It was about this time yesterday that I received a call from a friend. His job had just been eliminated and he was looking for help finding work.

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Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon occurrence these days. In the past month or so, I know of four colleagues that lost their jobs.

And this is supposed to be a time of economic recovery? It really got me thinking about the employment situation in the USA in general and the procurement job market in particular.

The employment situation in the USA has been rough since December of 2007 – widely acknowledged as the month “The Great Recession” began. I know some people who have been out of work for over a year.

And the scary part? There really is no imminent end in sight to the tight job market.

What will change that will suddenly create the millions of jobs needed to bring the unemployment rate down to a more historically normal level? I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of anything that is about to happen that will have any significant effect.

According to a recent release from the United States’ Bureau of Labor Statistics, ”the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) was little changed at 6.6 million” in July 2010 compared to June 2010. So, considering these numbers and the absence of any light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, if you’re unemployed, you may be unemployed for a long, long period of time.

By all means, work your tail off to get a job, but be prepared for the very real possibility that it may be a year or more before you’re on anyone’s payroll again. It used to be a rule of thumb that families should keep an amount of money that’s equal to three months’ of their expenses in a “rainy day account” that would be tapped into if one member of the family lost his or her job. In this “new normal” economy, a better number seems to be about 18 months.

In our culture where today’s workforce doesn’t sock away money like their parents did – hey, who can save when there are iPads, sports tickets, and 2010 vehicles to buy? – many people simply won’t have that kind of savings to back them up. The natural effect of this is that people start accepting positions that they are overqualified for – college graduates with 10+ years of experience start accepting entry-level professional positions.

While employers used to shy away from hiring the overqualified because of the fear of losing the person the moment a higher paying job came along, I am seeing employers not care about that so much today. There are so few jobs out there competing for these people.

I believe that the less education one has, the more difficult it will be for one to secure good-paying work soon in this environment. So, I have a recommendation.

I say use the time while unemployed to upgrade your education in some way. You might not get a job for 18 months, during which time you could have finished that degree you started or gotten an advanced degree if you already have a degree. You’ll be able to be more employable when the job market does eventually bounce back.

I can hear the common response now: “But, Charles, if I’m not working, I obviously don’t have the money to pay tuition!”

I totally understand. A year of college can cost, what, $15,000 or $20,000? And that is just at the less expensive schools.

An alternative would be to earn your SPSM® Certification, which would only set you back as little as $1,149. The average person earns the SPSM® Certification in seven months and, if you are unemployed and therefore have much time on your hands, you will probably earn it in much less time.

I think that the important thing is to do something with your education during your period of unemployment. If you go on an interview for a purchasing job 18 months from now and the hiring manager sees that you don’t have a purchasing certification or you never finished that degree despite being idle for such a long time, how ambitious are you going to appear?

Something to ponder…

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM® Certification Online At
Next Level Purchasing . com

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3 is an internationally-recognized business expert, legendary procurement thought leader, award-winning entrepreneur, and provocative blogger. Charles founded the Next Level Purchasing Association in 2000, oversaw its incredible growth, and successfully led the organization to its acquisition by the Certitrek Group in 2016. He continues to blog and provide advisory services for the NLPA on a part-time basis as he incubates his upcoming business innovations. Charles is also the co-author of the wildly popular, groundbreaking book, "The Procurement Game Plan: Winning Strategies & Techniques For Supply Management Professionals."

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