Tag Archives: Mentoring

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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New blog for learning how to live again

The concept of this blog has its roots in my own personal journey through life. This blog is meant to capture observations and facts on searching for employment, securing a job, being the best employee you can, understanding what makes up a career, learning about the definition of a vocation, and how you can create a living legacy through the course of your life.

My personal journey started like most high-school students fresh out of college. I wanted to escape the confines of small-town America. I wanted fortune. I wanted to be recognized for my contributions to society. The problem was, I had no guide, no mentor, and no clue what it would take to achieve any or all of my goals. It should be no surprise that two quarters later I was failing at Auburn University. One tour in the Alabama Army National Guard, great mentors at The University of Alabama at Birmingham, and one semester sitting at the feet of an unassuming Nobel Laureate, I finally started fulfilling the most miserable decade of going from job to job. From 1996 through 2001 I burned through some 30 or so clients at five different employers. At the end of 2001, after watching watching planes take down the Twin Towers and seeing the ashes of the north side of the Pentagon, I realized that we were entering a new era, one that we have never seen before. This new era is one of transition from the service economy of the 1990’s to the global economy of the 21st century.

For my generation and those that follow after us, we will have to compete on the Global Stage for jobs. Our success won’t be defined by the assets we amass, but rather by the level in which we are able to manage the resources of the Global Economy in such a way as to reduce global hunger and poverty so as to reduce the probability that extremist ideologues will destroy all that our ancestors fought so hard for us.

As I’ve matured and gained enough wisdom to start sharing, I thought it best to take time out periodically to share what I have learned. Call this sharing something like virtual mentoring. Inspired by reading Dan Miller‘s 48 Days To The Work You Love, John Maxwell‘s Mentoring 101, and the late Coach John Wooden‘s A Game Plan for Life: The Power of Mentoring, I decided to start capturing all of the nuggets I have learned from the School of Hard Knocks in the hopes I will be able to prevent others from having to earn their degree there.

Though not as effective as real mentoring, I should be able to share enough information to teach people how to find a job in a very crowded marketplace during the worst economic down-turn since the Great Depression and possible gain some peace at the same time.

Feel free to contact me as you see or don’t see topics of interest. I welcome your feedback and hope to hear from as many of you as possible.

Kind Regards,