Tuesday, March 31, 2009

End The Recession: Help A Friend Get Back To Work

Two weeks ago I attended a meeting of The Executive Network of Seattle where I had the pleasure of hearing Rich Doherty of Right Management, a career transition and human resources consultant, provide some much needed perspective on the current job market--- along with a potential solution to cure what ails us. In his role at Right Management, Rich typically works as an outplacement counselor hired by companies to assist terminated employees through a layoff so his insights are derived from his unique position on the front lines of the current job market.

When asked to identify the most effective tactic to find employment, Rich was unequivocal in his response stating that 9 out f 10 offers of employment come as a result of effective networking. Most readers of this blog would concur with Rich’s assessment. I know for me personally my last three full time positions as well as the three current consulting assignments I am managing have all come as a result of contacts in my network who referred me to an employer or alerted me to an opportunity.

Armed with this information, Rich took the next logical step and asked the question: how can we use the obvious power of networking to help put people back to work? His suggestion, using simple math, has powerful implications: Given the current national unemployment rate of 8%, for every 92 people who are employed, there are 8 people who are unemployed. Turning these numbers around, Rich postulates: what if the 92 people who are currently employed proactively helped 4 of the 8 unemployed people find a new job?

(Note: As an economic indictor, a 50% reduction in the jobless rate from 8% to 4%, would return us to a pre-recession level of unemployment.)

So, given this equation, what can you do to end the recession?

Simple: If you are one of the 92% who are privileged to be working in this economy, dedicate one hour of your time this month, to helping someone you know find a job. The math gets better: If every one of the 92% employed dedicated just one hour each month in Q2 helping the 8% find work, every unemployed person would receive nearly 35 hours of quality networking time from the exact people who are most likely to help them get find work.

Extending yourself to help a friend find employment also helps you to build your own network and create currency with others that you may need to draw upon next time you need assistance in finding work or exploring future business opportunities. The rewards of a well-established, active network are many, but are only available to those who are willing to give.

If you are reading this blog and you are currently employed, please consider committing yourself to end the recession.  Reach out today and schedule one hour with someone you know who is unemployed. Whether a friend, a former colleague, family member or someone you’ve just been introduced to, the key is for those of us with gainful employment to be proactive and reach out to those who are not currently employed.

One hour. This month. Commit yourself. Let’s end the recession and help our friends get back to work.

Extra credit: If you are willing to share your stories about the people you’ve helped or the results you’ve created (or if you’ve been the recipient of one hour from the 92%), I’ve created a Facebook page “End the Recession: Friends Helping Friends Get Back to Work” where you can share stories, post photos of coffee meetings, share great results, and learn what other people are doing to help put friends back to work.

Thanks in advance for making a commitment to help friends get back to work. And thanks to Rich Doherty for stimulating fresh thinking that offers promise to change the equation.


Matt Youngquist said...

Great post, Mark! As a career coach, I'm always on the lookout for articles that break free of the many shopworn career topics out there and offer some specific insights beyond the "recycled" advice that's circulating around in so many places. So I think your statistics are spot-on in terms of how the job market really works and I love the idea of encouraging people to formally carve out some time to help those around them get a leg up in their job search. I'm always amazed at how many people get frustrated by those who "blow them off" during their job search, but then repeat this same behavior, themselves, once they get hired into a new position. So let's break the cycle! Everybody out there, take Mark's advice and call at least one person you know in transition, proactively, to pass along some positive support and see what you can do to help. Trust me, they'll never forget the gesture... :)

Anonymous said...

You apparently have very little knowledge of the severity of things going on right now.

What you suggested seem rosy in theory, but it won't work. I would rather teach my friends how to grow their own food and start saving big time, it will serve them better than me helping them find a job.

Going through recession is a must. It's rehab for drug addicts (the consumers).

Soleil* said...

Great reminder of the big impact we can have in the small actions we choose.

Remember too, that there are service-oriented solo-preneurs (such as myself) who may feel the crunch so much so that they become one of the unemployed without being able to receive unemployment benefits.

How can you help? Strongly recommend your massage therapist, hair dresser, yoga teacher to your friends!

And Mark, we worked together at Getty. I now offer Corporate Stress Management programs. Put your words into action - and talk with me for 1 hour! :)

PS. Shameless Self-promotion: Here's my latest Tele-course, "Unplug to Plug-in: Stress Relief for Technology Overload"

John Raffetto said...

It takes me an hour a week just to wade through unsolicited resumes! Even though that is no joke, I think this is excellent advice. Everyone in full time employment owes it to some subset of those looking to try to help.

Rick Sass said...

Mark - The Blog idea is outstanding! I LOVE it!! An excellent idea to help carry on
the message that Rich Doherty presented to the TENS membership last month. In fact, we need to publicize this even better. We should start a viral campaign to spread the message to as many people as we can reach through each of our networks. It would be great if we could get some "legs" on this and build a little momentum. What a positive message to help fix the problem. If we can get more people to have this same positive message and carry it through, we can help get people out of the quagmire of fear and panic that has the economy in this downward spiral.

Thanks for the great idea Mark. And keep spreading the word.

Rick Sass - TENS President

Soleil* said...

Indeed Mark, you are good to your word. What a great conversation we had reconnecting after 8 years!

The tips you gave me and the follow-up connections are very helpful.

Even more, I simply appreciated the focused time you gave to me and my projects with the underlying belief that they have real value.

It reminded me of the importance of the mentoring I offer to other yoga professionals. How easy it is to support others - and how difficult it is for me to receive that support in return!

May this idea SPREAD QUICKLY.

Anonymous said...

this is a lovely idea, but it will only work if there are actually jobs out there for those people to have. this recession is different from many in that the jobs are GONE. perhaps this is not true in your field. in my field, architecture, many of the jobs that have been shed were jobs working on the design of retail and residential architecture. those jobs simply do not exist anymore, because nobody is building retail or residental anymore. building in general is way down. and in fact i do not believe that the solution is simply for us (as a nation) to start building again in the the way that we have been - super-sprawly suburbs of oversized mcmansions that require gas-guzzling cars for commuting.

this recession is a game-changing one, one in which if our nation wants to truly come out the other end in better shape, we need radical change in the structure of our economy. i would love to - HAVE been - trying to help multiple friends find jobs, mainly via my contacts. but the jobs just aren't there, and might simply not BE there in the same form we once knew them to take, in my field at least.

Delaware Job Hunters said...

This article reminds me of this quote, "Seasonal unemployment was found to be a state which does not have much employment, for example, rural areas."

But there are career experts who conduct seminars giving advice about the needed skills to compete in today's competitive job market.