Most of us understand that asset values go up as the value of the dollar and your buying power go down due to inflation (I bought a $1.20 standard size candy bar today), but what about your personal worth and why do Americans keep losing jobs?
There is a lot of conversation lately about the economy, unemployment and jobs as well as who should provide them and who should get them. One statistic you should understand is the employment ratio of Americans from age 15-64 years old which was 66.7% as of 2010.
That means 33.3% unemployment. This does not account for stay at home parents, students and early retirees who do not wish to be employed. However, The numbers do tell us that we should feel blessed to be part of the “haves” with gainful employment.
104 million people are unemployed!
I want you to think about your personal worth as businesses and employers all over the globe struggle to keep doors open in this bankrupt economy. What are you doing to make sure you stay employed in your lifetime? What makes you different than the 33.3% unemployed people that don’t have jobs?
Let’s compare business competition for sales to your personal competition for jobs.
A business owner has two paths to choose to sustain business. The most common method (the most dangerous) revolves around trying to be low-cost leaders for easier sales. In this method they usually hire the cheapest employees to create a profit at the lowest prices with this undertrained and under-appreciated workforce. They then attempt to copy what their competitors are doing long after they are doing it for as cheap as possible since tiny profit margins don’t afford you to lead at anything.
This is service and value deflation, you are behind your competition and worth less than those around you. This could easily describe the personal struggle for good paying jobs or the struggle for businesses to remain relevant and profitable.
In the personal-worth world (as a person), if you follow this model you will never create personal wealth because you quit creating personal worth. Businesses go broke everyday using this model too when just a small drop in the business cycle sends them to bankruptcy.
People lose their jobs everyday because they quit learning new skills and fail to increase their value to employers including the one they currently depend on. They become a labor commodity and they are easily replaced with cheaper labor or someone more eager to work and/or more skilled.
The other path for businesses is to increase value to their clients every year with new services, new products, unique programs and ways to help customers make money when they use your company. This is service and value inflation. This is where we inflate the worth of our services by increasing the value of those services to our clients. This is positive for all parties involved. It helps a business keep up with inflation, it provides an R&D budget for new products, helps your clients make more money and helps them inflate their values and worth to their clients as well.
What is your personal business model?
You compete in the marketplace for jobs and wages, what are you doing to increase your worth?
Are you unknowingly becoming a lowest wage commodity by not increasing your worth each year?
You are in a very weak position if you ever come to your employer for a “cost of living increase”. This means you are doing so little to better yourself that you are hoping your employer will give you more money for the exact same skills you had last year. You are asking for more money to offset your rising expenses in your personal world even though you have never invested in yourself or increased your skills, your offerings to your employer or your worth. You are not actively managing your personal worth.
Just think about those 33.3% unemployment rate. Those are college grads, ex-military men and women, machine operators, graphic artists, sales people and managers all looking for work just like what you have. How are you worth more than they are if they have skills a business can use and you are on personal-skill-cruise control?
As your value declines due to lack of growth (deflation), everyone else’s ongoing improvement makes them much more valuable (inflation) than you are. Who would get cut first if it came down to cutbacks and layoffs? This is how people lose jobs. They lose value (deflation) compared to those around them and they are pulling down the entire team by being the weakest part of the team. You need to help the team and yourself by getting better with new skills, knowledge and experience.
Even as a business owner I take new classes every year. I study and create new technology on my own time. I come up with ways to help clients save or make money without reducing our costs. I study the competition, I study industry trends and I do everything I can to stay ahead of my competition. That is what it takes to survive as a business.
Do you forget about work after 5pm or do you study and learn tricks and trends that make you more competitive in the workplace? Do you create value for your employer and yourself in a win win situation and inflate your skills and worth? Maybe you are unknowingly on skill-stand-still and will one day be worthless to any high paying employer. It’s worth your time to understand the difference.
It’s up to you to judge your personal growth and long-term goals but if you are not a valued leg of your company team you may want to rethink your long-term job prospects and the 104 million people that are looking for a job just like yours. Businesses are all looking for growth oriented employees and the win-win partnership of a truly growing and expanding skill set. Alternately, the skill-stand-still team are the first ones to get cut in a business down cycle. Don’t let that be you.
In the ultimate example of personal worth deflation (with no disrespect intended) the average Wal Mart greeter was once a very popular employee in the workforce that just let their skill set devalue against the rest of the population until they had no real value in the common workforce. We all joke about not wanting to end up there, but in all seriousness don’t let society required skill growth pass you by.
Here are some things you should ALL know by now:
- MS Office
- Company Products
- Customer Service
- Calendar Management
- Smart phones
- Online banking
- email setup
- online research
- posting pictures
- online security
- virus avoidance
These are all skills needed to just get caught up with the rest of the workforce. To get ahead you should take classes related to your employment every year the rest of your working life. Step up your game folks. Survival of the fittest is a law of nature that you should not be ignoring.