I came across an article on Open Salon today by Steve Klingaman entitled Status Symbol for 2009: A Secure Job.
Having commented on this at length, I thought that my comments, together with the topic would make a good blog posting. The economy is in such a mess, so many companies are struggling to stay afloat, and if like me you have a full time job, no doubt you have worries and concerns over what may happen in 2009.
Personally, I think 2009 is going to be a tough year for many people – too many people, and definitely having a secure job is a new status symbol.
But defining secure? I don’t think you can.
My job got eliminated 5 years ago. I was working for a musical instrument manufacturer in Indiana, got called into the boss’s office in the middle of a Friday morning, “Sorry to say your job has been eliminated”… I thought I was secure, being the most acquainted person with the main accounting system. But no – bang went my job along with 27 others, all either people who had been with the company the longest or those who were earning more. I learned a hard lesson that day. Now I never feel safe.
Right now the company I work for, which is a multi-billion dollar corporation, has made a lot of cut backs. No pay rises, no perks of any description, no employer 401k matching, and some management had apparently taken pay cuts. They haven’t said whether our usual annual bonus will be eliminated or not, but I’m not banking on anything. Of course any action that they take to avoid cutting jobs is good, but there is always the worry that the economy will not recover in time to save us all.
Now this company I work for manufactures household appliances. You know, toasters, microwaves, blenders, fans etc. With sales being hit this year, the company has been forced by the big stores (Walmart, target etc) to cut their margins, and if you have been to any large store in the USA in the last few months you have to have seen the amount of consumer goods that are being dumped out at crazy prices.
It’s not just appliances. Take a look in any store and see all the televisions, computers etc that are being offered at amazing discounts. They just want sales, to keep their inventory turning over.
My fear is that in keeping sales up by dropping prices, many people have now purchased new items, which will last for years. having bought a new television, toaster, fridge etc for a low low price, how many years is it going to be before these people need a replacement?
In 6 months therefore, are many companies who cut their margins to the lowest levels possible in order to maintain sales levels, going to see sales dry up as their customer base has already acquired the items that they need, often ahead of time because of the cut in prices?
Either the marketing plans that these companies have is based on some solid long term plan unknown to me, or before the end of the year we will see major problems in both the retail stores and the manufacturers that supply them.
I hope this doesn’t happen, but it really does scare me.
My fall back plan ideally would be to work for myself and to eek out a living on the internet, between blogging and earning income from affiliate programs, but obtaining the knowledge to do that is not easy. I have been trying for more than 10 years (on and off) and still haven’t acquired the necessary skills. Maybe 2009 is the year when I have to quit procrastinating and start seriously looking at finding alternative forms of income, just for my own security.
So what are your plans for 2009? Are you actively looking to supplement your income, already self-employed and living off the Internet, or are you just keeping your fingers crossed that nothing bad happens with your employment status this year?