60 Minutes Explores a Platform to Employment

Tonight 60 Minutes featured a new program called Platform to Employment, which has been put together by Joe Carbone.  The 60 Minutes segment zeroed in on revealing the terrible truths that people who are in the 99 – week plus group of unemployment face, including:

Discrimination– Frequently they can’t apply for a job if they are not already employed

Isolation– Singled out from their professional peers, they often face tremendous isolation from their former associates

Hopelessness – Encountering repeated rejection is an absolute erosion of their self-confidence, resulting in an uncertainty about their future that is paralyzing

Lack of emotional support– This is a silent epidemic where people lack safe places to discuss the impact on marriages, finances, and psychological and physical health

No legitimate professional re-entry options– Often, survival jobs are the only options as corporations are typically not committed to this issue and feature few transitional employment options, if any

Ostracized- The chronic unemployed are shunned by friends and over time stop asking for help, which is critical to forward movement and networking

There were several aspects to this segment that underscored the desperate call for national action.  What I appreciated the most were the 28 people who offered their stories as examples of the impact of chronic unemployment.  The stories where heart breaking as so many were from established industries where they had multiple certifications, strong educations and great work histories.  Looking into their eyes, you could see the desperation, anger, frustration, sadness and despair that is all too often glossed over by job clubs and social resources that require them to put aside these burning emotions even to participate in any type of social activity designed to support them.  This is exactly the type of media coverage that we need far more of in order to drive home the nature of this crisis.  I personally believe if people simply knew how to help others, they would step up as it is the character of our country to innovate and contribute if we know where the front lines of a crisis are happening.  The problem?  These people are voiceless, facing poverty and foreclosures, and they are not organized into any type of centralized groups capable of a strong and succinct call to action.

The elements of 60 Minutes and the Platform for Employment that caught my eye and validate what I’ve tested through work on my book, The Economy of One: CODE for Free Agents, is that to compete in today’s job market requires a complete shift of mindset.  People must think of themselves as empowered, connected and capable of driving demand for what they can uniquely supply in an economy of one.  They need to think like entrepreneurs, whether they are ready to commit to being one or not.  They need to access support and resources designed to help them engage with what I refer to as a hyper networked economy – where increasingly it’s not what you know, but strategic access to who you know that makes or breaks your chances to meaningful employment.  We are living in a place of transition where the role of social currency in getting a job is critical and too many people have no idea what social currency is, little the less how to access it for strategic employment purposes.

I was encouraged that as a platform to employment and to re-establish confidence the program was zeroing in on an intern to work option which very closely parallels a program I’ve been very active in, the InturnXchange here in Kansas City.  It’s high time that our decision makers, our business leaders and civic minded people step up to address this national crisis in terms that connect our most precious national resource with companies (and small business in specific) that desperately need the intellectual capital of those in transition, even for short term assignment work.

Businesses should be encouraged to (especially) engage in informational interviews, offer internship opportunities and outreach for the people who in staggering numbers are falling through our social safety nets.  We have to do more as the back bone of stability in America, the middle class, are systematically being required to adapt at a rate not seen ever before to stay relevant.

You can watch the video of the broadcast here:

Bravo to 60 Minutes for calling out this critical issue, bravo to Mr. Joe Carbone for his heartfelt and passionate pursuit of a noble cause that must get more attention, and bravo most of all to the 28 people who volunteered to be interviewed for the program sharing their deeply personal and moving stories.  Each one of them is an Economy of One, each one is our most important asset America – they are the educated, the failing middle class, the hard working people who trusted that the companies and communities would be there for them when hard times hit.  We must step up our efforts to bring innovation, courage and dedicated support to those fighting at the front lines of chronic unemployment.  Here’s to 60 Minutes for the courage to give precious media time to highlight the need to mobilize resources, tackle road blocks and begin the process of innovating our way into new ideas and mindsets required to effectively deal with the problem, putting our 99 week plus unemployed back to work.

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I want to take a moment to personally welcome you to a new forum where we will define what it means to engage as The Economy of One. I thank you for your interest and support of an idea that I feel is long overdue, an idea that is grounded in the observation that we the people need to take back control over our collective economy- one person at a time.  Do you feel like a victim of this mess? That things are just beyond your control and influence?  Well, I want to suggest something radical.  WE are the Economy and for far too long WE have handing over our power to those not committed to our collective well fare.  So, I say it’s time to take it back.  One person at a time.   After working with many people in transition, I am confident that together we can create new opportunities that are an answer to the question: What do we do now? What do I do now?

In light of the fact that we are without a national or international solution to the problem of a jobless recovery, it’s high time that we go back to basics and innovate new options.  In a time of uncertainty, we  know only one thing is certain:  you can only count on yourself and God’s help to make a difference.  You can do this, but it takes an adjustment of thinking that starts with the notion that YOU are America’s (and the world’s) largest uninvested asset. You are precious. You are one of a kind with life experiences unique to You. You my friend are not a commodity and you cannot “be outsourced”. You are intended for a purpose and not without a means to engage creatively.

This is a process, and while it takes time and practice, the great news is that it can be done.  Personally, I have been dedicated to the question of defining how exactly it is that effective entrepreneurs sell and I’m here to tell you that you can learn a universal lesson from their activities. What they do intuitively you can do intentionally, it will just take some practice and process to get you engaged and moving forward.  I have found that the only difference between an entrepreneur and someone who is unemployed is that one has decided he or she has something to sell.  That’s it.

Yes, they were willing to try. They choose to invest in themselves, which is where we need to start in terms of thinking.  We need to go back to basics.  In so many ways, this country and our world’s great people, need to go back to basics and take inventory of our intellectual capital, our social network capital, or financial or innovation capital. Will you join me in daring to think differently about the problem?  To explore new options and to support one another in the process?  Now, like no other time in history we need unity and leadership.  I need you to help me if you agree because I believe you are the solution.

This is the first of many blogs that I hope will transform the way you look at the challenge of re-engaging. Give yourself permission to dare to think differently because no matter what your experience to date (and I’m thinking about all the 99 er’s out there) – you are able to innovate your way out this corner but it will require a shift in thinking.  Please join me in the discussion, in the revolution and  in becoming The Economy of One.

Within days this book will be released on Amazon, so if you are interested in the announcement, please sign in to my guest book and let me know. I invite you to join with me in pioneering a new solution to this worldwide problem.

Blessings Always.


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