Before we get started, let me say that experience has given me the answers to some of this. This is my seventh recession and every one of them has been a little bit different, but then again, every one of them has been a little bit alike. So here is what to expect:
Businesses in the United States, 98% of whom employ less than 100 people, will be scared to death for the next month or two…even maybe a little longer. The fact that we are “locked down” does not help the psyche. Hopefully, we in Texas are a lot smarter about this than other states. The more draconian the government is about telling us what we can and can’t do, the more afraid we are of what’s going to happen. When people who run businesses are “afraid” they slow down, freeze any growth they might have imagined and even start laying people off, not because they have any “proof” that things are going to get worse, but just because they are afraid.
Two weeks ago, one of our clients simply laid off four out of seven people in a particular department because they were afraid of what was going to be happening. They had no real proof that their business was going to the crapper. They just laid off four people, just like that. We’ve already found one of them a job and two of them are in the process of interviewing and getting hired at, frankly, our client’s competitor. It was simply a knee-jerk reaction of doubt and uncertainty and fear.
Now multiply this by the millions of other businesses in the United States and what do you get? Doubt, uncertainty and fear along with 22 million people out of work. Now there are 16 million people in the hospitality business in the United States in one form or fashion. Some of these people still have their job, but the majority of them have filed for unemployment. They got laid off because their employer got shut down by the government,out of doubt, uncertainty and fear.
No one can blame those small businesses… especially the hospitality ones, bars and restaurants from laying these people off. They simply don’t have the money to pay them. We can blame China all we want…and we should… but it isn’t going to help any of these people find a new job.
So, I probably talked to 100 different business managers and owners last week and most all of them told me that they were putting their hiring on “hold.” And they had no idea when the hold was going to be lifted. They just simply didn’t know. And, more than just a few of these managers told me that they were so afraid that they were going to update their resume and send it to me. Fear begets fear.
Now, this is a part of a recession that nobody knows when it will end. The last five recessions have lasted on average 15 months. I’m not dead sure how a recession is defined and how this figure is determined. But I do know that the fear, doubt and uncertainty lasts a whole lot longer than it probably should. So, if you got laid off or you are looking for a job expect the doubt, uncertainty and fear phase of “we’re on a hiring freeze” to last for a while. Just be ready for it.
Now this doesn’t mean that you don’t, if you’re looking for a job, stop looking. There are jobs out there. They are just harder to find and the hiring authorities are more fearful of making a mistake than they were four or five months ago. Don’t let it go to your head, as one candidate told me last week, “well I’m really good, and there’s always room for good people like me.” It doesn’t matter how good you are or how good you think you are, the opening has to be there. And the crazy attitude of, “there’s always room for a top performer” is nuts when companies and the people in them are operating out of fear.
During this “fear” phase of the recession, if you are looking for a job, you’re going to have to be really, really, really good at giving people great reasons of why they are the hiring you. Just remember that, no matter how good you are, this is going to be hard.
If you’re looking for a job you need to develop a systematic approach of trying to find one. My online program – www.jobsearchsolution.com- is almost a 60 hour program (we just rewrote it) which will give you every aspect of looking for a job that you ever imagined. It helps you make looking for a job a job in itself.
One of the candidates who I placed about two years ago called me on Friday and said that his company decreased his pay and his commission plan, so he wanted to leave where he was. I explained to him that in a normal market that might be a good idea, but in this market that’s a really bad idea. And he says, “But it’s different with me. I’m better than most anybody out there.” There is no need to comment about what he said. He has absolutely no idea how difficult it’s going to be for him to find a new job. Thankfully, he’s got one and I told him to stay right where he is for a while…
More to come next week….