Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Unemployed or unemployable

It is apparent that I have failed to fully explain my last few posts. The question I raise is whether or not the current long term unemployed are in effect unemployable. The jobs that they lost may not be necessarily being replaced with the same or even equivalent jobs due to permanent changes in the companies or due to technological, sociological or other types of fundamental changes. If those who are losing their jobs now do not have employable skills and the job they were previously doing is no longer viable, no upswing in the economy will bring them back into full employment. They will inevitably have to retrain in areas where skills are in demand or they will remain unemployed or only employed in lower or minimum wage level jobs. No matter what their past experience, if that experience does not prepare the unemployed for a needed job skill, they will not be able to find work.

The government's welfare support of the unemployed, without a commitment to retrain them with new employable skills only prolongs the inevitable. Part of the problem is caused by a school system that in many cases does not produce graduates with employable skills. But the problem is primarily personal. You either learn and grow into marketable work skills or you begin to move backwards and work for a reduced income. Despite your perception, your high paying middle management job may no no longer exist and the skill set you developed is no longer in demand.

Those who are "retired" from the work force have the same problems. If they have no marketable skills, if their retirement income shrinks either through inflationary pressure or cyclical downturns in the economy the retired may find themselves in a downward spiral with no marketable skills that will overcome the age prejudice built into our employment system. Long term retirement planning should include planning to obtain skills that will allow you to continue to be employed as long as you are physically able to work, not stopping work at some arbitrary age.

Work is work. If you or anyone views a job as undesirable merely because it is "boring" then you or they have bought into the entitlement generation full time. The day you stop learning is the day you start dying. I have personally seen people walk away from good, remunerative work because it was not what they wanted and they believed they were entitled to higher pay and better working conditions without any replace job or income. You need to make a realistic inventory of your job skills and work on those areas that will qualify you for replacement employment in an area where your job skills are needed.

For example, if you have been a carpenter in the construction industry, you may have believed that there would never come a time when you could not get a job. Maybe while you still had a job, you should have studied or taken classes to obtain some other types of skills that could be used to find employment in the event of a downturn in construction such as one during the past few years.

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