There was an article in the NYTimes this week about the conditions of the labor market in a Wisconsin town that lost over 4,000 GM jobs. These overpaid ($28/hr) workers are now being forced to re-tool themselves for jobs that won't come close to paying them what they used to make. Here is a sample of the transitioning career paths:
Electrician to Radiology Technician
Truck Driver to Logistics and Warehouse Management
Machine Operator to Veterinarian Assistant
Employee to Restaurateur
The US economy used to be a balance of manufacturing and service sector jobs. However, that changed. We don't make many things in the United States today. That means that the millions of people with manufacturing backgrounds will have little choice but to take their careers in a new direction.
The NY State Dept of Labor publishs monthly newsletters. In the latest edition, it stated that in the Finger lakes there were over 1,500 new jobs created in Educational and Health care services from 2007 to 2008. Not huge numbers, but one of the few growing industries in the region.
So the message that I am passing along is this: Think service, think independent, think global marketplace. Any job that physically requires that you touch or help isn't going anywhere yet.
We can't even predict what the "in demand" occupations will be 10 years from now (though they still try). That comes from the DOL. It is so difficult to predict what the future holds. You can look back historically to see how this country rose out of previous recessions, but all those times this country's makeup was hugely manufacturing based. That isn't the case, we can't hope that making more cars, tanks, airplanes, anything, will bring us out of where we are. The jobs that are hopefully going to come from the current stimulus package are foggy. However, this we know. They won't be paying $28/hr.
Re-tooling and re-budgeting are the answers. Down size personal budgets. Simplify your life style. If you can't make a lot of money, then you might as well love what you do!
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.