Is it your job or your craft?

US Unemployment Figures
US Unemployment Figures

There is a lot of talk about the number of unemployed people. Over the course of this recession the United States has lost some 10 Million jobs. These jobs simply went away. They weren’t outsourced to another country. They didn’t transition to another type of role. They simply went away and it will take 10 years to get them back.

So who are these unemployed people?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics is now detailing the fact the largest preponderance of people that are unemployed fall into two categories:
1. Those who’s skills are not in demand
2. Those who do not have the education level needed to acquire good paying jobs

As an organizational therapist, I have started my own non-scientific studies and have come to a single conclusion. The two factors highlighted by the BLS, wrong skills and not enough education, don’t really tell the whole story. I find people the for a while didn’t have skills that were in demand who are still able to find people to demand their skills. I find people that don’t have the “requisite education level” or “necessary certifications” that are still able to find employers who cherish their labor.

So what truly divides those that are able to find employment even after being down-sized, and those that living on Government unemployment payrolls trying to hold on to their homes and lifestyle?

I can only conclude one thing: it is the way each of the groups fundamentally approach their labor. The gainfully employed see their labor as their legacy and their craft. Whether they are street cleaners, brick layers, front-desk receptionists, or software engineers, they all have this singular attitude about serving their employer and obsessing about creating work that any person is ecstatic to purchase… often at above market rates. In contrast, the people that were laid-off and then struggle to find new employment seem to treat the “job” only as a means of paying the bills.

I can’t deny… I’ve taken positions just to make sure I am fulfilling my duty to my wife, kids and community. It is my contract with society. One element that has remained true, though… I always have treated my work as my legacy. I fret over my work just as a painter does, never satisfied until I have perfected each body of work in such a way that generations from now someone will say, “Wow!”

Are you frustrated at work? It is because your job is taking up too much of your time, or because you aren’t allowed to practice your craft? If it is former, you may find out the hard way that you are making yourself outmoded. If it is the later, you will find peace in learning to be creative in being the best you can be within the constraints you are under. Make the best of every situation and only do excellent work. There will be no end of demand for your craft.

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Post Disclaimer

The information contained on this post is my opinion, and mine alone (with the occasional voice of friend). It does not represent the opinions of any clients or employers.