The strange US job market

The way I see the US job market

The job market in America is strange. On one hand, there are scores of low paying 10 dollar an hour jobs in the private sector. In fact, many educated talented people are now searching for Walmart jobs, even just out of curiosity. There is no dishonor in this anymore. However, who can live off of this?

While on the other hand, the juicy private sector jobs are for employees who are highly skilled and who make big sacrifices in life. You have to be really sharp and somewhat ruthless. I think of myself as pretty sharp, but it drains me to be this for someone else’s dream or vision and I do not want to give up my life for my bosses bonus anymore. This is one of the main reasons why corporate America sucks.

Options for high paid employment in the US

  • There are IT and high paying financial jobs, but those are not for everyone, as all of us cannot be IT directors. I think many people have the talent to be but the way you get there is a lot of luck, take it from someone who was there.
  • The other major choice is health care again, not for everyone. This market is dominated by middle-aged women who have set their sights on a modest income. You will not starve but not hit 6 figures in these jobs. The same goes for teaching.
  • You can try sales, but many of this pond is overcrowded with fishermen. I was out there swinging hard, but too many players. However, if you are desperate or unemployed I would recommend you give it a try.

This is the job market today. A real dichotomy between a large number of low paying jobs and a few jobs at the top where people get well compensated.  It seems unfair ad the middle jobs, the old middle-class jobs are gone.  It is unfair.  I have a solution if you want to find a high paying job.

Let’s look at what happened and how we got here first.

US job market
Low paid jobs are what the US job market is creating today. I see two possible solutions.

It is shameful that in America, the greatest country economically, the economy is such that two parents must work to maintain a household. The children are the ones that suffer. But what can people do, I really feel bad for many American families. If they were to live on one income, they can not pay the bills. How did we fall from greatness?

My father’s generation job market to today

A job for life – I remember when my father and all the neighborhood dads would come home when the sun was still shining and a job was pretty much guaranteed for life. My father said the only people who lost their jobs were people who were drinking, and often not even then.

Their career path was clear. You would work your way up the career ladder and promotions were based on seniority as much as talent. The retire down in Florida.

A job for now – The job, for now, is why we have the dichotomy in the job market. In the US job market, companies downsize and delayer. This means they have a flat structure with the management of fat cats being replaced by stern taskmasters overseeing cube slaves. Workers only have their job as long as they add more value than they are paid. Companies are looking for specialists. If you are bright specialists you are all set. The keyword here is bright. You cannot just be someone who knows the job, but someone who innovates. The bar has been raised. The market is now, low paid jobs at the bottom and high paid jobs at the top. A  lot of the middle layers have been reengineered or outsourced.

Doing the Freelance thing – You really get paid what you’re worth here. But the funny thing is most people struggle or never get rich freelancing. The reason your search factor in looking for these jobs is pretty expensive. Further, the market is overcrowded with ex-corporate people trying to sell their services. You also have to pay your own medical and you have no job security.

The job market generally – What happens is when you are in your 20s companies will scoop you up because you are cheap labor. But if you have not broken through to a good niche or management in your mid-30s, you will have a hard life. This again is the job dichotomy. What is the solution if you did not make it to the top of the food chain?

The solution in the musical chairs of the US job market

  • Work for yourself – This is the real solution. This is why I do not work.
  • Differentiation -Find something that will give you differentiation other than just jobs skills. Conventional solutions will not work in today’s job market. Jobs experience is equally ineffective as having an education. Experience and education just gets you on the same playing field as everyone else who is hungry out there. The real secret is you need to get something like military clearance, for example. You need to find something that is really a niche but not that is over crowded. MBAs are a dime a dozen. But someone with a little but of computer skills and military clearance is a very good niche for example. It is having a piece of paper that is different from a degree or a resume full of experience. Something really nichey like military clearance and some computer skills.  There are of course many other niches. Once you find this you can have the job stability of our fathers.

My personal philosophy about work – Focusing on making money, not getting a job

Remember most people ‘think about getting a job’. I tell people to “think about making money”. Two different ideas. In fact, having a job often gets in your way of making real money. This is because it consumes your time. Time is the stuff that life is made of.
Next, most people ask ‘how do I make money’? I tell people to do not. I tell people ‘think about creating something of value’ with hard work.
People ask me ‘how do I come up with an idea’? I tell them to do not. ‘Stop looking outside’ and start asking yourself what are you really interested in. This comes under the category of living your dream.

So I only will get a job if I have to. I have not really worked in 7 years. My friend Erik is 34 and he never had a job in his life. He said instinctively, when someone mentioned the word ‘job’, his tail curled between his legs like a dog’s when he did something wrong.

I am a firm believer that all work is noble and you have to pay the bills. But the best way to do that (besides living your dream as mentioned above) is to try to find a niche that has a requirement to qualify like military clearance. This type of usual ‘green stamp’ will give you the job stability only our forefathers had. Find that green stamp.

Related Posts




This is my Youtube Channel: EconLessons


4 responses to “The strange US job market”

  1. Oscar Wilson

    My son is deaf, has an undergraduate degree in special education and a masters in deaf education. He teaches special needs deaf children at a school for the deaf and hates it. His biggest problem is that he is competing with hearing teachers and does not have the communication skills that they do. He does fine with the students, but finds it very difficult to communicate with his hearing superiors. This not a perfect world and is made even more imperfect when someone is handicapped.

    He is 44 years old and wants to make a career change. He is a talented artist and has a very creative nature. He has a daughter that is 18 and just staring college. She is independent and he does not have to support her. He was recently remarried and his wife does not work. His house is paid for and the only debt that he has is a car note.

    In addition to teaching my son worked in a dental lab. He has thought of going back into that field with the thought of starting a dental lab of his own. The problem here is his ability to communicate.

    If you have any thoughts or ideas, it will be appreciated.

    Thank you.


    1. Mark Biernat

      My wife has done lab work for years. I use to work also in a lab as a teacher. It is a very good idea for several reasons.

      First, it is interesting. You use your intellect and run procedures.
      Second, people who own labs that I know of, and I know a few have made a lot of money.
      Third, people who work there are more cerebral than verbal.

      The issue to communicate I think can be largely mitigated with technology. It is funny my wife is in the next room and instead of talking to her I chat sometimes online it is easier. I get headaches and sometimes to talk hurts. I prefer to chat. I also worked in an IT company and even though we were open space floor seating almost all communication was on Skype chat. I wore ear plugs so I could concentrate better and rarely had to take them out for a real conversation during the day.

      I also worked in accounting, another cerebral group of people. Even though we were next to each other we would send e-mails rather than talk. I do not know why, maybe it was the culture. E-mails detail things better sometimes that verbal communication. You can take time to think out what you need to say and the reader can read it several times.

      I also use voice to text. Windows comes with voice to text programs (XP you need to install it but Vista and 7 have it installed under control panel). I am sure he knows this. You can train your voice, even if his words are very imprecise because of his hearing the computer can be trained. I do not know if that would help but it is an idea, I use it. Workers could use it instead of talking to him. But I do not think you have to get that high tech or it is of any value, but I think there are many solutions these days. Voice to text might be more work than it is worth. But my point is I think there are many other things you can do with technology to make any hearing issues a non issue. Skype chat is the easiest.

      I think your son knows this by now, but in life often people take what is perceived as a weakness and turn it into their greatest strength.

      There is no way that lab work will decrease. Demographically speaking it just will not happen. That does not mean it is a guaranteed profitable business, it just means the potential is there.
      I think in any type of lab work you just have to set up a network of doctors and be able to compete price wise. Once you do this your business is annuitized and you can focus on expansion. It is always the start up and getting clients that is hard.

      If he is an artist, there is a lot he can do. He does not have to be a capitalist. He can design anything, create, draw. In my opinion the money may be less than the above venture but the work is more fun. I believe art is a lot of marketing and getting your name out there. I have friends in Krakow (an art city) that are very talented and starve. I have friends that are less talented and make a lot. They have somehow figured out a way to make their art valuable. They have a niche. One has his art in gallerias, another sells things online and a few work for marketing companies and make a lot of money. Others try unconventional things.
      It really does come down to what would be rather do for work on a daily basis. Set up and manage or design, he could do both.

  2. Oscar Wilson

    It has been a long time since he has worked in a dental lab and starting over at 44 is fairly scary to him. If he can get a job working in a lab that is not too far from where he lives, he should be able to determine if it is something that he wants to continue with and he would have time to expand on his artistic talent. It beats working 14-hour days at a teacher’s salary.

    Thanks Mark

    1. Mark Biernat

      I am a big believer in paying the bills why you work on something else. I would not worry about age and starting over. I know it is hard. I am 47 and got married at 44 and moved to Europe at 40. I am thinking of moving back to the USA now. It is very hard at any age. One of my friends is 24 and he is thinking of traveling and it is scary. But in the worlds on Helen Keller, one of my personal heroes ‘ avoiding danger is not safer than outright exposure to it, life is either a daring adventure or nothing.’
      All my friends in their 40s tell me the same thing, it is hard to start over. I agree, but know we all feel this way at any age. My Dad who is 82 just got a Mac and for a week he was complaining until he got use to it.
      My wife had a coworker that was hearing impaired in her lab, she was really good. People who have challenges in life make themselves shine better than people who have everything.
      Lab work is great work. Teaching is very exhausting, I know I do it from time to time. Teaching drains your energy. It is good but too much. Better is to work in a peaceful lab. Then your at home energy level will be more and can focus on art if he wants or not.
      Art is an amazing passion if he has desire for it. It could take time to develop. Just do not give up in life. I think that is the main thing.

Leave a Reply