Being an Employee Sucks Right Now

I am very grateful to be in the position that I am in with our company.   Our business hasn’t been impacted hardly at all by this recession – we’ve still been growing very fast, which probably would have been happening irrespective of the economy at large, much like I predicted.

However, it seems like everyone else around me is sweating bullets about their job situation.  It’s pretty nuts.  It stresses me out just thinking about it.  If they don’t have a job, they can’t seem to find anything, which is worsened in Albany because the state government has issued a hiring freeze.  If they have a job they dislike, they too can’t seem to find anything at all, either within their current company or elsewhere.  And if they happen to be one of the lucky ones who likes their job, they are scared shitless that their company will downsize them out of a job.  The longer they’ve been there and the more money they make, the more at risk it seems like they are.  No matter what boat your in, it utterly sucks to be an employee right now.

Normally I try to avoid commenting on things I don’t know much about.  For the most part, I have no idea what these people are going through.  The company I worked for out of college recruited me heavily.  During the one whole year I worked there I had my ups and downs like any employee, but I was given a raise and promotion just prior to leaving.  It felt like they were “fast-tracking” me, not trying to fire me.  At the time, the company hadn’t had any major layoffs either, so it never really crossed my mind.  And to be honest,  after a few months, I was much more concerned with figuring out how I was going to quit than anything else.  Since then I’ve been working for myself in my own little micro economy where the outside world doesn’t have all that much impact on me/us.

All of that said, sometimes it pains me to watch people look for jobs.  They have a cookie cutter resume and they just blast it out to everyone on Monster.com or the local newspaper.  You only need one job.  Quantity isn’t really necessary.  Quality is.  Get creative.

It’s a much better move to work the relationships that you already have.  Where are your friends from college working?  Where do your other friends and family work?  How about former co-workers that you’ve lost touch with?  Re-connect on Linked In or better yet, invite them out to lunch to catch up.  Don’t make the entire conversation about you, but be sure to be honest about your situation:  you’re looking for a new opportunity and it’s tough in this economy.   Desirable job openings are really competitive right now, but if you get a personal recommendation from someone in the company you have a far better shot.

Another route to take is to go after the companies that you want to work for.  Who cares if their website doesn’t list any job openings.  Learn a whole lot about the company and write a email or letter to someone important that you admire.  Find their info on the company site or Linked In or Facebook or, better yet, on their blog.  Tell them how much you admire their company and ask them what types of stuff they look for in an employee.  Maybe you even ask them to review your resume and get some pointers for someone looking to do a job like they do.  If they live near you, ask if you can take them out for a cup of coffee to pick their brains.  Worst case, you have a new acquaintance who does the exact job that you want.  Next time they see a job open up in their industry that you’d be qualified for, who do you think will pop into their head?

The other thing that kind of bothers me is people’s expectations from a job.  In this economy, you’re probably going to have to compromise a bit.  Maybe you have to relocate to find the job you want.  Maybe you have to work a second job for a while because the entry level position in your industry doesn’t pay well.   Maybe you have to try something totally new for a little while.  Or maybe you have to work a part-time or full-time job while you get your startup business off the ground.

There are opportunities out there.  There are opportunities online and offline, starting your business or working for someone else.  Contrary to what the news tells you, there are plenty of businesses out there that are thriving in this economy.  You just have to be willing to work a little bit to find them.

9 comments on Being an Employee Sucks Right Now

  1. […] is a follow-up thought on my last post about being an employee right now.  All of this has sort of led me to take a step back and see the true value of a job and the role […]

  2. paoix says:

    yo just saw this on the brazencareerist through a tweet! nice work!

  3. Adam McFarland says:

    Ha thanks Paolo. Never know when BC will pick up the posts 🙂

    Here’s the link for anyone interested in checking out the comments http://www.brazencareerist.com/2009/02/19/being-an-employee-sucks-right-now

  4. Dale says:

    Great post… I think we need to teach entrepreneurship in school as risk mitigation. What better skill to have than to be able to make money yourself anytime you want?

  5. Adam McFarland says:

    Definitely Dale. People always tend to treat entrepreneurship as an all or nothing thing, but it can be a great thing to be both an employee and an entrepreneur…assuming you’re good at managing your time of course (and obviously you are). Having 2 sources of income can be great risk mitigation. While you have both, you should be able to save more, and if the job goes away you should hopefully be able to expand the business to make up for some/all of the lost income. You should start a class in corporatepreneurship 🙂

  6. […] the topic of job security arises.  Other than this post and the post I wrote a few weeks ago about how much it sucks to be an employee, I haven’t thought once about my job security.  If I was still in my engineering position, […]

  7. […] entrepreneurship feels the same way and sees these down economic times as an opportunity.  Since it sucks to be an employee, why not at least try starting a company?  Hopefully enough people who otherwise would have been […]

  8. […] only thing I won’t do is compromise. I know I want a great career and that is what I intend to […]

  9. Ron Dobsen says:

    A year and four months later after this blog was written and the job market seems even worse. We’ve bailed out the too-big-to-fails and now they’re getting rich again…why aren’t they paying us back?

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