This morning I was perusing the online media. Some people read print newspapers; I read the online versions while I sip my coffee. I came across an article with the headline “Unemployment in N. Israel Up 12%”. My first reaction was “ONLY 12%?” and then I started thinking “Why is someone even measuring such a thing at this time? They are in the middle of a war!” Tracking such statistics during a time of national crisis is very strange to me. I guess it’s done – there is someone, somewhere whose job it is to track such things – but I never thought about it.
The article started me thinking about how national crises affect our lives here in the US. We are so insulated. September 11 was a large bump in the road that had some economic effects on us but for the majority of our citizens, it was more emotional than something that actually disrupted our entire lives. We didn’t all start living in bomb shelters.
Katrina was a big hit that affected the daily lives of more people than 9/11. People are still displaced. The national economy remained sound, though, and employment was not rocked unless you were in the effected areas.
Something that I see as a looming specter for employment and the economy as a whole is gas prices. With the oil fields of Prudhoe Bay closing, the conflict in the Middle East, and that nut job in Venezuela, we might all start looking at bicycles as a reasonable means of transportation. Bring back passenger trains. Horse and buggies are cheap, too. When fuel prices rise, everything goes up and when expenses go up, companies start looking at budgets. What’s the first thing they cut? Payroll.
As a job seeker, if you are set up to telecommute with a fully equipped home office, you should pitch that as an advantage to prospective employers. Employers will be looking at ways to save on payroll and if you can offer a cost-saving benefit, you might gain an edge over other candidates, especially if you have successfully worked in a telecommute situation before.