I had lunch with a friend today who is also a work colleague at another location. At one point during our discussion of work, she made the comment "I feel that if any of us knew what to do next, we would leave". This, coupled with the fact that my location has seen 12% of our professional staff willing to break their contract (and this is a profession where contracts are renewed on a yearly basis so most people with legitimate reasons to leave do so between contracts) and we are only 3 months in to the contract year, made me take pause. The only thing keeping many more of my colleagues in the profession is a bad economy and a need for substantial training to change from what was once a passion and a calling into something that will allow them to enjoy going to work again.
The economic situation is all over the news: unemployment, bailouts, foreclosures, bankruptcies. It doesn't seem so bad here just outside the beltway. Unemployment isn't quite so high here and in the state of Virginia as a whole it is only 6% -- quite a bit below the national average (likely an influence of the federal goverment and large military presence throughout the state). But there are little indications that things aren't so good...a favorite student whose family is moving back to Central America and when I ask why he simply says "Things are so expensive here and my dad doesn't have a job.", friends having a harder time looking for a job (and employers being more picky selective because they can be), and people afraid to make changes or leave jobs they don't like. I know that it is bad in other parts of the country, but we seem in a bit of a bubble here outside of DC.
BlogHer, this years sponsor of NABLOPOMO, has teamed up with CreateJobsforUSA.org to help blog for Jobs. In a nut shell, starbucks has pledged $5 million of seed money to provide loans for start up businesses, as well as small local business looking to expand. This will allow small, local companies to get loans in this difficult economy and create jobs at a very grass roots level. Let's get America working and working in jobs they love!