Income inequality is higher now than even during the time of Great Gatsby and the Titanic.
And yet, according to a recent CareerBuilder survey, just 21 percent of today’s employed workers say they plan to make a move in the next year or two. That’s far below the historical norm for a recovery when workers are prone feel as if their employers have misused them during the preceding recession.
Similarly, according to a recent New York Times article, economists can’t find any evidence that income inequality is bad for individual workers or the economy in general. You’ve got to be kidding! Maybe the incredible shrinking paycheck doesn’t affect academicians protected by tenure, but it pinches pretty sharply for everyone else.
So, why aren’t workers leaving their employers? Some opine that it’s the fear of the unknown in an unpredictable economy. Maybe that’s true for some, but I fear there’s another, more troubling reason that’s holding a lot of people back. I call this phenomenon the GUI career. Sadly, we’re getting used to it.
We’re getting used to having to look over our shoulders constantly, as we worry about whether our job is secure. If you have any doubt about that, take a trip to the beach this summer. Two-thirds of those lying on the sand next to you will be checking email from the office on their cell phones.
We’re also getting used to salary increases that don’t keep up with the cost of living. We take out second mortgages to send our kids to college while our employers book record profits and the corner office crowd has made the golden parachute obsolete. These days, they’re paid so much, they don’t need a parachute.
And, we watch the idiots in Congress turn our government in to a “de-mock-cracy” even as we’re told that our kids will be the first generation in American history to look forward to a standard of living that is lower than their parents. We have Government departments in the country that invented high technology that can’t launch a Web-site or make it a priority to oversee the Internet, the largest single channel of commerce in history.
How can you protect yourself in the face of such madness? Don’t get used to it. Be at the top of your game and then be indignant if your pay doesn’t race ahead of the cost of living. Bring your talent to work with you and then be unwilling to work for employers that pay the CEO big bucks while fighting the addition of a buck or two to the minimum wage. Deliver excellence on-the-job every day, but be loud and in the face of inept corporate leadership. In short, be a Career Activist.
Thanks for reading,