A working vacuum

Those who know me are already aware that my global position at Nokia was eliminated, and I am looking for my next employment opportunity.

I’m certainly not alone, as I mentioned in an article on open source software a few days ago.  People are being laid off in frightening numbers, even by companies that are doing relatively well (like Hewlett Packard, which is also freezing salaries after buying EDS) in this economic mess.  I believe most of the cuts to be an overreaction that will eventually backfire.  Read on.

That article also briefly mentioned US president-elect Barack Obama’s proposal to focus inward and create long overdue public works programs.  An official analysis shows how needed such efforts are, describing a potential of 1.8 million jobs (a bit less than the 2.5 million Obama has cited).

Jobs creation gives me hope, and I’m daring to wonder if there’s opportunity for my skills in there.  But what I’m really curious about is what such programs will do to the private sector.

There’s already evidence that, in many cases, companies are better off keeping their strategic talent through turbulent times and thus being prepared when the inevitable upswing arrives.  Instead, many are now engaging in a wholesale human dump.  If enough of those unemployed people are then sucked up by a federal civil works program, a shortage for the commercial sector may develop (in at least some areas) that in turn increases wages as companies later aggressively compete to lure castoff talent back.  Which of course drives up inflation.  Which leads me to suspect that any economic recovery may be ironically dampened and/or delayed a bit as the folly of mass layoffs boomerangs.

Time will tell.


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