Career Thinking In Recessionary Times – Trying To Read The Curve

By | July 16, 2009

Many people would say having any source of income at this time is as much as you should expect, but if you are career rather than just job minded, this is no time to suspend your critical faculties.

Recessions are a form of economic change, a reordering of capital and (like war) an accelerator of innovation. Recessions also amplify business problems at the structural market level as well as on the individual company scale. Media is a good example of all these things at present.
There are profound changes going on in the newspaper sector, regional titles are closing through the onslaught of the internet, and changes in consumer habits (young people only read free newspapers, they get their news on line, PC and phone). Factor in the economy and you have a perfect storm. However in the UK, applications to study journalism are up 24% 2009 over 2008 (UCAS). Perhaps these putative writers see their future as bloggers, although the business model showing how that pays still has to be developed.

In Television its much the same, ITV are struggling to retain advertising spend, Channel 4 and 5 seeing themselves as subscale on their own. The latest thinking is the BBC should ‘top-slice’ its licence fee income to help out these broadcasters.

Streaming web content will develop a whole range of narrowcast options (and players) that will undermine satellite and terrestrial broadcasters’ offerings unless they find ways to complement and integrate. Copyright issues need to be transcended not fought over. The model of TV through your TV is on the way out.

A career in financial services anyone? Not only are there fewer jobs, the perception of Bankers has been severely tainted. When you see data showing people would trust their personal money with Tesco’s more than with banks you realise how much the world has changed.

People who do well in these times focus on one of two approaches. Either following their heart and do something they really want to do, putting material status, lifestyle issues etc. second, such as people who have left well paid city jobs and gone into teaching. Or people who see an emerging trend and follow it with real creativity and insight. There are many stories on the net of out of work software people designing games (apps) for the iphone and making six figure sums in a matter of months.

Career change is scary, dead-end careers are worse.

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