When Unemployed Business Economists Call

By Casson, John J. | Business Economics, October 1990 | Go to article overview

When Unemployed Business Economists Call


Casson, John J., Business Economics


Unemployed business economists Often call on fellow economists for assistance in obtaining a new position. The author offers several points to keep in mind when responding to such calls. He then suggests appropriate steps to take in order to be of assistance. Helping someone is a rewarding experience, and remember that the individual you help may reciprocate at some future time.

BUSINESS ECONOMISTS are receiving an increasing number of phone calls from their unemployed colleagues. One reason for this development is that the market for business economists has become extremely tight. Many positions have been eliminated and hiring has been curtailed in an attempt to contain corporate overhead costs. Anecdotal evidence suggests that a greater number of unemployed business economists are applying for a smaller number of positions than ever before.

The increasing popularity of "networking" is another reason why a growing number of unemployed business economists are turning to the telephone in search of employment. Networking can be defined as communicating with anyone who might provide assistance, or know of others who could possibly help, in an employment search. Outplacement firms, career counselors and job hunting guides argue that it is the most effective method of obtaining a new position. Unfortunately, many of these calls are unproductive, not because business economists are uncaring but because they do not realize how well-positioned they are to assist others in obtaining work.

INEPT RESPONSE

As difficult as it is to request assistance in finding a job, those initiating usually are more at ease than those receiving networking calls. This difference is understandable, for the callers are able to utilize instructions provided by job hunting manuals and outplacement services and usually have considerable experience in initiating such contacts. Uncertain how to respond, many recipients find such calls frustrating ordeals to be avoided or quickly terminated. This attitude is unfortunate as well as unnecessary. It doesn't take much of an effort for employed business economists to increase their effectiveness and, as a consequence, their ease in assisting the unemployed.

Anyone contacted by someone who is out of work should keep three points in mind. First and foremost is the fundamental purpose of such calls. Those phoning are not seeking an audience for a tale of woe. They are requesting assistance in solving a crucial problem. Because of the serious difficulties they are experiencing in obtaining work, they are turning to their professional colleagues for help in resuming their careers.

The second point to remember is that, without the help of others, the callers are likely to find it extremely difficult to obtain a new position, largely because of the widespread discrimination they encounter in the labor market. Although corporations have become more willing to discharge executives in recent years, their attitude towards those that are out of work has not changed. Preference is still given to the employed when management positions are being filled. Furthermore, many companies are reluctant to hire older individuals. Consequently, jobless executives - especially those with extensive experience - need all the assistance they can get.

The third point to keep in mind when contacted by the unemployed is that the majority lost their jobs through no fault of their own. Employment security, once taken for granted at most U.S. corporations, is on the decline. Most discharges are a consequence of impersonal corporate decisions. Many highly qualified business economists are out of work because of staff cutbacks that are part of corporate cost reduction drives. Company reorganizations, leadership changes, mergers, divestitures, and office relocations and closings are also swelling the ranks of the unemployed.

CONSTRUCTIVE REACTION

How should one respond to a call from a colleague who is out of work? …

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