Q&A: Your Career In The Age Of Trump

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr)

OK Donald Trump is President-Elect. So I’m going to discuss what that means for your career, in a helpful Q&A format inspired by John Scalzi.

Why the hell are you writing about careers right now?

It is kind of what I do.  Geek Job Guru thing and all.

OK.  Uh, you know I didn’t vote for Trump.

I’m kind of guessing you didn’t if you’re reading my writings.  I don’t think I attract a lot of modern “conservatives.” But hey, whatever.

Fine.  Sure.  OK, what do you think Trump means for careers and the economy?

Trump’s thin-skinned, egotistical, easily-distracted, surrounding himself with terrible people, and easily manipulated.

Christ.  So anything good about this?

Trump’s thin-skinned, egotistical, easily-distracted, surrounding himself with terrible people, and easily manipulated.  This means people are going to be trying to control him and hopefully their various agendas will conflict enough to keep this from becoming a disaster.

Yeah, OK, uh . . . let’s talk about careers.  So what’s your basic view of the economy?

First of all, short-term, I think we’re good for about a year.  The economy is going good new, I’m not sure how much it can be screwed up short-term, and the above mentioned conflicts may help us.

In the next two years or so I’ve been expected a mild recession anyway merely because things have been going decently for awhile and I figure some kind of snag is due. There’s a few areas I’m concerned about like student loan debt and areas with continued sub-employment on top of this, so yeah, I figured we have a recession coming up no matter what.

The big issue twofold. First, past a year out I think we’re likely to see a Trump Administration create too much economic and political chaos, and I don’t see any stimulus proposals that create actual stimulus coming out of this. In the next four years I’d expect a serious recession, and it’s probable that mild one I predicted will be far more severe.  I’m also concerned about changes to bank regulations leading to a repeat of something like 2008 in the next four-six years.

So past 1 or 2 years we’re going to have somethig go wrong.

Well that’s depressing.  Are you saying that past one year out we’re going to have something bad happen, maybe twice, and some of the bad might be Voltroned together?

Pretty much, barring some radical changes or good luck.  Now some of this is going to be highly regional, so keep that in mind, but we’ll all feel it.

Uh, so . . . what’s your career advice?

Get your act together in the next year.  If you have a career plan, work on it.  If you don’t, make one. Make sure you have a five-year plan for your career, what you can do, and what you need to learn to make it happen. Get your certifications.

In short, get your s**t together career-wise.

What if I’m just starting college?

Well hopefully you can ride anything nasty out.  Either way, plan accordingly and watch your debt.  That could be a real soul-crusher.

Any specific career advice?

  1. Make sure you research your career and know what to do, what you need, and where best to do it.
  2. Follow all my other job advice.

Basically, this next year or so it’s not just a time to do the right thing for your career but to do the hell out of it.  Up your game.

Sort of turn my career and job search up to 11?

I admire any disembodied questioner who can joke about Spinal Tap.

But seriously, this is the time to follow not just “some” job advice but all of it.  Get your act together – the most important thing I can reccomend if you do not have said act together is make a career plan and review your plan and progress monthly.

OK, I’m thinking of relocating to a different city or state for my job.  Any advice?

Pick carefully.  I’d pick a good “Megaregion” area or one with good connections to such regions.  Make sure there’s a functional economy and a reliable government at least on the City level.  Right now in this political climate local city and state issues are going to be very important – and an area of severe division.

A good guide to me is does the city/state you’re looking at have distinct, healthy identity, economic identity, and idea of itself.  New York is . . . well, New York.  Seattle is Silicon Valley II.  Silicon Valley is itself. Virginia has growing technical areas.

Also make sure you network immediately when you arrive, or have friends and family there.  Get connected, it’ll help you stay.

Act as if your move is probably permanent – but be open to doing it again.

Well I’m thinking of just leaving the country, I mean . . .

Yeah, well if you’re young getting some experience out of the country is a good idea.  However don’t go thinking leaving America is going to solve all your problems. Also don’t you think other countries are tired of being the “second choice” of Americans?

If you’re over 35, if you do want to work overseas, act like any move is permanent.  Because it may be after you’ve stayed out of the country for a few years.

OK, long-term.  Investments and retirement?

First of all I’d consult with financial professionals or train yourself to handle investments. I know enough to do simple investing (I use a portfolio of researched index funds), but you have to find what works for you.

Secondly, save the hell out of things.  I always keep a good buffer of non-invested money.

As for investments, *I* am sticking with my index funds and riding out any changes, but I’m looking very long-term.  Consider your risks when you do your research.

Man you sound pretty positive about all this! Are you?

Actually, no, I think Trump’s going to be a lousy president. I think we’ll get through it, but he’s going to be kind of like Bush II in that Republcians try and forget him.  It’ll then take 4-20 years to undo the damage, but we won’t fix all of it.

Its just my thing is providing advice. So I do what I can!


– Steve

Civic Diary 7/15/2016

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr)

If you’ve been following my Civic Diary for any time you know one of my goals as an engaged citizen is to get connected to politics.  My attempts to connect with local groups was pretty scattershot, much of it because people kept moving the damn meetings.  Finally I found one by going to whatever I could and visiting a local political office.

So what I went to this meeting it was a kind of polyglot of local chapter meeting, club meeting, and a meet-and-greet of various officials.  I couldn’t see everything due to work, but I managed to finally network and connect and find ways to get involved.

  1. I’ll be going to a big meetup to get involved in Election 2016.  This is a specific date at a specific place for the specific purpose of different political groups coordinating.  I will go to this and state “I want to do this, now what.”
  2. I’ve got contact with a local party member to get more advice.
  3. I found a lot of local officials are pretty accessible, and got some insights on campaigns I may want to help with.

So finally.  Being civilly engaged in local politics.  The plan is to 1) Help with the election, 2) Network and connect, so that 3) I have a long-term plan.  #3 is almost certainly communication and/or recruiting.

Now that one hour I spent? Insightful.  I’m sure the things I share won’t be new to some, but they were pretty amazing to me.

There Are People Really Into It: Politics as a calling?  Yes.  People get into this like anything else.  It’s more than say a fandom (for some) but also there’s a calling/obsession/lifestyle/hobby vibe to it.

The Network Is Real: When I started doing my Civic Geek research, I began realizing just how much of civilization is due to groups and people getting stuff done that we don’t realize.  You see it at one of these political meetups as you meet local officials, see recommendations from organizations boost a candidate’s profile, and other such things.

You See The Bigger Network: Ever think politicians are distant?  Well it’s understandable in some cases.  However at least at this meetup I suddenly saw how politics itself is a giant Network of candidates, groups, donors, workers, and more.  I’m talking to people who worked with my state’s governor casually.  Now extend that further.

There Are Careerists And That’s Good: I totally support the idea of citizen government, but some people are career (or side career) in government and that’s good.  They build expertise.  They know how things work.  They have arranged their lives to take advantage of it.

There’s Ways In – But It’s Not Apparent: One of the things I realized is that, yes, there’s ways to get involved and get into office, but a lot of people don’t know how.  Where’s the instruction manual?  Here at this meeting I had an idea of how people did it – and how people not very political connected wouldn’t know when to start.  You have to work at it.

I Can See It’s Something I’ll Like: The energy of the meeting, the chance to make a difference, the engagement was something.  It felt the same way as helping at a con.  So I’m pretty sure after all this I’ll be doing political work as part of my life.

Definitely worth going.  I saw not a different world, but more saw the world different.

So for you?  Want to get involved?  Go to a local political party meeting.  It may just give you the opportunity you needed to make a difference.

See you at the phone bank – and next column!

– Steve