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Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been discussing how in the past recessions our economy has come back and, most importantly, when people will start hiring again and what you, either as an employer or a job seeker can do about it. Here is the last of the predictions. I hope it helps.
According to Pew research the average recession since1900 as last 15 months. The last one we had, 2008, supposedly lasted 18 months. I’m not quite sure how they define these but I do know that what Truman said, “When your neighbor is out of work it’s a recession, but when you’re out of work it’s a depression” is really true. Knowing all these facts about length of time of recession etc. isn’t going to help you if you’re looking for a job or you’re thinking about hiring an employee. And, since things haven’t changed much in the last week, we’re all still afraid.
There are lots of differences about this recession. Its cause is the first one. 9/11 was simply the catalyst of what was already a weak economy. When the banks in Texas failed in 1985 and 1986, some say, they caused the real estate crash and it didn’t help that oil and gas went on its butt at the same time. Big-time recession!
Being in the trenches, I have to say that there is just as much fear in this recession as there was in the others but everyone, fortunately, seems to think that it won’t last as long. The problem is the definition of “long.” The government has never, ever injected itself as much in trying to getting us back to normal (whatever that is) as it has now. Sometimes this has been good, for instance, as much as I’m really worried about the consequences of it, the PPP has seemed to help. (But somewhere down the line, somebody has to pay for this. We just don’t simply print $2.2 trillion without somebody…me, my kids or my grandkids, having to pay for it). But there are some things that may not be so good. I talked to a candidate today who said that he had been laid off and he has absolutely no intention of going back to work any time soon because between his unemployment and all of the government giveaways (i.e. $600 a week) he is actually making $4800 a month and not paying any taxes on it. He literally asked me, “Why should I go to work when I can stay home and make this kind of money?”
Some folks think that the economy will bounce back as quickly as it hit the wall. I doubt that, but it may be more true this time than it was in all of the recessions we’ve had since 1900. When people feel less threatened by the draconian, governmental imposition of having to stay home and not being able to go to church, etc., their attitude towards everything will get better.
When people ease their doubt, uncertainty and fear, they become more hopeful for the future. And interestingly enough, I heard a little bit more of that from hiring authorities this week.
So, what does this mean? Well, I may sound like a broken record, but if you’re seeking a job it’s really important that you talk to as many people as you possibly can, even if they tell you they’re not hiring. Ask them if you can call them back in 30 or 45 days. Regarding people that you feel more closely to, call them up and just ask them how things are going. Has the virus affected you are anyone in your family? Show people that you care about them as much as you might care about yourself. And don’t get discouraged. As I mentioned last week, develop a routine for looking for a job and for a living. Routines give us “anchors” during uncertain times and they help us psychologically feel better.
If you’re an employer, keep interviewing qualified candidates. I had a client of mine last Monday tell me that he didn’t want to interview anybody and that he couldn’t foresee hiring anybody for at least six months. Today, two of his best people walked out. He called me and asked me if that candidate that I had spoken to him about was still available. Always keep interviewing. A hiring authority doesn’t have to spend a lot of time interviewing candidates when they are not actively looking for someone, but spending 15 or 20 minutes, even if it’s over the phone, with a quality candidate, never hurts. You don’t know when you’ll need them.
None of us know when we’ll come out of this malaise. We will look back on it and see all kinds of clarity, but right now, no one really can. People seem, especially hiring authorities, to be a little more upbeat than they were in the last two recessions. But maybe my memory of the negative is just longer. Since I’ve seen seven of them, I’m nowhere near as afraid as I was then.
The only thing each one of us can control is our attitude. We all know this. I must admit what I hear on the television is different than what I hear from hiring authorities and candidates. This is a great time to read or reread excellent books like, Man’s Search for Meaning, As a Man Thinketh, Acers of Diamonds, The Richest Man in Babylon, and Flow or books like them.
Pray, work really, really, really hard. Keep a positive attitude. Pray.
Be Not Afraid !