By Marty NemkoTimes are going to get tougher. But as the saying goes, in crisis, there is opportunity. Here are those I see most likely in 2008.
From Adventure Nation to Caution Nation.
We’ve been a nation of cowboys, from Buffalo Bill to George Bush. But having been gored in Vietnam, by the dot.com bomb, and now in Iraq, America will be pulling in its reins. So, unless there’s a significant terrorist attack on U.S. soil, government jobs will be less plentiful in defense and greater in domestic programs.
Americans are also growing more cautious because of our overtaxed health care system--Errors by health-care providers cause over 100,000 deaths each year. And if, as is likely, a Democrat is elected president, the 47 million uninsured residents will likely have to be served by the same number of health care providers in its already overwhelmed system. People scared of that government-run health care system will turn, for example, to fee-for-service clinics in malls, boutique doctors, and, more than ever, be more likely to eat healthy, exercise, and utilize the Internet for self-care information. Job growth should be strong in those areas, as well as, of course, in the government health care system.
From Consuming to Conserving.
People won’t be able to consume even if they wanted to: Asia is ascendant as the U.S. declines, leading ever more experts to predict U.S. recession along with further decline in the dollar’s value as China and other countries convert greenbacks to other currencies. American’s home equity is declining and their debt climbing at the same time as more people’s jobs are part-timed, temped, or offshored. Gartner, a global consulting firm, predicts yet 40% more offshoring in 2008. Such seemingly non-offshoreable careers as surgeon are vulnerable--ever more Americans are becoming medical tourists: getting their surgeries done in China or India, at a fraction of the cost. Even jobs requiring innovation and creativity--which long have been touted as offshore-resistant, are no longer so safe: Asian universities are now focusing on creating a more innovative next generation. Good news. Remaining are a good number of offshore-resistant careers with high job satisfaction and reasonable job market outlook, for example, optometrist, biomedical equipment repairperson, clergyperson, and firefighter.
Even if people could spend big, many are
realizing they’re unlikely to shop their way to contentment.
Instead, they’re believing that giving is the new receiving,
and that the life well-led comes less from designer labels than
from a spiritual practice, whether it be environmentalism,
traditional religion, or non-church-based spirituality such as yoga
Jobs should grow in spirituality-related endeavors such as life coaching and yoga instruction, and in anything related to the environment, from ecotourism to fuel-cell research. However, I predict that after a big run-up in spending in 2008, subsequent spending to stop global warming will be lower than has elsewhere been predicted. Hundreds of scientists, including Richard Lindzen, MIT’s Alfred Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, are skeptical that global warming is worth fighting: citing studies, for example, that the average global temperature has risen only 0.8 degrees Celsius since 1880 and that global warming has stopped since 2000 despite the fact that the amount of C02 in the air has been increasing. A new (Dec. 20, 2007) report by the U.S. Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works reported “over 400 prominent scientists from more than two dozen countries recently voiced significant objections to major aspects of the so-called "-‘consensus’ on man-made global warming.” Spending on global warming will also slow because, while it was easy to embrace the concept of stopping global warming, when the public starts to realize its financial and quality-of-life costs weighed against the uncertain benefits and the other uses to which the money could be spent, companies, governments, and individuals will start to cut back their climate-change spending. After all, 20 years ago, the environmentalists were insisting that acid rain would end life as we know it…until they admitted they were wrong. In the 1970s, cover stories in Time and Newsweek warned of impending doom because of global cooling.
From Corporate-Driven to Government and Media-Driven.
For decades, the U.S. economy and public
values have largely been driven by the military-industrial complex
and its advertising machine. Government spending is expected to
rise from an already mammoth 32% of GDP in 2005 to 50% in
The takeaway: consider a career in government. Not only will hiring be strong, government work may offer the best deal for non-stars: job security, lots of holiday, sick, and vacation days, full benefits and retirement, plus salaries that compare ever better with the private sector. Companies, to survive in the global economy, must control costs. Government is under less such pressure. It has been paid, for example, for $85 hammers and a $400 million “bridge to nowhere.”
Too, the media, which in earlier decades, perceived an almost sacred responsibility to strive for fairness and balance, now--well off the editorial page--routinely promulgate a liberal agenda. This profoundly affects which initiatives get funded--for example, nonprofit ventures and government programs, especially on the environment and for the poor. This is yet another factor leading to increased job opportunities in the government.
From High Tech to Clean Tech and Biotech.
Of course, high tech isn’t going away,
just ceding its preeminence to the aforementioned clean/green tech
and to biotech. Three decades of basic biotech research is finally
yielding clinical applications: one-size-fits-all diagnosis and
treatment will soon give way to individualized approaches based on
your genome. (You can now decode much of your personal genome for
under $1,000. Just a few years ago, it cost $1 million).
From White Christian America to Latino and Islamic America.
Indeed, demography is destiny, and the Latino
and Islamic immigration rates and birth rates vastly exceed the
white rates. This will create large job growth for Islamic and
Latino language and culture experts who will be used in developing
and marketing products and services for these markets, and in the
government sector, especially in health care, education, and
From Expert-Driven to Citizen-Driven.
Even major media such as CNN and Fox News are increasingly airing citizen journalists’ blog posts, photos and video clips. The staff writer is becoming an endangered species, as media outlets increasingly use freelancers. Even the content expert can’t count on getting paid well. The power of crowds often yields higher-quality information on Wikis such as Wikipedia than is typically found in magazine and website stories. Takeaway: Journalism, never a sure route to a middle-class living, is becoming ever riskier.
From Live to E-
Of course, in commerce, the live to e- trend has been accelerating for a decade, but now, ever more people are shopping online. Sure, it may be pleasant to feel the fabric but gas prices, traffic, parking, limited choices, lack of good advice, and difficulty of price-comparison-shopping, make online shopping a usually smarter choice.
How to capitalize? Get a job at a category-killer online business, for example, Blue Nile in wedding rings, or Amazon in, well, just about everything else. Or, go for the long tail: Start an online business in a tiny niche ignored by nearly everyone else, for example, peacocks or first-edition Elizabethan books. Wal-Mart won’t be competing with you.
The move to e goes beyond commerce. As Facebook and LinkedIn continue to grow, more social and business networking will occur online. And ever extending WiFi and mobile videoconferencing will make more businesses decide to hold meetings virtually rather than buy a bunch of plane tickets merely so participants can sit in the same hotel room. Too, groups of friends will use mobile videoconferencing as a way to hang out virtually. Job growth should be strong in companies involved in WiMax (extends wireless connections beyond hotspots.) and videophone companies such as Apple, Nokia, RIM (Blackberry), Samsung, and Verizon.
From Retirees to Elder Workers. Because they can’t afford to or because they want to feel useful, ever more people in their 60s and 70s want to keep working, at least part-time. Because they’ve been working so long, much of which in an era in which most jobs were full-time/benefited, this group has considerable disposable income. Job growth should be good in creating recreational and aging-related products, for example, time shares, elder housing, home retrofitting, and long-term care insurance.
From Maligned Men to Fed-Up Men.
Turn on the TV and you’re likely to see
greedy guys and doofus dads being ridiculed by wise women. Walk
into any supermarket and, even though men die six years earlier
than women, you’ll see endless products donating profits to
stop breast cancer but never to stop early heart attack, which
kills many more men, earlier. Men do an ever larger percentage of
the child care (Now up to 75% at the same time as they work, on
average, more hours outside the home than do mothers) yet are
continually accused of being unfair. In divorce settlements, even
many educated women claim inability to find work that pays more
than child care, thereby forcing the husbands they divorced to
continue supporting them for years. The reverse rarely occurs. Ever
more men are getting fed up. Perhaps 2008 is the year the media
takes up their righteous cause.
The San Francisco Bay Guardian named Dr. Nemko the “The Bay Area’s Best Career Coach.” 500+ of his published writings, including chapters from his book, Cool Careers for Dummies, are free on www.martynemko.com.
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