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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Talent is always in demand

A friend and I were discussing the economy the other day and yes we both were going a bit negative, well actually really negative. The US government says unemployment is at 6.7%. However, I realized I was focusing on the wrong number, let’s switch the number around and you realize that 93.3% are employed. The Brazen Careerist blog had a great post titled: Reason to give Thanks that pointed out:

- Jobs for low-level candidates are increasing
- There are plenty of entry-level jobs to be had
- College grads are doing fine in today's market

And she is correct; most organizations plan to continue college recruitment programs in 2009, but what if you aren’t entry level? Even when unemployment numbers were much lower it was difficult to find good talent. This difficulty was not for lack of candidates, I would review thousands of CV’s and resumes to conduct lots of interviews only to be disappointed. Why? Because there isn’t a lot of skilled high performance people separating themselves in the market place. I have met many individuals that can say the right buzz words and talk the talk; to actually deliver on the talk appears to be something else. There are jobs out there. If you can walk your talk, then don’t fret about the unemployed and focus on what talents you bring to the table and market them.

- Did you struggled with an exceptionally difficult task and managed to get it completed?
Was there a new idea that you discovered or developed?
- If you had a project fail what did you learn from it?

My friend was telling me that he had not worked on a “cool” project for about a year, yet he described his work doing business development in Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Shanghai, and Beijing while based in Singapore. I was stunned! His stories of the tasks and projects that he worked on were incredibly interesting, and after describing each project he realized that his frame of reference was wrong. Each of the projects possessed so many interesting facets, challenges successfully overcome, and some very surprising learning opportunities. After our discussion he realized that he could separate himself for the thousands of job seekers; he actually had powerful real world experience.

2009 may prove to be a difficult economic environment. Even so I subscribe to the philosophy of Robert H. Schuller’s aptly titled book: Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do! Take some time rethink your skills and experience and have a successful 2009.


  1. Totally agree with this perspective Jeff. There is a risk that we are leading ourselves down a self fulfilling path. It looks bad, therefore it is bad.

    It you get 93.3% on a test but only focus on what you got wrong you miss the point - you are doing well overall. Yes, there are problems in the world economy but there is still a lot going well. If focus a little more on this I think we can lift ourselves out of this funk.


  2. I agree wholeheartedly on this subject, Jeff. I think high achievers often hold themselves at unreasonably high standards. That's how they get to where they are, right? I see a lot of business professionals beating themselves up here in Tokyo because its a tough climate in the market. I think a lot of them could weather this period better if they focused more on what they do have and not what they don't.


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