Many people who are out of work or looking for a new job feel stuck. Everything they hear on the news is negative. Whether the topic is business or politics, the news never seems to be good, which is odd. Over the past couple of weeks, the following has occurred.
The S & P 500 has hit record levels.
Gas prices are down and headed lower.
Hiring was over 200,000 for October.
These stories, if they are discussed, are overwhelmed by negative noise. I’m not looking for happy talk news. But reporters who claim to need to tell “both sides” don’t tell us that there is anything positive happening in our economy.
How does this negative drum beat affect working people? If all we hear is negative news, we are less motivated to look for work. We apply for fewer jobs, if we apply at all. It’s hard to get up the energy to network if there’s no hope. If we get interviews, we approach them in a negative mood, certain we’ll never get the job.
Be realistic about the job search. That means taking both the good and the bad into consideration. My first suggestion to get around the bad news mood disorder would be to take most news programs for what they are: Entertainment. They focus more on personalities and hot topics than real factors that affect our lives. For example, the unemployment number might be discussed as a negative trend, but few news shows discuss what lies behind the number or what we can do to improve the situation.
The second thing I would recommend is to keep your situation separate from bigger issues. Most of what we hear on the news is macro economics. The success or failure of your job search has no impact on that subject, and the scary numbers have little to do with your fate. Stay focused on your life and what you want to achieve. Listen to the news, but do so with a sense of perspective – and a sense of humor.
I’m working from home today, so I’m able to listen to the radio more than on a typical. What am I hearing? More and more about the royal baby and Anthony’s wiener. What’s the news on Detroit? It's bankrupt and there’s no other choice but to cut worker’s pensions. What’s the news in Chicago, a city that had its bond rating slashed? The city’s broke, and we must cut workers’ pensions. Meanwhile, here’s the latest on the royal baby and Anthony’s wiener.
The corporate media, better defined as the info-tainment industry, doesn’t focus on important matters and go below the surface. The budget problems in Detroit and Chicago have resolutions that are not discussed by shallow reporter who look like models. There is also no examination of the real winners and losers. When pensioners are asked to take reduced benefits, who wins? Investors and the bankers who care for their money as if it were a royal baby.
Retired workers and current employees that paid into pension plans expected to have security in retirement. They worked thinking that retirement was part of their compensation, not a resource owned by the city that could used to pay its debts. The problem here is not simply a matter of “resources,” as the Emergency Manager of Detroit put it. People’s lives are on the line, and we need to understand these stories with that in mind.
Government officials, bankers, and the investor class do not care about these people. They only know Return on Investment. They also know that most people will not pay attention to this story. They want the sensational story that’s easy to understand. Working people and the middle class need to wake up, or their wages – present and future – will be the next target.
P.S., Economist Dean Baker compares Detroit to an organization that the government bailed out, Goldman Sachs. Needless to say, the rich get richer.