New Work Realities

Although our economy seems to be turning a corner — home sales have continued to improve for a full three months and, as I write this, the DJIA remains over 9,000 for the second day — unemployment remains very high and layoffs continue. As one friend recently told me, she was very tired from working very long hours, not because her company was busier, but because her company had eliminated more than half of the people who worked at her level in the company. Surviving with a job in this economy is a great thing, but employment in the wake of our new economic reality can also mean changing, and often diminishing, quality of life.

If you are looking for a job, or even if you just w


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7 Responses to New Work Realities

  1. getforfree says:

    That’s why I am ok with being unemployed while I still can get the benefits. I could go and get a minimum wage job, but after all gas, extra taxes and work related expences, I would be making as much as I get for staying home and looking for a job. Plus I would not have as much time to look for free stuff and great deals, do all the money-saving work at home. I would be more likely to cook what’s convinient instead of what’s more cost-effective. Plus, the most inconvenient thing, I would have to put up with my MIL so she would watch the kids.

  2. Jay Gatsby says:

    I agree with the premises of the post, but you have to know when you’re being exploited. A company may save money by laying off people, cutting expenses, etc… but you can’t finish plowing the field if you’ve beaten the plow-horse to death from overwork.

  3. FamilyOf4 says:

    I think this post really drives home the same thing that I have been seeing during my job search for the past few months. There is still a good amount of jobs out there, but there are also lots and lots and lots of people looking for jobs. This is allowing companies to pay less and offer less, or no, benefits. No matter how undesirable these jobs are, this is the new reality.

  4. ME2 says:

    Unfortunately, the home sales data doesn’t mean nearly as much as you or most “so-called” experts seem to think. It is not ALL home sales that are up. I don’t remember if they were new or existing home sales that were up for the past 3 months, BUT, which ever ones they are, they only make up 21% of ALL home sales. So while it is good news, it isn’t great news or the end all be all that the media would like us to believe.

  5. Ann says:

    At one point in my career, I switched from a relatively easy, driving commute to a 1 1/2 hour minimum (more of the time 2 hour)one way train and bus commute, not so much for money (after the added expense of the commute the net wasn’t very much more) as for the fact that it was closer to the grad school that I was attending at night and offered some new experiences. It was worth it, but five years later, when grad school was behind me, it was soooo nice to switch to something closer to home! Sometimes, you just do what you need to do for the exposure and experience.

    I worked for a commercial financing firm while I went to school at night to pick up the courses and credits to sit for the CPA exam. (I already had a degree in art.) They reimbursed me based on grades and I took advantage of it… and they took advantage of me! LOL When I told my father that I was leaving the firm to work for a public accounting firm, he asked whether or not I felt I owed the company anything for having paid for my school. My response was “Heck, no!” I was in a position to know that they had been paying me less than people in similar positions and had more than recouped the cost of my schooling. It didn’t bother me — we were both using each other, a fair trade in my book.

    By the way, I took a salary cut to 2/3 of what I was making in industry to go into public accounting. The tradeoff there was the professional certification, which I couldn’t get without so many hours experience in various fields in public accounting for the state I lived in. It’s not always about immediate monetary returns.

    In my lifetime, I’ve seen a lot of changes in the job market and the benefits offered. When I was young (and particularly during my father’s time), people didn’t switch jobs as often or as many times as people did 5 – 10 years ago. Retirement and healthcare benefits have changed drastically.

    I also noticed a tendency in younger workers to “expect” high salaries despite little to no experience and an all too frequent lack of work ethic — too many of them thought that they should be paid big bucks to be sitting at a desk just from 9 to 5, even though they spent half their time on the internet or their cell phones. What’s happening now is a wake up call for those people.

    On the other hand, I do know how your friend who’s being squeezed by less personnel feels! I’ve been there!!! There’s a fine line between working longer, productive hours and being abused. Long hours take a toll on your personal life and your health and it’s extremely difficult to find a balance between what is necessary to keep your job and being assertive enough to say “I just can’t do this additional project in the time allotted without some extra help.”

    There are a lot of things that need to be taken into consideration, when evaluating some of the things you talk about. For instance, relocating may mean leaving a family support system behind. If the decision is between no job and a lower paying job, the decision may be easier, but, if it’s between a higher paying job and a lower paying job but you need to leave your family behind and grandma or grandpa or siblings behind and those people were your backup for being there for your children, the decision may not be so easy.

    I’m going to be interested to see whether or not there are any long-term changes in our society and workforce expectations in general from what’s going on.

  6. persephone says:

    It is a bit like the 1930’s in a sense. I know we are not in a depression, but unemployment for long periods forces us to do things that we never would have imagined a few years ago.

  7. spicoli says:

    I think that people should take this attitude regardless of the economy. The best jobs require us to go the extra mile.

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