What if the Turmoil Isn’t Political?
If ever there was a time when America was at risk, it is right here and right now.
However, I am not pointing a finger at politics.
I am suggesting that underemployment is creating the kind of turmoil that sets the stage for the politics at hand.
When we believe subconsciously or pointedly there isn’t enough, basic human nature steps forward and hordes what we have, even if it is progressively obsolete jobs.
We tout 3.8% unemployment, a political number for decades. But, polls suggest that 30-48% of Americans characterize themselves as underemployed. That means they have been kicked to the curb by change.
Just what is underemployment?
It is holding onto an obsolete job in a shrinking industry, hoping the death angel doesn’t come around the corner.
It means holding 3 jobs to keep a roof over our families head.
It is believing our children will not have the kinds of opportunities we had.
While that last statement is true, if we present the idea they will have less opportunities, they will not even look for the abundance of new jobs that are more interesting, exciting, and in some cases, world changing.
In Future Shock, published in 1970, Alvin Toffler predicted that advancing technology would provoke accelerating change. By the turn of the century, large masses of people and entire cultures would be in a paralysis brought on by trying to absorb too much change in too short a period of time.
I don’t believe Toffler could have imagined just how far beyond his predictions we have come. Unless we have leadership that tells us to change or resources that direct the underemployed to learn how to change themselves, the next round of disruption could have negative implications for those of us who work, for decades. Even the most successful workers ought to be concerned. Because a culture that doesn’t believe there is enough is a place we might not want to live.
For example, trucking is the #1 job for 5.2 million men in our country. Robotics will dwindle that number to 800,000 in less than 8 years.
Today’s college graduate will change careers not jobs 4-6 times.
The good news? Technology is offering us freedom from tasks and the kinds of jobs that forced workers to become machine like.
Meaningful leadership would help. But, our nation’s leaders make statements like, “We ought to get these coal miners into trucking.”
For 28 years, my company has served individuals who work and organizations that strive to become better places to work. We work off a business model like most of our competitors. We fiercely protect our intellectual capital and then we sell it to the highest bidders, usually successful professionals and large employers. The underemployed sit at their computers trying to hack a solution to their work challenge.
On Labor Day, we launched a funding campaign to launch a new company called workskunk. We want to develop, as quickly as possible, a digital platform that provides meaningful solutions to work challenges for individuals and talent development for employers. In other words, we are committed to taking all of our career, leader, learning, and engagement offerings and provide them to our country without charge.
This is a community effort.
We are looking for more than gap funding for this initiative. We are seeking partners that have the passion, interest, and means to help solve one of the core problems that is undermining the world’s greatest talent pool on earth.
If my words resonate with you at all, please visit our campaign at http://bit.ly/workskunk
Match your contribution to your level of enthusiasm. If you have thoughts of how you could contribute with talent, connections, and other resources, please feel free to send me a note here.
For this, I am prepared everything we have, on the line.