Monday, August 31, 2009
Getting To What We Want From Where We Are Pt 1
Have you ever felt disappointment?
If you’re a living, breathing human being of course you have! The difference between how we react to it is what distinguishes success from failure in achieving life goals. Well…I may have assumed a bit here. The first thing we need to have ARE life goals.
So if you want something how do you go about getting it? Mind you I have much higher goals in mind than material acquisitions. This is such a consumerist society that even those part of the underclass get the latest gadget, shoes or electronic goods. The issue is whether that energy was spent doing something that builds wealth and sets you up for a higher quality of life or if you end up digging a hole to fall into.
1. The first step is changing one’s mindset.
Not only to be more positive but to think in the long term. That disappointment is an indicator that we want to reach for something. Now whether it's beneficial for us is another issue entirely, but in general terms it's an opportunity to aim higher. One popular interview question asked is, “Where do you see yourself in five years.” When I researched techniques there were a list of acceptable answers all related to telling a potential employer that time would be spent with them of course, but that was never my intention. I was always going to be on the lookout for a better position. How many of us get complacent, thinking long term employment at one job looks good on a resume? There’s something to be said for stability – if you’re looking for that type of job at that type of company and expect to live that type of life. That also worked until five years ago. Or less.
As we see in this volatile market all of the old rules are out the door. People who would have stayed in positions have been downsized. The ones who’ve stayed are doing the work of three now. Many positions are gone forever and will never return.
Education is very important. Typically that would mean a degree from a nationally accredited program. That’s an important caveat to mention as there’s been an explosion of degree mill schools that basically print up a diploma if someone’s willing to pay for it. Employers have apparently been flooded with unqualified graduates who don’t have basic skill sets. At the other end of this are the school snobs who place importance on those graduating from name schools. Everyone can’t attend a name school. Some may have to think prudently, attending a smaller school or gasp! Community College before transferring to a larger state or private university. Some institutions are simply coasting on their reputations and may not provide much value to an individual and their specific needs.
Others may be best served learning a trade or starting a business. We shouldn't limit ourselves in anything that we do. There’s more to education than sitting in a class, however. Keeping up with changes in technology and trends in society is equally as important. For example there’s are early adapters of these changes and there’s everyone else. There’s people who may be highly skilled in their area of expertise who flourished under the old system but are not able to incorporate newer methods. Like social media.
It is now required for Public Relations specialists to know this medium. It’s also necessary for those who were relying on their government or private industry position that hadn’t originally required much more than a high school diploma (and the means to pass an exam). As more of those positions people assumed they’d have for life are eliminated (I mean who thought a Post Office would ever close?) those that cannot adapt will be left behind.
For example, the blogging platform has been available for a few years now. Many journalists have incorporated blogs into their work out of necessity. Citizen journalism is going to continue to grow as newspapers and magazines struggle to operate under the old model. Their overhead is killing them: the expensive rent of prime real estate to house employees, the expense accounts and other perks are destroying their bottom line.
There’s another aspect that hasn’t been discussed. These entities have been actively engaging in employment apartheid for years. When a company has intentionally hired a majority one gender, one race, one or two ethnicities within that race construct, with similar mentalities they’re not really interested in reaching a wide and diverse population. They expected the larger audience to be serviced by a small minority. So as that very narrow appeal has shrunk it can no longer support such segregation. Hence certain companies have gone under or have to consolidate. Thinking of it strictly in terms of survival it is how it should have been a long time ago. Eventually their “preferred” population would not hold the same clout or retain the necessary numbers to sustain the business model. So I have little sympathy.
Now this is where the adapters of technology and trends come into play. Once the basic skills required have been obtained adding the flourish is easy. In the case of news media stories that didn’t have “value” to some - more likely it was a case of intentionally ignoring things – we can now cover them. Whether it’s an individual who decides to start a blog and write about it or directly hiring a skilled professional who has been downsized we can now ensure the diverse population has a voice. That’s a powerful thing.