The Dream Job

‘Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.’

November 12, 2012

Today’s college students are enthusiastic, hopeful, innovative, curious—and nervous about their job prospects, I discovered recently.

I was honored to participate in a “career night” discussion with established and aspiring information professionals at UW-Madison’s graduate school of library and information studies.

It was a lively, interactive exchange. I particularly enjoyed conversation with a young woman in a subsequent small group chat about dream jobs.

She has good basic training and practical experience. She also has a passion. Her dream job is that of Comic Book Librarian—definitely a niche market.

“Do I just forget this? Chances of me landing this job are slim. What do I do?” She has a blog on the topic, has been in extensive communication with those in the field, and I assumed she has her own astounding personal collection of comics.

I simply asked, “Do you like doing it?” Her enthusiastic response: “Yes!”

“Then do it!” I encouraged.

We may not find immediate gratification as we walk our career paths, but it’s important to set goals and fuel our passions as we go.

“Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity,” Oprah Winfrey once said.

Are your employees engaged? Do they pursue interests to benefit you both? Are managerial styles, recruitment practices, and retention strategies aligned with employee expectations?

‘The readiness is all’—Shakespeare

Next Year’s Recruiting Headlines, Trends, and Practices” are outlined here. Are you ready to strategically invite future employees?

Some suggestions for the forward-thinking recruiter:

Note also “Social Referrals Save Companies Time and Money,” from Workforce.

One-third of recruiters indicate referrals are important, and social media facilitates this process. “The best companies take advantage of social media sites to talk about the corporate culture as well as the jobs, and they make it as easy as possible for employees to share opportunities across their network.”

Might you realize cost savings using social media as a recruitment tool?

Once you have new hires, perhaps you can consider how to “Stop Driving Your Employees Nuts.” This SmartBlog on Leadership article says, “organizations can realize…greater return on their investments…(in) isolating and eliminating the five most significant de-motivators and impediments to employees joyfully and fully contributing their talents…”

The five demotivators are unclear expectations, underutilization, unnecessary rules and processes, wasted time, and persistent change.

Instead, focus on “9 Characteristics of Daring Leadership,” another SmartBlog post consisting of an excerpt from “Care to Dare: Unleashing Astonishing Potential through Secure Base Leadership.” It explains that secure leaders will remain calm, accept employees’ individuality, recognize  potential for growth, listen and ask questions, “deliver a powerful message,” and focus on positives.

Other important leadership skills include encouragement of risk taking, an ability to motivate, and providing an accessible presence to others.

‘Diligence is the mother of good fortune’–Miguel de Cevantes

Job seekers need to be patient in weathering economic conditions. Research findings this week indicate economic circumstances have an impact.

New graduates should note the “Nonprofit Sector is Growing Faster than Rest of the Economy.”  “Even during and after the recession, from 2007 to 2010, nonprofit employment grew 4% and wages increased 6.5% while they decreased in the business sector by 8.4% and 8%, respectively,” according to the Urban Institute. Employment and wages for government employees grew a respective 1% and 4.8%.

Congress explores the labor situation in “Unemployment: Issues in the 112th Congress”   by the Congressional Research Service. “This report considers three policy issues: whether to take additional measures to increase jobs, what measure might be most effective, and how job creation proposals should be financed.”

The report addresses deficit finance as a stimulus measure and determines, “The choice of financing affects both the macroeconomic impact and the cost-benefit tradeoff of the policy proposal. If such an effective stimulus package could be designed, it would have the advantage of not exacerbating the challenges of a growing debt.”

Overall, the 7.9% unemployment rate, as well as the number of unemployed people (12.3 million) remained essentially unchanged in October following declines in September, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ “Employment Situation Summary.” This report examines employment in various sectors and indicates that Hurricane Sandy “had no discernable effect on the employment and unemployment data for October.”

Another angle on employment trends is found in “Hit Hard but Bouncing Back: The Employment of Immigrants during the Great Recession and the Recovery,” by the Urban Institute.

Immigrants are an important and growing component of our workforce. “With an employment gain of 3.7% between 2010 and 2012, immigrants saw solid gains in comparison to the weak employment growth of 1.5% for natives.”

This interesting study further reveals, “Among U.S.-born workers, only those with Bachelor’s degree or more gained employment.” However, “By mid-2012, the employment of both immigrants and U.S.-born workers were still below the pre-recession level.”

Lora Bray

Lora Bray is a research librarian at CUNA.

Some good news on the economic front appears in “Bankruptcy Filings Down in Fiscal Year 2012.” According to the U.S. Courts, bankruptcy cases filed in federal courts for fiscal-year 2012 declined 14% from fiscal-year 2011, from 1.4 million to 1.2 million. In-depth bankruptcy statistics include business and non-business filings.

I hope my friends at the UW find success and that they follow their dreams with the understanding that high hopes may not be immediately realized. Our economy is, perhaps, a strike against them.

But conscientious employers can still help make dream jobs come true with innovative recruitment strategies, providing a challenging work environment, and encouraging employees to stretch beyond their comfort zones.

Perhaps in meeting mutual goals, employers and employees alike could benefit from the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”