Career Advice For 2016: Watching for 2017

So here we are at the end of 2015, a year of massive . . . well massive everything, both good and bad . . . and 2016 is coming.  So what does the Geek Job Guru think about 2016 and your careers (in the US)?

The strange thing is most of it is about 2017.

Economy In General

So first of all the economy in the US seems to be doing OK overall right now but remember we came out of the worst recession since the depression, and not everyone caught up.    This Salon article is worth reading, and though it focuses on the worst and ignores subtleties (for instance, some people may not have liquid cash but do have assets, it does help paint a picture that the US middle class on down isn’t doing too hot.  A good economy doesn’t mean good for all.

This is also on top of student loan debt, etc.

I also share some of the concerns about the world economy as detailed by Larry Elliott in The Guardian – China’s probably-contracting economy, the Eurozone ups and downs, and Brazil (which I hadn’t paid attention to).

So my short form take on the US Economy is meandering and a lot of people aren’t doing too hot – good for some, OK for others, but a lot of people are being hosed.  In turn we’ve got some bumps in the world economy.

I don’t see the world economy hitting a big bump in 2016 – but I see it as a distinct possibility in 2017 as there’s too many things that can go wrong.  Unless it’s minor, its impact will be extended as so much of the US has not recovered.  Collapse or some kind of dystopian nightmare?  No. But it’ll depend on other issues . .


Politically, let’s face it the Republican party is in a meltdown with Trump.  I give him odds to win the nomination, but I don’t see him winning.  However the party will likely take an obstructionist route in politics – well, continue it.  Trump on the other hand will stick around to make trouble.

The Democrats will probably unify behind Clinton, and if she’s smart (and she is) she’ll outreach to the Sanders constituency.  Trump’s antics allow her to move to the left (which, to show my biases, we need), by driving moderates into her area.  A big issue for government functioning is if Clinton has coattails so she brings in enough change to keep the Republicans from being obstructionist.

Your politics aside – my politics aside – the gridlock as of late has been terrible.  One look at our poor infrastructure and erratic politics will tell you that.  To be blunt I think the Democrats will allow us to better navigate upcoming economic bumps.

If on the other hand Trump wins, against all odds, he will be massively disruptive to put it mildly.  But I don’t expect it.

The US political situation will affect how bad a likely bump is.  If the Republicans win or win enough to be obstructionist, we’re going to grind on and the 2017 bump will hurt a lot of people.

Jobs In General

Don’t see a lot of change on the job front per se, which is actually not good for everyone.  you can get a gander at the top paying jobs in the US according to Business Insider – which you’ll note require degrees and training.  For people without degrees, you can check out BI’s non-degree job guide – but training and speciality work is also required.

In a lot of cases you see the same patterns time and again – be involved in health care, engineering, building/maintenance, mechanicals, technology, and transport.  And yes, IT is good but I’ve previously covered that getting in on the ground level is hard.

If you’re senior at a job there’s always reasons to be concerned, but I think you’re probably safer, at least in IT – and if you’re skilled you’re also hard to replace, especially if you’re hands-on.  No one outsources their Dentist or HVAC construction.

The problem is if you’re starting out, you need to start out fast, have a plan, measure progress, and get the hell trained.

Also you’ll notice a lot of jobs aren’t particularly “geeky.”  Work with things that fit you and be willing to evolve.

Where This All Goes

So my basic take on jobs for 2016 is:

Prepare for things to “go bump” in 2017.  Be ready with savings, plans, etc.  I’m not guaranteeing it’ll happen, but I’m suspicious.

  • If you’re Senior in your job, it’s more a case of holding on – saving money, keeping up a rep, getting some extra training.  This is especially true if your job is hard to outsource or replace.
  • If you’re entry-level, you should work to get yourself to some senior level experience before 2017.  Actually doing it at reasonable speed is a good idea anyway.  Work to make sure you’ve got options and are established.
  • If you’re just starting out – pick careers carefully, watch your finances, and have backup plans.  Be ready to live with your parents, friends, etc.  Be willing to work on a more stable, less interesting career – you can always change later.
  • If you can’t do your perfect job, do what you can but also be willing to “careerize” a hobby to explore options.  I recommend that anyway, but it may be nice to have options anyway.


This will be amplified – or decreased – by our political situation in the US.

Now past 2017?  I’m not sure.  Too far out for me.  But I think 2016 means we have time to prepare for 2017.

And we should

– Steve