Well shucks.  I was waiting to post this collection of articles on a bright sunny day in Seattle when the Mariners had won a big game and the stock market was up, but I’ve abandoned hope that these events are going to coincide together any time soon, so I’m just going to go ahead and pull the trigger, regardless…

While I’ve found that many career counselors (understandably) choose to only say/share very positive, uplifting, and encouraging things about the economy and the job market, I’ve always tried to provide a more “balanced” perspective and make sure my clients are fully apprised of both the good AND the not-so-good trends taking place out there.  To me, this is the only respectful way to operate when you’re working with adults facing important choices about the future.  And for right or wrong, my belief is that knowing “as much truth as possible” about things leads to the clearest thinking and most prudent decisions.

So on the heels of some of the positive news and job growth we’ve experienced so far this year, I’m passing along a series of three links to some very well-written articles that AREN”T quite as optimistic about where things are heading.  As I said in the subject line, if you’re going through a rough patch in your job hunt or have been having a crappy day so far, it’s probably best to skip these articles – or save them for reading later, right after you’ve found an extra $20 bill in your pants.  But for those who are open to some deep, unvarnished thinking about the current/future dynamics of the labor market, you might find these articles pretty thought-provoking, as I did.

1) How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America
Article available here; written by Don Beck and published in The Atlantic Magazine

Synopsis: The job market for new graduates is extremely bleak right now, but making matters worse, new statistical evidence suggests that young professionals who enter the market during a time of recession can often expect to see a lifetime of lower earnings as a result.

2) Meet the Unemployable Man
Article available here; written by David Wessel and published in The Wall Street Journal

Synopsis: While everyone who is unemployed is facing some level of struggle right now, the hardest-hit category is comprised of middle-aged men who don’t have a college degree — and even when the market rebounds, the professions that traditionally have employed such workers are unlikely to come back.

3) What’s the “Next Big Thing” in the Job Market?
Article available here; written by Dr. Ira Wolfe of the Perfect Labor Storm 2.0 Blog

Synopsis: The job/industry growth projections we get bombarded with constantly by the government and the Department of Labor are basically witchcraft — and hindsight shows that such forecasts are often wildly inaccurate, making them not very useful for career planning purposes.

So there you have it.  A collection of very thoughtful (but not very encouraging) articles about some of the trends taking place out there.  Hope you “doubled down” on your antidepressants before reading through them!  Just to end things on a semi-upbeat note, however, I’d encourage you all to put your feet up for a moment and watch the video here featuring one of my all-time favorite Saturday Night Live characters, Debbie Downer.  If you’ve never seen one of these hilarious skits, you’re in for a treat.  Debbie has a talent for making the worst possible news seem, well, pretty darn funny!