2009: Fear of Doing it Wrong


PhotobucketThis year has kicked far too many people in the pants.

Whether it’s unemployment or a fear of medical bankruptcy, my inbox is full of email messages asking for help, guidance, and a little kindness.

Looking back on 2009, the most unfortunate trend in the job market seems to be the growing fear of doing it wrong.

  • Fear of never recovering from a job loss.
  • Fear of taking a job for less money and impacting future earnings.
  • Fear of accepting a role that leads them down the wrong career path.

I know this feels like a risky time for job seekers, but there is no template for the kind of economic upheaval we are facing in this country. My wish for 2010 is that job seekers would pause, take a breath, and realize that the only thing they can do wrong is to take this recession lying down.

Companies don’t think twice about shutting down inefficient product lines, sloughing off unproductive workers, and filing bankruptcy to start fresh. If 2009 has taught us anything, it’s that an employer brand is deeply tied to the consumer brand. Laid off from a company that makes stupid financial decisions? Use Twitter to warn other job seekers about the organization. Unemployed and admire a leader in your industry? Find that leader on LinkedIn and show her why she should hire you. Face tough financial choices? Make those decisions like Gordon Gekko. Be tough, be bold, and don’t apologize.

There is no right way or wrong way to navigate through this recession, and the only thing you can do wrong in this economy is to be a victim, wait for fate to intervene, and rely solely upon an internet job board to improve your life. Change your expectations and change your life. Get out from behind the computer, earn some money without apology, and stop asking for permission to make mistakes.

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