As spring approaches and schools are nearing the point of releasing another generation of graduates, there will be many young people trying to sort out what to do next. Some already have goals and know the path they want to follow, but for far too many, the uncertainties appear so overwhelming that they will opt to sit in their parents’ basement rather than embrace the next adventure.
They will conclude that there is no opportunity for them even though opportunities abound like never before in our history. And, even more alarming is the failure that so many are accepting without even graduating. Whatever are you thinking?
Much of my life the economic news has always included well-founded concerns about a lack of jobs and low wages. My generation faced a labor market in which the number of potential employees far outnumbered the number of available jobs.
Most of the time people looked at these issues as social issues and not economic / market issues, which of course they are, as a flip-flop in the job market is now totally demonstrating. While limited jobs, or incomes, too low to sustain one’s self, can impact social issues, the solutions lie in the economic world. And, programs like a mandated minimum wage are proving to be as ineffective as they have always been, since the mandated minimum wages now tend to be far below what most employers are begging workers to accept, proving that wages are impacted by the law of supply and demand just as any other commodity. When the supply of workers is low, the price the market is willing to pay for it, increases.
Right now, wages and benefits are rising as employers scramble to get and keep employees, and no one elicits much sympathy any more if they claim they can’t find a job. No one believes that. So it’s time to abandon excuses and figure out how to jump on a train that is leaving the station.
The fact is while employers are facing a big challenge, the prospects have never been better for young people entering the labor market; for people who have had problems getting a foothold in the producing world; and for those on the lower most rungs of the economic ladder. There is no more room to shift responsibility for failure, because everyone out there is rooting for every potential worker to get a job.
Although it is commonly being said that the biggest problem faced by employers is finding skilled, trained and experienced workers, those are all problems that they can address – what all of them really want are employees who are eager to learn, dedicated to improving themselves, have a good attitude and most importantly are dependable and honest. If you can fill that later part of a job description you can write your ticket. Those are the people of the greatest value in the market place and employers will bend over backwards to keep them – in fact, that has largely always been true.
No matter what kind of work you think you want to go into and even if you think you can’t afford the schooling or training to get the job, or if you are thinking you have no shot at a certain kind of job because you lack the training or experience, just go try and prepare to be surprised at the opportunities that are likely to materialize. While there are an increasing number of programs aimed at helping students get training and education, employers themselves are making amazing offers to pay for the training or providing on the job training. Most employers are going above and beyond to encourage potential new workers.
If one situation doesn’t work out, the very fact that you are involved in the work place, learning about the dynamics of your field and encountering other people will present opportunities you would never otherwise have known about. Having that first job will unveil to you other potential steps up the ladder. That will be true even if you aren’t directly involved in the field you want to be – opportunities don’t come pounding at your door, as rule, they manifest themselves as you are moving around in the work-a-day world. Opportunities abound but you have to be there to see them.
So get out there – no matter where “there” turns out to be… the way will become clear after that, as long as you are keeping your eyes open.