ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

Online Edition - November 2001


Issue Highlight — Actions That Might Matter
- In Actions That Might Matter, Peter Block challenges us to rethink our well-intended and often automatic urge during difficult times to just "Do Something!" Think instead, he asks, about authentic change, shifting consciousness, relationships, and reconciliation.

 In This Issue...
Global Quality from Johnsonville, WI, to Durban, South Africa, with Jennifer James
The Drugs Are in the Mail
Virtually Amazing
Why Can’t We All Just Get Along
What Did You Just Say?

Peter Block Column
Views for a Change
Brief Cases

Return to NFC Index

   Brief Cases        Highlights of the Latest in Business News

                                    ne From Column B                                             

Looking to the Future

Today, it’s news about massive layoffs—but what will tomorrow hold in store? Of course, everyone would appreciate a reprieve from the relentless news of a slowing economy and unstable times, but according to government predictions, we better watch what we wish for. While it may still be a good amount of time away, according to The New York Times, current projections demonstrate that by the year 2008 the gap between the number of jobs available and the shortage of workers to fill them could grow to 6 million. The peak time of the shortage is expected to truly hit home between the year 2015 and 2025, when as many as 60 million workers will reach retirement!

   According to the Times, occupations that typically employ older Americans will be hit the hardest, listing among them construction, inspection, and secondary school teachers. So what will happen in the coming years as the number of qualified workers continues to diminish?

   For workers, many may find opportunity in the fields that have been left short-staffed. The news may not be too hopeful if there is no one there to take advantage of these opportunities. According to the article, if workers can’t be found many companies may be forced to move production overseas.

Thanks Anyway

Although they may mean well, many companies’ efforts to ease laid-off employees’ difficulties while searching for alternative employment is going unappreciated. While it is a popular technique, bringing in career coaches and outplacement firms appears not to be worth the trouble—especially in the dot-com industry.

  In an article posted recently on, a San Francisco newspaper reported that a recent survey found nearly half of respondents found these services to be “not helpful at all.” The article goes on to report that, “44 percent said that resumé writing assistance did not help them at all.” On the same note, 56 percent felt the stress counseling failed as well.

   In defense of her service, Sharon Gadberry, managing partner of TMG/Power Marketing, a San Francisco outplacement firm, notes, “A lot of these dot-commers are so used to working on a computer, they feel like they shouldn’t have to go to a counselor...There’s a feeling that, ‘I can write my resumé, for crying out loud.’

   “They don’t understand how many stupid mistakes an intelligent person can make in an interview.” One overwhelming problem stems from the difference between today’s economy and yesterday’s,“ Many people in this generation, got jobs so easily, they can’t imagine that the job search is that complicated,” Gadberry adds.

   Sadly, often by the time laid-off employees realize the help may be beneficial, it’s too late and the window to take advantage of the counseling has closed.

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