I think I'm going to stop talking about economic recovery from the Great Recession because it won't happen. What will happen is Re-Alignment.
Whenever there's a downturn, recession, economic shift, etc. we always hear about how there will be a "Recovery." Recovery, as far as I can tell when that word is thrown around casually, means that everything will Go Back To Normal. It'll all be like it was before whatever nasty economic business happened.
One can argue that many of the past economic recoveries were not exactly returns-to-normal. That is agreed, but I think that the aftermath of this Great Recession won't even be something you can describe as a return to normal.
It's going to be a Re-Alighment. What will come out of this economic mess is not going to be the world we were used to. It's going to be something else. You may recognize the pieces of the economy to come, but not always the way they're arranged
Career-wise, you'll want to be ready.
The reason I think there will be Re-Alignment is that there's many factors, at once, changing the world:
- The hideous financial meltdown. There's going to need to be, and possibly will be, a lot more financial regulation and investigation.
- If that regulation and investigation does not happen we'll probably have a repeat of the Great Recession in miniature in a few years. All it takes is a quick read of the news to see a lot of the financial Masters of The Universe don't get – or don't admit – how they screwed up.
- Aging populations in several countries change the demographics of who is working – and who is supporting them.
- Growing countries and those directing their economic efforts are rising. As I noted, countries like Canada are recruiting both the young and the seasoned effectively.
- Technology. Yes technology is changing everything. That's easy to say. But it changes how people work, live, interact – and find things out. The difference in tech from now to the last recession is amazing. Tech changes everything.
- Industry shifts. The US Homebuilding market is devastated, as is its manufacturing base. This is nothing to brush off, this is millions upon millions of jobs. A lot of this isn't coming back any time soon, if ever.
- Generational career gaps. As a Gen Xer I feel pretty unhappy, but some of the Boomers AND the under-25 crowd are also having issues. At least I have enough years to grow and save and keep building my life and career foundation, and I'm professional enough that I have a career. Those on either side of me have serious issues- not being prepared, or not able to get a break.
- Changes in tastes. In an age of games and ebooks and specific markets, do some of the business models and geekonomic business models fit anymore?
- Politics in a media age. Politics have changed rapidly in this media age, in this global age. They're more unpredictable, but also they often have gone more Hollywood.
- * Your usual environmental problems: peak oil, global warming, etc.
ALL of the above is going to affect your future and your career. What happens will not be recovery, it will be a realignment of interests, people, careers, and cashflow. What life was like five years ago is not coming back; something else is emerging.
Now, career and life wise if you keep up on this, then you can make your dream career work in a new world. In fact, you might find yourself involved in the realignment and have a chance to be part of it to make it beneficial to people (and yourself).
But don't expect a recovery. Don't expect the normal you know. There's too much going on, and it's not going to happen.
Instead look forward and see where the re-alignment is going and keep that in mind for your career.
– Steven Savage