I know it seems a little early to look back on 2009 with 1/12th of the year yet to pass, but our friends at SmartBrief have asked each member of the Workforce Advisory Board to share their lessons learned from this year.
From my perspective, I can sum up 2009 in one simple word:
Millions have lost their jobs and remained unemployed. The official rate stands at 10.2% (as of October) among the general population. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the situation is much worse for African Americans (15.7%) and Latinos (13.1%). No surprise that this makes the list, as I’ve personally engaged with thousands this year who struggle to secure the precious few jobs that are available. This really sucks.
Millions also lost their homes this year. According to RealtyTrac, over 300,000 homeowners received notices of foreclosure, repossession or default in October alone. That’s one out of every 385 homes nationwide, with California, Florida, Michigan and Illinois accounting for over 50% of the total. Have you ever walked through a tent city filled with the displaced? You should, as you will get a sense of just how horrific the situation is. This is another “10″ on the suck-o-meter.
There are a thousand other reasons that 2009 may have sucked for you and it surrounds us every day. Two wars. Loss of healthcare. Amber alerts. Workplace violence. Swine flu. The list goes on and on. And although many are going to surround a table during tomorrow’s Thanksgiving dinner and express gratitude for what remains, there is no question that this year has forced many to fundamentally reevaluate their lives and priorities.
HR Is (Un)Dead
A raging and vocal debate subsumed a portion of the human resources market in 2009. Was HR dead? Did HR rise and live again? Will HR walk the halls of corporate America forever, or will a wooden stake of the future finally put HR down? Or, perhaps we should just leave poor HR alone and do nothing.
Like the vampire, HR had a questionable reputation among the living working in 2009. For some, human resources is dark, mysterious, reviled and can strike without warning. For others, it’s a misunderstood profession that just wants to be respected and – dare I say – loved.Â Some pitchfork carrying torchbearers even cried for a revolution in 2009, while others would prefer an evolution. Many questions remain, but this much I can confirm – the likeness of HR professionalsÂ can be captured on film.
A recent quote in an article on the vampire craze aptly summarized why I chose this particular metaphor.
“It’s about love and loss and friendship and getting through things you’re not sure you can get through, but you do anyway.”
And that my friends is 2009 in a nutshell. Love. Loss. Friendship. Getting through some of the worst times we can imagine, and doing so because we don’t have a choice.
How did you see 2009? Any other vampire-like characteristics I missed? Share your thoughts, be thankful that the year is nearly over, and let’s keep the conversation going.