Business confidence in the job market gets a lot of press. But what about the confidence of actual human beings? Just how optimistic are actual human beings around the world when it comes to finding work when there are no jobs?
Today, Gallup released results of a survey of 146 countries around the world. The question; “Thinking about the job situation in the city or area where you live today, would you say that it is now a good time or a bad time to find a job?”
Just one simple question. For everyone. Asking for a snapshot of an opinion right now. No pundits or blame. (At least for a moment or two) Just the numbers. And the results?
The countries most optimistic about finding work are, with the exception of Singapore, all developing countries.
% Saying "Good Time To Find Work"
Saudi Arabia: 69
Gallup reports 6 of the 10 countries least confident about finding work were European. In Greece, 96% of the people thought this was a bad time to find work. In Ireland, it was 93%. Pretty much everyone.
Among the world’s 10 largest economies, the United States was wedged firmly in the middle of the pack. 26% of those of us here in the US are thinking, “Yep. Now is a good time for finding work.” Brazil leads the people’s confidence train with 54%. While Italy brings up the rear with 4%.
Worldwide? Across all 146 countries? 33% of all of us think now is a good time to find work.
So what does it all mean? I suppose we could analyze or blame.
Or we could do something different.
As what we’re talking about is real people, all of us, across the world---I think first of my Cousin Mike.
Turns out that moving to Thailand was a pretty smart move. Thailand is one of the most optimistic places for finding work in the world. Like all of the countries, this doesn’t mean that the person will find work. It means they think they will. Like Mike.
Mike came to mind this weekend as I was working, driving through Evanston, Illinois where we all grew up. And in the shadow of the big football stadium, I passed the old white shack, “Mustard’s Last Stand,” where we’d all go for hot dogs and burgers. Sometimes, a quick dinner when my aunt was working late. Mustard’s was still there. Still crowded. That place where we all grew up.
But Mustard’s and the memories were all that were left.
All of us part of a much bigger world now. Now Mike can have his morning coffee looking at the sunrise over the ocean, standing on the sands of a beach in Thailand. He can move at a pace, a rhythm that suits him. He can be in love. Live in a country of civilized health care. Work in the restaurant/store; sometimes work the farm, sometimes teach English.
Picturing Cousin Mike on the beach in Thailand sipping coffee, cooking, farming, and teaching; it becomes clear that in a world where there are no jobs; perhaps what’s needed most is a new way to think about finding work.
A way of thinking that begins NOT with looking for a job, but instead with looking for a need. Looking for a need you can fill.
If it sounds like semantics---read it again. Because it’s not a semantic difference. Looking for and finding a need can result in work even when there are no jobs. If it sounds simple, in some ways it is. But in some ways it’s unimaginably complicated.
Looking for a need you can fill. Imagine the confidence you'll have when you FIND it!
That, and your own beach to stand and watch the sunrise, drink your coffee, and be confident you live in a place where you can find work.
“Finding Work When There Are No Jobs.” By Roger Wright. Will be released January 2013.
Photo Credit: gnarlysunset dot com.