bureaucrats that we are and even with our perhaps limited understanding of what it will take to make it work we nonetheless can and do have an impact when we “Speak Up.” And it’s that speaking up of the masses that will help those who do possess the various pieces of the puzzle to come together to solve this crisis.
The American economy officially exited the last recession in June of 2009. If you it doesn’t feel that way to you let someone know about it.
Darrell W. Gurney is a Certified Personnel Consultant (CPC) Certified Job & Career Transition Coach (JCTC) Certified Career Management Coach (CCMC) and Licensed Spiritual Counselor (ALSP RScP) is a 20+ year recruiting veteran and career advisor supporting thousands of professionals at all levels to make profitable transitions or create thriving businesses. In addition to coaching and consulting he writes articles for trade publications and speaks at industry events.
A summa cum laude graduate of the University of Texas with degrees in finance and international business Darrell spent his early career with Arthur Young (Ernst & Young) in London. Conferring with a career-coaching firm at the age of 24 he utilized the backdoor job search method to meet with seven CFOs of the top Hollywood entertainment studios and landed an international financial position with MGM/United Artists Pictures. Through these initial experiences he developed an understanding of networking and what it takes to get in to meet important people … and get ahead. Based in Los Angeles he educates clients in his Stealth SearchTM method.
Darrell is the author of Headhunters Revealed! Career Secrets for Choosing and Using Professional Recruiters which received the 2001 Clarion Award for Best Book from the Association for Women in Communications has been reviewed in Publishers Weekly the American Library Association’s Booklist and Midwest Book Review and has been featured in nationally syndicated career columnist Joyce Lain Kennedy’s “Careers Now.” Available through www.CareerGuy.com www.HeadhuntersRevealed.com and www.Amazon.com etc. the book has become a highly touted resource in the careers field. Microsoft America Online Hunt-Wesson and American Express have all utilized Darrell’s professional recruitment services. His first e-book Backdoor Job Search: Never Apply for a Job Again: 10 Time-Tested Principals for Launching an Effective ‘Backdoor’ Campaign came out in 2010 and was picked up by a major publisher. An expanded version will arrive in bookstores in February 2012 entitled Never Apply for a Job Again! Break the Rules Cut the Line Beat the Rest. His second e-book Finding the S-Spot: Career Pleasure Secrets for Merging Skills Passions and Money has just been released.

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