Class of 2010 – Where Did All the Jobs Go?

Don’t ever, ever quit. Recognize that stopping now, regrouping to try a new approach isn’t quitting. If you quit, you’ll regret it forever.” ~ Rudy Ruettiger

I caught a snippet from The Early Show this morning reporting on a young American graduate, with a 3.72 GPA, not able to find work in his field of advertising and living back at home with his parents as he couldn’t afford rent. Asked by the reporter how he felt about being back in his childhood bedroom, he understandably answered that it was demeaning.

According to the United States Department of Labour, America’s unemployment rate is at 9.9% and according to Statistics Canada, we are not far behind at a rate of 8.1%. As I look at my own kids, 8 and 4, I wonder what their future holds. In a business world where graduation from post secondary institutions is almost always followed by finding a traditional job, I’m not surprised that these talented graduates are struggling to find their place in corporate North America.

Job-hunting advice provided by the CBS correspondent listed which fields are the most popular. This advice is helpful if you’ve graduated in one of those ‘hot’ fields, but, what if you didn’t…now what?! Her advice and tips were directed towards how to find jobs in this challenging economic climate.

Instead, I would challenge those graduates to take a fresh look at how they envision their career. Does their field of study require that they work in a job housed in a brick and mortar company? Is their area of expertise something that can be provided on a contract basis while working from a remote location, e.g. a home office? Do they possess an entrepreneurial spirit that would facilitate switching their job hunt to building their own business?

It is time, in my opinion, to turn the traditional concept of work on its head! Starting a business as a virtual worker is one of the least expensive businesses to get off the ground. Your main product/inventory is your intellect and expertise; your method of delivery is over the phone, on the computer and via video conference; and, your ‘corporate headquarters’ is your own home office.

This business model comes with low out-of-pocket expenses related to creating an optional web site (thanks to template-based providers, this can be as cheap as $5/month) and printing up some business cards, costing little to nothing from companies like VistaPrint. Advertise, market and get yourself known through Twitter (FREE), Facebook (FREE), LinkedIn (FREE), Blogging (FREE) and word-of-mouth (also FREE). Income streams are diversified, eliminating the reliance on one employer for your financial security. Value to your clients is high as you’re providing a service that doesn’t require a long-term, full-time commitment or taking on additional employee-related overhead costs.

Similarities to traditional business start-ups include:  having a plan, focus, professionalism, integrity and determination. If you don’t have that entrepreneurial spark, this is not likely the best route to take, but if you do, the potential payoff (financial and satisfaction) can be more than any job could ever afford.

At West Coast Way, we are committed to working with companies to help develop virtual workforce strategies enabling them to take advantage of the talent offered by not only new graduates, but also other qualified virtual workers.

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6 Responses to “Class of 2010 – Where Did All the Jobs Go?”
  1. Dana Jarvis says:

    Awesome post Karen! I have also seen statistics on folks with a new MBA not being able to find work. The article I recall reading suggested for this group to do many of the same things you referenced. In addition, it pointed to areas where governments are putting money. In the U.S. for instance, these include technology, environment and education. If a new graduate runs a virtual business and taps into these industries, they will likely increase their leverage. I am optimistic that your kids and my kids will have a better future from the choices we all make today. Viva La Virtual!

  2. Martin says:

    Great post and definitely relevant but not just for the younger grads; older grads need to consider such an approach too. I essentially took this approach but have struggled in the area of business generation. Getting the word out there is often not enough. One needs to establish oneself as the go-to solution and that is often reliant upon experience and references. I would suggest that West Coast Way provide some insight to how younger grads with minimal experience and contacts or older grads trying to break into new areas of business can begin to build that foundation. Cheers!

  3. Audrey says:

    It is great to see the traditional approach to a career following education being challenged. Without a doubt this is indeed a perfect time to step away from what has always been done and stretch the boundaries to find something that one can be truly passionate about.

    What once worked no longer has the same relevance in today’s marketplace. I truly hope that graduates will seize this opportunity and make their own innovative pathways to their success and future happiness.

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