Feature: The Rise of the Privileged Worker

Feature: The Rise of the Privileged Worker

Feature: The Rise of the Privileged Worker

Look around at the increasing rate of unemployment, and it may seem like an odd time to be talking about “privileged workers.” The conventional wisdom, of course, is that, other than overpaid CEOs, there are few people today who would qualify for such a title. And, I would respectfully suggest that exactly the opposite is true. At this very moment, U.S. employers are starved for certain kinds of talent, and their desperation has created a new class of workers in this country, a class that enjoys a uniquely privileged position in the workplace.

Who are these workers? This privileged class includes two kinds of people:

  • Those who have hard-to-find skills that are critical to the effective operation of either the modern enterprise or our modern society. These skills range from forensic accounting through engineering and nursing to java programming and veterinary medicine.
  • and

  • Those who are superior performers. These individuals can be counted on not only to sustain a high level of contribution in their own work, but also to encourage and often enable the same high level of output by their coworkers. Regardless of their profession, craft or trade, they bring excellence to the workplace every single day.
  • These kinds of workers are so hard to find and, once hired, so challenging to retain, that employers are now giving them very special treatment. For example, privileged workers will often be offered sign-on bonuses. They will be paid above the market average for their field. They will be given the most interesting and challenging assignments. They will be encouraged to attend training courses and academic programs almost always at the employer’s expense. They will be allowed to work a flexible schedule or even to telecommute. And, they will be the very last identified for a staff reduction.

    These advantages of the privileged class would be unfair, except for one telling factor: Everyone in the workforce has the inherent capacity to acquire a hard-to-find skill, become an exceptional performer or both. In other words, in the 21st Century workplace, privilege among workers is not bestowed by society or even by an organization; it is acquired by the individual. Privilege is a distinction that each of us can decide to enjoy or not, depending on how we manage our own careers.

    Historically, of course, that wasn’t the case. Until the turn of this century, it was our employers that determined where and how far we went in our careers. We had no option but to scale career ladders they created and to receive only the privileges they pegged to each rung on those ladders. Whether it was the size of our office or our paycheck, whether it was the quality of our training opportunities at work or how near our parking space was to the door, we were only as privileged as our employers said we could be.

    They could get away with that kind of behavior because in the 20th Century:

  • there was much less technology and complexity in the workplace so they didn’t need a workforce with highly specialized skills; and
  • there was much less competition in the marketplace so they were able to succeed with a lower performing workforce.
  • Today, however, neither of those situations still exists. In our current business environment, employers will fail and fail quickly without highly skilled and high performing workers. That reality alone, however, would not create a privileged class of worker. There is one other factor that transforms this demand shift among employers into a potential status shift for every single American worker. That factor is scarcity. There simply aren’t enough workers who have a hard-to-find skill and/or a commitment to excellence to go around. And it’s that demand-supply mismatch which creates today’s privileged worker.

    Think of it as a window of opportunity for every single person in the American workforce. Privileged workers are a special class, but that class is completely democratic. Each of us decides whether we want to be a privileged worker. The career ladder is gone. We will probably work for ten-to-twelve different employers and in fifteen-to-twenty different jobs during our careers. In fact, we may even work in two or three different careers.

    What’s replaced the ladder, therefore, is a career jungle gym. With that kind of structure, there is no one prescribed way to reach our destination and; indeed, there is no prescribed destination. We decide where we’re going, and we decide how we’re going to get there. The talent we demonstrate in accomplishing those two tasks will determine whether we will enjoy or miss out on the advantages of privilege.

    Thanks for reading,

    Peter

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    This Issue’s Sponsor: Recognizing Richard Rabbit

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of Recognizing Richard Rabbit, Peter Weddle’s big bestseller in a little book that is the “must read” new publication for professionals on the move.

    Recognizing Richard Rabbit is a fable for adults, young and not so young. In the genre of Who Moved My Cheese?, it’s a tale about some forest friends who make an amazing discovery by trying to help one of their own. They don’t uncover the key to organizational change, however, or to setting strategic goals for the enterprise. No, Recognizing Richard Rabbit is a much more personal book and its gift is unique to each and every reader.

    This story opens the door to genuine self exploration. It is all about finding the secret to authentic living. To being your own true self. How does Recognizing Richard Rabbit do that? Unlike traditional fables, this tale unfolds in two synchronized parts: one in fiction-the fable, the other in nonfiction-a parallel self-interview. In essence, you are invited to tap both the creative and the analytic sides of your brain-to probe the whole of your inherent talent-so you can find the pathway to the person you were meant to be.

    Why is that so important? Because whether you are a mid-career professional or a first time job seeker, whether you are a senior executive or a skilled tradesperson, whether you are actively looking for a job or just keeping your options open, the key to success is a sure understanding of who you are and what you stand for. So, make sure you know the authentic You. Get your copy of Recognizing Richard Rabbit today. All you have to do is call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768 or click here. Don’t delay. Get Recognizing Richard Rabbit right away.

    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    The Fordyce Letter recently published an article entitled “Put down the Crackberry…” by Randy Hain. It offered some interesting statistics and some useful guidelines. First, the statistics:

  • According to AOL’s third annual “Email Addiction” survey, the average email user checks mail about five times a day, while 59% of those with portable devices check it every time a new message arrives.
  • Better than eight-out-of-ten respondents (83%) admit to checking email at least once a day while they are on vacation.
  • According to TIME magazine, there’s a study out which estimates that such workplace interruptions cost the U.S. economy $588 billion a year (not to mention how much they interrupt the flow of meetings and diminish our individual productivity on-the-job.
  • Now, some of Mr. Hain’s suggestions for breaking this addiction (with some commentary from me):

  • Start your day on a different note. Don’t begin by turning on your computer, but do something else, even something radical like reading a publication in your field or just thinking about the priorities for the day.
  • Put it on the calendar. Block out some time during the day that is “crackberry free” and then use the time savings to take on one of those important projects you’ve been putting off.
  • Don’t feed your compulsions. Turn off the ding on your computer and on your PDA so you can’t tell when a new message is arriving.
  • Hold mini-retreats every quarter. This is his best idea. In my book on Career Fitness, I call these sessions a “personal performance review.” They’re your special time to assess the progress in your career and (a) pat yourself on the back for your advances (because your boss often won’t) and (b) give yourself a motivational kick in the pants when you’ve fallen behind.
  • Staffing Industry Report, from Staffing Industry Analysts, recently published some relatively good news for those of us in the workforce. It notes that by historical standards, “the current economic slowdown has been very mild with respect to traditional non-temporary jobs. Year-to-date, only 0.2% of non-temporary jobs have been lost. This compares with declines of 1.1% and 1.0% in the previous two recessions.” The publication surmises that the reason for this apparent favorable deviation from the norm is the recent reliance of employers on temporary workers. In other words, unlike in previous recoveries and expansions, the last five years have seen employers be much more cautious when adding to their permanent workforces and make up the difference in needed capability with temporary workers. If that’s true-and job losses among temporary workers is running 7.3% so far this year-then the downsizing that is forecasted to occur as a result of the current credit crisis will likely be more modest than expected. That’s going to be tough on temporary workers, but for those in permanent positions, it may well be the silver lining in a difficult time.

    WEDDLE’s publishes the perfect job search tool for hard times-an inexpensive, quick and easy-to-use series of guides to the best job boards and career portals online. Think of them as the CliffsNotes to career success on the Internet. Called WEDDLE’s WIZNotes-Fast Facts on Job Boards, each book includes compact, but complete profiles of the key sites that specialize in a specific career field or employment situation. There are WIZNotes for:

  • Sales & Marketing professionals,
  • Finance & Accounting professionals,
  • Engineers,
  • Human Resource professionals,
  • Scientists
  • Women Professionals
  • Managers & Executives,
  • and

  • Recent Graduates.
  • Plus

  • Finding a Job on the Web
  • Writing a Great Resume
  • All you have to do is select the WIZNotes that’s right for you. Each volume has exactly the information you need to find the right job boards and career portals for you. And best of all, at $12.95 each, WEDDLE’s WIZNotes are a bargain to boot! Get one for yourself and one for your spouse or partner, son or daughter, friend or colleague or boss. They’re helpful to any and everyone regardless of their years of experience. To order your WIZNotes, call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768 or click here. Order today!

    WEDDLE’s also offers a number of other publications that can help you land the job of your dreams, even in today’s tough job market. They include:

  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet. Called the “Zagat of the online employment industry” by the American Staffing Association, it provides full-page profiles of 350 of the best job boards in a range of occupations, industries and locations;
  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Directory of Employment Related Internet Sites. The “address book of the online employment industry,” it lists over 9,000 sites and organizes them by the career fields, industries and geographies on which they focus; and
  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide to Association Web Sites. The key to the “hidden job market” online, it details the employment resources and capabilities that are provided at the Web-sites of over 1,900 associations and societies.
  • Finding a job in the present environment is difficult; finding a great job is even more difficult. Part of the challenge is knowing where to look. With over 50,000 job boards in the U.S. alone, there are lots of places where you can waste a lot of time and effort. How can you avoid that trap? Be a smart consumer. Get the gold standard of job board guides: WEDDLE’s. They will help you identify the job boards that will work best for you. So, don’t delay! Call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768 or click here to place your order today.

    Section Three: Site Profiles

    Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guides and Directories

    There are 50,000 job boards now in operation in North America and an equal number operating elsewhere around the world. The key to a successful online job search, therefore, is knowing where to find and how to select the best sites for your specific employment objective. WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide identifies 350 of the top sites worldwide and provides the information you need to determine which job boards will deliver the best opportunities for you. For example:

    HRJobs

    Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

    http://jobs.shrm.org

    Post full time jobs: Yes

    Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes-Part time

    Distribution of jobs: National-USA

    Number of jobs: 1,574

    Salary levels of jobs: Not Reported

    Offer a job agent: Yes

    Resume database: No

    How long are resumes stored: N/A

    Restrictions on who can post: N/A

    Other services for job seekers: Discussion forum for networking, Assessment instruments, Career information

    Member, International Association of Employment Web Sites: No

    Get Recognizing Richard Rabbit Today!

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of Recognizing Richard Rabbit, Peter Weddle’s big bestseller in a little book that is the “must read” new publication for professionals on the move.

    Recognizing Richard Rabbit is a fable for adults, young and not so young. In the genre of Who Moved My Cheese?, it’s a tale about some forest friends who make an amazing discovery by trying to help one of their own. They don’t uncover the key to organizational change, however, or to setting strategic goals for the enterprise. No, Recognizing Richard Rabbit is a much more personal book and its gift is unique to each and every reader.

    This story opens the door to genuine self exploration. It is all about finding the secret to authentic living. To being your own true self. How does Recognizing Richard Rabbit do that? Unlike traditional fables, this tale unfolds in two synchronized parts: one in fiction-the fable, the other in nonfiction-a parallel self-interview. In essence, you are invited to tap both the creative and the analytic sides of your brain-to probe the whole of your inherent talent-so you can find the pathway to the person you were meant to be.

    Why is that so important? Because whether you are a mid-career professional or a first time job seeker, whether you are a senior executive or a skilled tradesperson, whether you are actively looking for a job or just keeping your options open, the key to success is a sure understanding of who you are and what you stand for. So, make sure you know the authentic You. Get your copy of Recognizing Richard Rabbit today. All you have to do is call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768 or click here. Don’t delay. Get Recognizing Richard Rabbit right away.