College-educated Blacks have less job security
I’d like to follow up on a post from Brandon from last week on the gender gap in Black students with undergraduate degrees.
Are we protected by our education?
In the midst of this economic downturn, it only makes sense that people take refuge in education. This is especially the thinking of minorities and disadvantaged people, and rightfully so. “Education,” they say, “is a great equalizer.”
This may indeed be the case for entering the workforce. However, some recent, alarming data seems to indicate that having that degree isn’t helping Black folks keep their jobs.
What does this mean?
Make no mistake: you have more security being educated than you do being under-educated. That being said, we may need a little more nuance in our thinking about the whole “get educated to get employed” approach that most of us take to education. As my mentor & friend Calvin Mackie often says, “if it only makes dollars, then it doesn’t make sense.”
In this time where cornerstone companies like GM are entering bankruptcy and promising to come out “leaner” (read: they’re going to fire/lay off/buy out a lot of people), we have to protect ourselves. The harsh truth is that even good people are being let go.
What can we do?
Here are some things we can all do to survive & thrive in this economy:
- Add as much value as you can.
At your job, do what you can to over-achieve. This goes without saying typically, but it’s especially important now. This is good because a record of over-achievement will serve your career well.
- Keep your resume up to date.
Even if you’re not looking for work, re-visit your resume every 6 months. Have you had interesting projects or achievements on the job? Have you attended trainings or acquired some type of certification? Promotion? Adding these things as they happen ensures that you’re never unprepared. Consider creating a profile on LinkedIn. (For an example, look at my profile).
- Build transferable skills outside of your day job.
Try to read, practice, volunteer and/or consult in areas of interest or expertise you have outside of your primary work. If there are things that you enjoy or are good at or want to learn that could have monetary value, grow these skills. After you’ve done some work on them, add them to your resume.
- Network to net work.
The people you know can and will help you get the work you need and want. The old saying is “network or not work,” but I like this more positive, proactive version. We all know people that know people that are [at least] tangentially connected to whatever you want to pursue professionally. What we fail to realize is that they are often more than willing to talk with us, offer advice, and help us take our next step in our careers.
I’m sure many of you have tips we all can benefit from to help us find and keep jobs in this day and age. Please share them.
One Love. One II.