The same statement is likely being made by at least some in the field of higher education. They invested the time and effort to earn academic credentials that don't seem to qualify them for the kinds of openings they had been led to expect in the academy. They're well educated with seemingly no place to go.
Luo's article concludes that 99ers are apt to become 129ers or more if the nation doesn't begin to create new jobs. While there is undoubtedly some truth to that statement, it is incomplete. As noted in Bloomberg Businessweek, there are -- at this very moment -- some 2.6 million unfilled positions in the U.S. These aren't stimulus money construction jobs; they're largely vacancies in professional fields.
What's keeping them open? Economists describe the problem as a mismatch in skills. A less esoteric but more accurate description is that the demand for talent is out of whack with its supply.
While there may be a mismatch between available candidate skills and the requirements for a given position in a given location, there is almost never such a mismatch on a national basis. The converse of that statement is also true. While there may be a mismatch between available jobs in a given location and a given individual's skills, there is almost never such a mismatch on a national basis (unless the individual's skills are obsolete).
Now, don't get me wrong. I know that there aren't as many tenured positions or even as many non-tenure track opportunities as there used to be. I also am very respectful of how unsettling it can be to have to move from where you want to live to where you have to live in order to work. Nevertheless, the fact remains that there are millions of jobs available right now and at least some of those positions are in higher education. They may not be in your home town or offer the kinds of salary and security you would like, but they are genuine opportunities for employment.
Economists are calling this situation the "new normal." Whether we like it or not -- and please don't shoot the messenger -- today's reality presents us with a choice: we can remain true to our original goals and desires and wait for the old normal to return, or we can accept that the workplace has changed and adjust to its altered dynamics.
For those who choose to follow the latter course, Exercises III and IV in the Career Fitness System will help you accomplish the necessary adjustment. They involve:
- Developing all of your muscle groups -- those ancillary skills that can reinforce and extend your primary area of expertise
- Increasing your flexibility and range of motion -- your willingness and ability to accept other than old normal working arrangements.
Thanks for reading,