The age of “jobs” or at least jobs as we know them, is rapidly coming to an end. For the last 25 plus years we have read news stories of job losses, organizational cut backs, layoffs, downsizing and flattening out of management, especially middle management. Our government is trying to create jobs, but yet recent economic, social and cultural changes are destroying jobs. This isn’t new news, yet most Americans don’t want to look at it, because most people are adverse to change.
Don’t believe it? Look in the want ads and in online employment sites. Once loaded with possibilities, now only a few “traditional” jobs are posted. Traditional jobs with benies are gone. Once totaling approximately 20% of compensation, benefits packages have completely changed within the last 5 years.
Still don’t believe it? The unemployment rate has been stuck near the current rate, just above 9 percent for more than two years now. 14 million people in the U.S. are out of jobs. In September the Labor Department reported that, for the first time since 1945, the net change in the number of new jobs created in August was exactly … zero. This comes at a time of record corporate profits.[i]
Now for the local picture. . .unemployment statistics in Arizona. Unemployment as reported by the Office of Employment and Population Statistics is hovering at 9%, .8% lower than last year (October), but still significantly close to the U.S. picture to date.
Let’s “get real” though. . .the numbers quite reflect what is actually changing. The number of jobs has changed significantly and that jobs in certain industries has changed, but the truth about what is really disappearing. . .the concept of “job” itself. Truth is. . .the paradigm is shifting.
Dr. William Bridges has been talking about the “de-jobbing” of America since the early 90’s. Was it crazy talk or providence? Bridges said in 1993,
“The job is a social artifact, although it is so deeply embedded in our consciousness that most of us have forgotten its artificiality or the fact that most societies since the beginning of time have done just fine without jobs. . . .”[ii]
So. . .what’s the main problem that we’re neither completely seeing or dealing with? Americans are stuck between an old paradigm of getting a job and the new paradigm of looking at work in a different light. Therein lies the hurt, as 14 million people feel it, hanging on to a paradigm of the past. Most economists believe the jobs have gone overseas, and they have. Good news. . .there has and will always be. . .work.
[i]CBS News, September 4, 2011, “Where have all the jobs gone?”
[ii][ii]William Bridges, “Getting Ready for a 21st Century Career,” 1993.