Earlier this month, I spent time in NYC speaking at the National Publicity Summit; picture here and also 30 second full screen video montage link on the blogroll on the right. I had the privilege of representing media on behalf of the weekly radio show I co host with Eva Lewandowski who was also with me at the Summit. The mission of our show “Corporate Talk with Charlie and Eva” is to use our collaborative powers to encourage and promote shared leadership as a strategy to simply make a difference in the workplace. That said, this is an event I’m proud to be a part of and also the reason for responding to this article in the WSJ.
In the April 5-6 edition of the WSJ, Glenn Hubbard dean of Columbia Business School (and also former advisor to President GWB and Governor Romney) writes about “A BIG PUZZLE that LOOMS over the U.S.economy.” Unemployment is down to 6.7% from a high of 10% during the great recession. However only 63.2% of Americans 16 or older are participating in the labor force? What exactly is going on? Well, I’m no dean of business but I can tell you what’s going on; there’s a revolution in progress. I call it a shared leadership, collaborative, self investing revolution; in the workplace, in the home and within ourselves. Much of the missing 37% have resurfaced as authors, speakers, coaches and trainers. These subject matter experts and now newly founded independent small business owners are creating and sharing valuable content, giving back, making a difference and as a result being compensated better than one ever imagined. Yes, 37% is missing from the labor force (as we once knew it) and (also) yes the 6.7% unemployment is an accurate indicator. Nothing like a great recession to make many in the work force realize that it may not be a good strategy to keep your head down and “follow the leader” without knowledge of their plan, let alone a say in it; especially when it’s not working!
Many of the missing grew tired of simply being labeled a resource and decided to put their hard earned subject matter expertise to a more efficient use. From that decision, a new path has emerged; re-invest and then re-invent yourself as an independent small business owner, with your career earned subject matter expertise driving the content of your business. The old economy path was to scrap and claw your way back into that previous un-inspiring position in the labor force.
Anyway old way aside and as a result of this new workplace improvement revolution, many are now the inspiring leaders they always had the ability to become but were not given the opportunity. So just as I said over and over to everyone I met at the Summit; congratulations!
Honestly (though), I started to wonder how this changing workforce demographic is so puzzling to the dean of Columbia Business School, when it’s been so obvious to me, especially after speaking at events like these and clearly seeing it with my own eys?
Could it be…politics?
Actually where I was visiting this past Sunday when I first read this article in the WSJ, some at the table were saying that this Administration encourages people (the missing 37%) to not work. Why bother? Wth all these latest handouts there’s no reason to. Interesting spin but way off in the overall economy as a whole. I say overall as a whole because it’s partially true, but only for some. In fact I know many at this exact moment in time that have worked in corporate, now comfortably collecting unemployment and feel entitled to continue to collect while not even looking for a job. These are middle-aged white-collar working professionals, not the demographic referenced at the table I was sitting at but does represent the demographic of many of the readers of the WSJ and of the article by Greg Hubbard that I’m referencing.
OK so what’s the “jist” here?
I think for much of the target audience of the WSJ which includes the workforce executive losing their previously unrecognized talent; for them as the economy improves and they need to hire in order to stay competetive, it is in fact puzzling; “where’s my resource!”
However for many others it’s a revolution, a self improvement, make a difference as 1 person revolution; in the workplace, in the home and most important in ourselves.
I had the privilege of meeting hundreds of these new revolutionaries this past weekend at the National Publicity Summit and pretty much every one there represented the missing 37% referenced in the WSJ article written by Mr. Hubbard.
The missing labor force have stepped out of the labor force and into leading this new economy into a workplace improvement revolution. A revolution of which everyone including the WSJ, thier target audience and also Mr. Hubbard are most welcome to join, in fact we need you!
I think it’s about time someone said something positive about this new economy and acknowleded all the workplace improvement revolutionaries for taking the risk to become the leader they always had the ability to become. I can’t wait to learn from all of you! -Charliespeaking.
PS.. that’s where the missing workers are; what about the missing jobs? The ones that helped expedite this workplace improvement revolution? As a technologist working in Corporate America for 40 years and speaking for my industry specifically; I suggest you look in India. I’m NOT saying anything negative about India or the very qualified technoligsts that live and work there. I’m just saying that’s where the jobs went.