As I write this, the latest unemployment numbers show the national unemployment rate at 10.4% for February 2010. In my home state of Alabama, it's 11.1%. According to the Christian Science Monitor (Jan. 8, 2010), there are currently 15.3 million Americans out of work. Of those, 6.1 million have been without a job longer than 6 months. I have just picked up a temp job with the Census bureau, but until mid-April I am included in each and every one of those statistics. It's been 18 months and counting up to now.
I have refused to be a victim up to this point. I have started an eBay business that is growing monthly and should provide a very nice side income once I get back to a full time position. I am also in the process of launching a voiceover and audio production business. In the meantime, I pray hard and search hard hoping for a return to a profession for which I have a great passion......radio. There are thousands like me who share that same passion and are having to watch from the sidelines. No one in the business has asked me to be their spokesperson, but my purpose here is to put some faces with the unemployment statistics and give you a good look at the current state of radio. You could take out all references to "radio" in the articles to which I am about to link you and put in just about any other industry in this country.
The best illustration of the current job market came as I was jump starting my own search in Nashville a few weeks back at the Country Radio Seminar. I was staying at a hotel about a mile away from the downtown Convention Center where the seminar was based. About halfway through my mile long commute each morning was a well-dressed guy standing in front of McDonald's with a cardboard sign that read "Finance Grad Needs A Job". It was a daily reminder that I'm not alone.....in unemployment or in the passion I have for my chosen line of work.
Over the past few weeks, Phyllis Stark of Radio-info.com has done an excellent three-part series of columns chronicling many folks just like me who are also itching to get back in the game. I have run the gamut of emotions during this stretch just like these folks, and I hope you'll take the time to take a look at them.......
Read them in order, and you'll discover the happy ending I still believe in!
If you're reading this and in radio, I would like to issue you a challenge. First and foremost, I hope you thank God every day that you are still able to do what you love and love what you do! I know you know at least one person currently looking for work who would be an asset to a radio station and group. MAKE the time to make one phone call or send one email on their behalf to a higher up in your station group, a good consultant, or someone with another company for whom you think that particular person might be a great fit. That's all it takes to set off a chain of events that could get that very talented person back to doing what he or she does best! I know you're busier than ever, but I also know that I'm only asking for a few minutes of your time. You can spare it, and it will go a long way toward getting people back to work and making our business great again!
There's enough negativity and cynicism at the moment. I refuse to subscribe to it, and with the help of those still in the business, we can rebuild things from the inside out!!