Sunday, August 15, 2010

Note to the Unemployed - Get Off Your Ass and Do Something!

Now, before you crucify me for being insensitive, would you do me the favor of reading the entire blog post? After that, you can use the comments section to "rip me a new one".

I've been watching the unemployment numbers for the past couple of years and have come to a sad conclusion -- 9.5% national unemployment is going to be the new norm because the Obama administration, Congress, State Governments and Big Business won't do the right thing to solve the problem and no, Meg Whitman won't be able to do anything in California either.

Ideally, if government and big business would pull their collective heads out of their asses we could solve the problem this year. Unfortunately we live in the real world where their heads stay firmly planted "where the sun don't shine".

Much like the music, newspaper, TV News and advertising businesses have felt the impact of the Internet/Information Revolution; so has the employment sector. During the recent "Great Recession" many businesses downsized to stay alive, but after downsizing realized that they didn't need all of those employees anyway, instead they just decided to make their current employees work harder for the same pay. Today many large companies are showing record profits; mainly because they are doing the same business with fewer employees. There is little incentive to increase hiring because technology has made fewer employees more efficient; after all there is a bottom line to protect.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau; in 2004 there were 23.3 million businesses in the United States with 9 or fewer employees; 19.5 million sole proprietors among them. Many of those 23.3 million businesses would love to hire, but they do not have the resources nor access to capital to do that. Had the government spent even 50% of that $700 billion in stimulus money on helping these small businesses, our unemployment rate would have dropped dramatically ... and seeing as employed people spend more than unemployed people the economy would start to grow again.

So, since Big Business isn't hiring and small business can't hire ... unless you want to work for Obama, Inc. the job of creating your next job, falls to you.

I was unemployed for three years after I shut down Glacier Bay. I sent out over 300 resumes and had a total of 4 interviews, heck I couldn't even get an interview with the local CVS pharmacy that was opening up in my home town. I had to reinvent myself because I needed an income. I became a blogger and consultant, one of those 19 million sole proprietors; I cut my expenses; I leaned on the support of my loving family; I bought back DVDs and CDs from consumers and sold them on Amazon; I made money online with Google Adsense and as an Amazon affiliate; I wrote and posted content on Associatedcontent.com and Squidoo.com. I wasn't getting rich but I was paying the bills.

During that first year and a half I sent out the 300 resumes; eventually I stopped doing that and just decided my destiny was in my own hands. If I was going to make a living, I had to rely on my own efforts. I was perfectly content to continue this approach because each year I made more money than the previous year. Who needs a job, I would just work for myself ... then a strange thing happened. Because of my blog and my consulting, I met Neel Grover, the CEO of Buy.com and over the next 6 months we would occasionally converse about the state of online commerce. I remember during Christmas in 2008 telling my dad that I should ask Neel about coming on board at Buy.com to help them grow their marketplace business. My dad said; "what do you have to lose"... well, the rest as they say is history :).

In January of 2009 I started consulting full-time for Buy.com and was offered a full-time position in May of the same year. The job is a dream job for me and would not have happened had I not been active re-inventing myself for the 3 years leading up to it.

The moral of this story: If you are currently unemployed "get off your ass and do something" do not wait for the Government or Big Business to come to your rescue. Your future is in your hands and you need to re-invent yourself. Keep sending out those resumes but get active creating something for yourself while you do that. Who knows maybe that activity will open the door for your "dream job" like it did for me.

Just my 15%