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.