Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lucy Kellaway on unemployment

Although many economic indicators around the world are at their worst measure since the Great Depression, there is one that beats them all. The Bank of England's interest rate has sunk to its lowest level in over three hundred years.*

Meanwhile, the ultra dry Lucy Kellaway, financial/management commentator for the BBC and Financial Times, gives her take on advice for employment and unemployment (reported here in the Irish Times). As always, she's well worth a read**.

She reports with great bemusement the three tips from the Harvard Business Review on how to keep your job: act like a survivor, show empathy to your boss, and be a good "corporate citizen". Her response: it would make your job so loathsome that you wouldn't mind losing it.

Kellaway herself looks at being unemployed. She derides the standard philosophies of "networking like crazy", assessing strengths and weaknesses, and beefing up one's web presence: "It is too late to do sensible things".

Her thoughts on four things needed:
- a tidy pile of savings
- character ("backbone and level-headedness")
- perseverance (it may take time and shoe leather)
- luck

[However, in contrast to her also recommending a holiday, I would suggest a different change: training. The world is constantly changing, and such a time is ideal for improving skills and employability.]

*Still not the evolutionary upheaval of capitalism outlined by Marx. Globally, capitalist development clearly hasn't yet run out of expansion room.

**Her latest annual awards for management twaddle give a good read too. Her award for Best Term for Sacking People: "upgrade", as in "we're going to upgrade you: allow you to move on so you can upgrade your career elsewhere".

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