McKinsey & Company has come out with a new and sobering report about the state of the American workplace.
According to An America that works: Job creation and America’s future, it will take the most optimistic of circumstances and another 9 years to return to the level of employment we had before the Great Recession. That’s right, this study argues that it will be 2020 before we see unemployment fall to 4.4 percent, and that will only happen if the economy suddenly wakes up and starts to surge.
Some pundits have latched on to this prediction to declare that the country will lose an entire generation of workers who will be unable to find work for the rest of their careers. These mavens of misery believe that a whole lot of America’s working men and women have now become lifelong losers. Thanks for the vote of confidence!
The assumption behind this brain-dead notion is that America’s workers are too stupid or stuck in their ways to adapt. We’ve fallen off the evolutionary track and from here on out, will no longer be able to keep up with the changes in the world around us.
Sorry, but I don’t buy that. Indeed, there’s more than a little data that indicate exactly the opposite is true.
For example, in 2004 – 3 years after the 2001 recession – there were still 16 million Americans who were unemployed. So, did they throw in the towel as the pundits suggest? Of course not. According to the U.S. Department of Education, 92 million of them enrolled that year in an adult education class. They went back to school to acquire the knowledge and skills they needed to continue with their careers.
A similar adjustment is also taking place today. Far from being lost, a growing number of Americans are becoming career activists – people who don’t sit around and bemoan the situation (like pundits), but instead take the initiative to become the master of workplace changes rather than their victim.
Note: To read more about Career Fitness and Career Activism, get my books, Work Strong: Your Personal Career Fitness System and The Career Activist Republic. Both are available at Amazon.com, in many bookstores and on Weddles.com.
Look for my new book, Walden 4G: A Novel About Rediscovering Hopefulness (and America’s Secret Utopia), due out next spring.