<![CDATA[BBQCRITIC - Guest Columnist Dave Anderson]]>Wed, 09 Mar 2016 20:00:50 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[The Changing Workforce and The New American Worker]]>Sat, 01 Oct 2011 08:24:49 GMThttp://www.bbqcritic.com/guest-columnist-dave-anderson/the-changing-workforce-and-the-new-american-workerI am writing this because as an employer and an entrepreneur I have heard many unemployed or underemployed people who are looking for a job blame government or business for not creating job opportunities. The brutal reality of today is that job creation is no longer the function of the employer but rests 100% on the worker. And government can’t really produce long-term meaningful jobs anyway... that is not their role. I am not even sure that “long-term meaningful jobs” is the new reality anyway. It is probably better said...long-term learning skills to stay employable... with the emphasis on employable not just employed. The number one driving force that will keep someone in demand to the marketplace is the worker’s ability to “create value” for the purpose of making someone else happy and satisfied. This understanding is a complete reversal from yesteryear's thinking of a worker’s ambition to “get a job” and then “work for a paycheck” is what created the American Dream.

Today, the American Dream is still possible but the playing field has changed. No longer can a one-time education carry you through an entire career. It used to be if someone got laid off because of economic upheaval and once the economy settled down that the person could expect to get hired back doing the same job. This is no longer today’s reality. Today, if economic meltdowns cause people to get laid off... it is almost guaranteed that the business will have restructured itself and technology will have made the former job obsolete. Today’s worker needs to have the mindset that they will do whatever it takes to always be “employable” not just employed. A “learned job skill” needs to be transformed into a everyday mindset of “learning new job skills.”

Today, it is your responsibility to figure out how your talents, skills, and willingness to work harder and longer than your competition will keep you constantly engaged in producing increased profits and added value for the buyer of your product or services. The “buyer” may be the marketplace or the company you work for. And great emphasis needs to be placed on “constantly engaged in producing increased profits and added value.” The minute you think it is your employer’s responsibility or the government’s responsibility to do this for you... is the exact moment that you become replaceable.

We are now living in a hyper-competitive global marketplace where for the first time in history, brilliant people are able to connect instantly and this is rapidly changing how we live and do business. Because of this... new innovations are not only wiping out whole industries and 10s of thousands of jobs overnight but also toppling down entire governments. Here’s the brutal reality... it is now your responsibility to increase your own productivity and find new ways to make your job or the work you do... create more value for others. You can no longer expect your company to do this for you. The game changer is this... YOU have to do this for YOUR company and YOUR customers. IF NOT...there are literally hundreds of millions of hungry, intensely driven, brilliant people all over the world who are furiously figuring out ways to do your job better and they are willing to work for less money. Today's employers are not only looking for great enthusiastic hard working employees but employees who have the learning agility to innovate better ways of making their job create more value for the customer.

Ignorance blames business for outsourcing American jobs. What needs to be understood is that “it is NOT outsourcing” anymore but just a fact of how business is being done competitively in a new flat global economy. This is no different than me buying beef from Amarillo, Texas, pork from Austin, Minnesota, or cheese from Appleton, Wisconsin. Today, I can have a software program designed in India, graphic design done in Romania, and editing done in China for one tenth the cost of what I can have it done in America. My first book I spent $5,000 dollars for cover graphics and I spent $2,500 for editing. Today, my last book, I went on elance.com and found a highly qualified graphic designer to design my book cover for $60 and a retired highly qualified editor to do my editing for $150 dollars! This is not outsourcing, this is just the way the marketplace is getting things done in today’s global economy. As much as we all want to run around with BUY AMERICAN bumper stickers on our foreign made cars... outsourcing or competitive bidding on a global playing field is just the brutal reality of what’s really happening in our new global marketplace.

Your company is not being UnAmerican or being mean to you if it outsources your job. What it means is that YOU have not committed yourself to staying relevant, committed to constant job skills improvement, and committed to increasing your productivity output. It’s easy to say “but you don’t understand what I am dealing with” and to be blameful... but that isn’t going to get you a job or change what is happening in the world economy.

Folks, the reality is that there are no more 40 hour jobs. In fact, working 40 hours only gets you by. Its what you do before and after the 40 hours is where your financial rewards will come from. The same way... there is no more “job security” which is no different than nature and we are all part of nature where security does not exist. We are going back to life before the Industrial Revolution where people started working from the time the sun came up and then worked until they were wore out. And they did whatever it took to put food on their table and a roof over their heads. One day they may plow fields. Another day they may help their neighbor build a house. And at the end of the week they may take their harvest or their handiwork to the market and then they become merchants engaged in the art of negotiation and selling.Today’s worker no longer can say “that’s not my job” and probably the best mantra is “I do what other’s will not do!” because there are hundred million other people who will do anything just for the opportunity. Further, there is no more retirement. The harsh reality of what's happening in the world today makes retirement a dead concept and we are going back to the times where people worked as long as they were physically and mentally able to and then the fell over and died. People are also starting to understand again that it is better to wear out than to rust out! ...and this is being evidenced by the high cost of keeping people alive who can't take care of themselves.

Personally, I have never been the brightest light bulb in the room nor have I ever been the most talented but I have always been willing to work hard. I do what others will not do. I have a determination that no one is going to outwork me. I take great pride in what I do for a living and I am willing to put my name on my handiwork. That is why they call my restaurant’s Famous Dave’s of America...The World’s Best BBQ Joint and America’s Best Tasting Ribs! And everyday I tell myself... “They can’t stop a man who won’t quit!”

I think the best thoughts that can serve as a guiding light for the American worker in this new economy comes from Jim Rohn, one of America’s most brilliant business philosophers when he said, “Work hard on your job and you’ll earn a livng. Work hard on yourself and you’ll earn a fortune!”

-- Famous Dave Anderson