There was a time when anyone perceived to be lazy or unproductive, especially teens or college grads sitting around the house during the summer with nothing to do, would hear this phrase:
“Why don’t you get a job!”
All you had to do was go out and find a company or store looking for employees, bring a resume, dress nice and show up willing to work. But times have changed for everyone. Read why no one simply goes out and gets a job anymore.
Prevailing negative belief systems
Unfortunately, several prevailing negative belief systems exist within today’s workforce:
- Unemployed workers expecting too much too soon (ie. thinking certain jobs are beneath him or her)
- Companies refusing to hire people they consider overqualified
- Unemployed workers believing only jobs they are passionate about are worth the effort
- Companies seeing highly skilled workers with no defined career path as negative
- The belief that directly asking for work is considered “unprofessional”.
- Lack of company/employee loyalty in a gig economy.
After all, why bother trusting someone to stick around when statistics and market behaviors dictate an employee will leave after two years? Employees are safer being job hoppers and companies are better off never trusting, only taking quick profits and moving on. This is good business, right? Wrong.
What companies and employees alike have forgotten is that “jobs” are ultimately about “making money”. And when things get better for everyone...they get better for everyone. In the past, it was always understood that the more money the company made, the more it would benefit the employee, eventually. In this process, the employee would learn some sort of skill that could be transferable for new work in the future.
US Bureau of Labor Statistics over the last five years repeatedly show that today’s worker will have 10 or more jobs before age 40. Previous generations would have 3 to 5 jobs in their entire career.
Even the small jobs face tougher competition
Why go out and introduce yourself to people at employment agencies, companies or stores, when you can stay home and fill out 1,000 online job applications? The answer is simple: Those who take such an approach are wasting their time.
Statistics show that less than 2% of online job applications are considered and less than 1% will be called in for an interview. So, if you see a job and it happens to pay above minimum wage, but the work requires little to no skill or education, you can expect to be competing with hundreds of applications.
In the past, these were the “right of passage” jobs people worked to get money and some experience. It helped them build up a work regimen. Ironically, technology has led to an increase in demand for in-person applying and interviewing.
The ways people “get jobs” changed
The unemployment rate in the United States is only measured amongst people actively looking for work. But as many people know, especially the millions of freelancers in the USA, there are ways to make money online without ever seeming like one is “trying to get a job”.
For example, writers who make most of their money with gigs contributing articles to websites. These connections were made through websites like Upwork, Fiverr or any other service providing of work-from-home jobs.
A survey done by Contently in 2015 showed that freelancers can make somewhere between $5000 to $10,000 a month. In some cases, these freelancers are working less than 35 hours a week. Granted they may not be making a substantial salary, but they are not looking for work.
Those “get a job” type jobs are going to older workers
Today’s workforce is expected to work longer and harder past the typical retirement age of 65. Americans now work past 65 years of age at the highest rates seen in the last 50 years. Ultimately, this is crowding younger, less skilled workers out of the workforce of those smaller jobs like cashiers. With the rising cost of healthcare and education, many older workers see it as a wise move in order to pay bills, pay for a child’s education and even simply to stay in shape.
What does this all mean?
The above simply indicates that the way things were when looking for work has changed largely due to technology, the economy and the cultural shift away from work environments of the 20th century. At the end of the day, the work is still out there. You cannot go “get” it. Now, you must work to discover it and let go of what you once knew to be the way to get a job.