What Are You Waiting For?

by Robert Driscoll on January 14, 2010

As we enter this jobless recovery in 2010, it won’t be big business that will pick up the economy.  Once again, it will be the small business entrepreneurs.  News agencies and financial firms follow what the CEO’s of major firms foresee for 2010 to see when the light at the end of the tunnel will become visible.  What many people don’t realize is that small businesses employ over half of all private sector employees and generated 64 percent of net new jobs over the past 15 years.  It is small businesses and entrepreneurs who will bring us out of this slump.

While the days of working for one employer during your professional career are long over, big business continues to squeeze more perks out of their employees to cut expenses. Almost a third of Fortune 1000 companies have now frozen their pension plans in an effort to control expenses. US wages and salaries rose at record lows according to the Labor Department in 2009.  Over the past 12 months, wages and salaries only rose 1.5 percent making it the lowest increase since the figures started to be collected in 1982.

Wages for non-managerial workers have fallen by 1.4 percent so far this year, according to an article in USA Today, and are on track for even further declines. The official unemployment rate has reached 9.8 percent, and when one takes into account discouraged workers and people who are underemployed, it is at 17 percent, possibly higher.  And for 2010, while more employers state that they will be hiring more employees, it’s nothing to write home about as it’s not much higher than 2009.

With the marketplace now changing faster than ever and forcing businesses to adapt more quickly, more employers will have to rethink their hiring efforts as they look to their employees to be more flexible as well.  This request from big business employers to employees for flexibility will be: increasing and decreasing work hours depending on demand; the continued request to do-more-for-less; continue to learn new skills.  How do you think employees are reacting to this?  According to a survey of 2900 companies done by Careerbuilder.com revealed that nearly a quarter of them rate their organization’s morale as low.  So what can you do during these tough economic times?  You can be thankful that you have a job and suck it up or you can make a change.

Recently a good friend of mine told me that he was considering quitting his corporate job in the northeast and moving to the mid-west to help a family member of his grow his small business and take it to the next level.  While he would initially be taking a pay cut, the opportunity for growth and exceeding his income today is enormous, but he worries about leaving his “comfortable” corporate job.  He called me to ask me for my opinion.  I told him that there are risks in working for a small business, or for that matter, helping to start one, but in today’s uncertain economy, there aren’t any more uncertainties working for big business as there are working for a small company.  The difference, I told him, is that there will be nothing more fulfilling than creating something that is his and being in control of his financial destiny.  I asked him what he’s waiting for and when he’s leaving to start his new journey.  I hope it’s soon.

So ask yourself, “Am I happy?” or, “Is my career/job fulfilling?” If not, then what are you waiting for to change it?

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