Designer labels have mastered the marketing arena, jacking up their prices and limiting their product line to a few featured items, giving their customers an aura of luxury, wealth, and success each time they make a purchase. It’s the very label that sets the tone for buyer behavior.
Similarly, everyday I see people adhere to the not-so-prestigious labels society has given them: the unemployed and the underemployed. These labels create a flood of negative energy in the minds of job seekers and become a self-fulfilling prophecy to those who fall under them. Since so many individuals are statistically deemed “unemployed” or “underemployed,” these labels, reinforced by society, set the tone for how they go about their lives and enables the “I can’t get a job” mindset. Needless to say, these people do little, if anything, to assess their situation and come up with a solution to change. With the invisible hand of the economy to blame and millions of fellow citizens to point to as example, these people feel trapped in a recurring cycle of career instability fueled by low self-esteem.
This self-creation process has bludgeoned the chances of shrinking middle-class America, which is making less money than in 1989. Those few that refuse to be a part of society’s negative labels are going back to school to add to their skill sets and taking part-time or internship roles beneath their usual pay grade to gain valuable experience in their desired field. But with the hype of a bad economy and high unemployment rates, the successful efforts of these courageous few are ignored.
As 2014 commences, now is the perfect time to reinvent your label, to shed the negative self-talk and change your professional outlook. A positive self-portrayal is the foundation for a better future. Instead of being simply unemployed, you are seeking out a new long-term position, one that gives you the experience of a new company culture, product or industry. Allow yourself the hope of a great opportunity that will let you to do the kind of work you love or make your favorite hobby an occupational choice. Your calling may come to you in a non-traditional manner, so be open-minded to all possibilities.
To the underemployed: You are gaining new skills through your current part-time or volunteer role. Leverage those new skills and contacts to get a foot in the door at your desired firm or industry.
To the unemployed: If you’ve been out of work for a while, it’s time to dust off the skills you have in your toolbox and exercise and improve them to change your current status. Check out the occupational specialties in high demand and see if any interest you. Many people make the mistake of swearing off growing specialties based on an old-fashioned label. Working for a manufacturer is not the sweatshop lifestyle it once was. A skilled tradesman, for example, is in incredibly high demand right now.
Ask yourself how your beliefs have impacted the way you view our new economy. It’s hard to believe that simply adopting a positive outlook can open a whole new world, but I can tell you from decades of experience, it can. It’s a domino effect. Changing your thoughts will change your beliefs, which will change your actions and in turn, your outcomes.
Happy New Year and Happy New You!