With national figures still showing unemployment at around 13% (ouch), a lot of people are saying that the 'down economy' holds little hope for those seeking opportunities. I am not in the job market but I have a theory about this.
First of all, let's be very frank here - there is a huge change in the economy nowadays. There are more and more large corporations like WalMart selling things that used to be sold by small, local businesses. Those small, local businesses kept the money in the community creating decidedly middle-class owners. With more large corporations taking this role, the middle class is in decline.
Our community has a local grocery store that sells outstanding meat as its flagship product. There is a real butcher behind the counter who actually helps the customers and all the staff of the store treat you like family. Well, like friends. This is how things used to be.
The family owners of the store are decidedly middle-class from my perspective. They drive a decent car, they live in a comfortable house, they go on vacations and do what used to be normal stuff. Today with more and more people sending their money to corporate headquarters this 'normal lifestyle' is on the decline in the US. It's really, really sad. So the opportunity to be in the middle class lies with small businesses ownership. But you have to be a creative small business owner.
But back to the unemployment problem. If you're among the many, many people who are unemployed in this country I have a thought for you. If you were to volunteer somewhere like the Chamber of Commerce even one day a week this might solve your problem.
The Chamber of Commerce is where business leaders go to solve some of their problems and where involved businesses go to help make the community a better place. I volunteer at our local Chamber and it's been a great thing. I've been able to help make the community better (I hope) and it's earned me some business for several of my businesses. It also gives me a feel for what business leaders are saying and experiencing.
Volunteering at the Chamber will put the unemployed person in touch with the business leaders in the community. There are skills that one might learn by working there and there will not be the giant hole on one's resume that represents the time that they're not working. This hole is a huge factor in how a prospective employer looks at you and by showing that you were gainfully working, even in a volunteer position, this could be the difference between getting the job and not.
There is literally no disadvantage to volunteering at the local Chamber of Commerce. And most Chambers of Commerce are starving for volunteers. Chambers could do so much more with additional outstanding people making light work of projects and events and just the day-to-day operations. The community wins, and the person looking for work wins.
So, if you're looking for work or seeking to create your own opportunity, a stint at the local Chamber might be just the ticket to finding a job. And it couldn't hurt.