by Katharine Hansen, Ph.D.
At few times in recent history has an economic situation been more ripe for citizen activism than the jobs crisis precipitated by the 2008 meltdown of the economy. Frustration has manifested itself in 2011’s Occupy Wall Street movement — but the focus of that activist initiative has not strictly been on jobs, and not everyone is comfortable with Occupy Wall Street’s strategies. Frustrated job-seekers and those who believe job-creation should be the No. 1 priority can still speak up and work for change.
Here are eight suggestions for speaking up and being a change agent for jobs:
- Contact your state and federal legislators — by email, phone, postal mail, and social media — to demand action on jobs.
- Lobby local leaders for action on jobs. “The jobs war is what should get city leaders up in the morning, what they should work on all day, and what should keep them from getting to sleep at night,” writes Jim Clifton in his book, The Coming Jobs War (Gallup Press, October 2011). “To reenergize, to strike lightning on your city’s GDP growth, its brain gain, its quality job creation, its vitality, and its future prosperity, don’t expect national answers. ‘Everything is local’ is truer regarding job creation than anything else. You have to jumpstart your city yourself,” Clifton writes in an excerpt from his book in Gallup Management Journal.
- Write letters to the editor demanding that government leaders and business focus on job creation.
- While you’re at it, write letters to editors and broadcast news directors asking for more coverage of the jobs crisis since Americans repeatedly say in polls that the jobs issue is the most important to them. See Arianna Huffington’s article, What Hurricane Irene Can Teach Us About the Jobs Crisis, in which she cites the excellent and well-organized coverage of Hurricane Irene and asks that the same be applied to the jobs crisis.
- Join or form a job club to give frustrated job-seekers a forum to speak out and to consider collective activism to push for job creation.
- Donate. Contribute to Create Jobs for USA, a partnership between Starbucks (which donated the first $5 million) and Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), a group of community lending institutions set up to provide financing to community businesses that need help. One-hundred percent of each donation is earmarked to help create and sustain jobs in underserved communities. Donors get a wristband to wear as a symbol of support.
- Speak up at every opportunity — meetings of civic organizations, professional organizations, religious organizations, the Chamber of Commerce — to ask businesses to do their patriotic duty and forego short-term profits in favor of hiring. Get a conversation going in blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more to encourage businesses to hire. See Joe Nocera’s New York Times article, What Is Business Waiting For?
- Speak up at the ballot box by voting out those who refuse to address the jobs crisis.
Final Thoughts on Being a Change Agent for Jobs
One of the most powerful ways you can speak up is to tell your story. Stories touch the emotions in a way that facts and demands cannot. Leaders need to hear the stories of the frustrated and disenfranchised jobless.
This article is part of Job Action Day 2011.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
Katharine Hansen, Ph.D., creative director and associate publisher of Quintessential Careers, is an educator, author, and blogger who provides content for Quintessential Careers, edits QuintZine, an electronic newsletter for jobseekers, and blogs about storytelling in the job search at A Storied Career. Katharine, who earned her PhD in organizational behavior from Union Institute & University, Cincinnati, OH, is author of Dynamic Cover Letters for New Graduates and A Foot in the Door: Networking Your Way into the Hidden Job Market (both published by Ten Speed Press), as well as Top Notch Executive Resumes (Career Press); and with Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D., Dynamic Cover Letters, Write Your Way to a Higher GPA (Ten Speed), and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Study Skills (Alpha). Visit her personal Website or reach her by e-mail at kathy(at)quintcareers.com. Check out Dr. Hansen on GooglePlus.
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