Changes in Attitude

I imagine that anyone who works with small business owners has noticed an attitude shift since the beginning of this year. Where formerly they were happy to have mediocre employees, now they are looking for something more. Where they overlooked transgressions, now they are writing up infractions. Where they were afraid of having to replace an employee, now they are almost looking forward to it.

Rising unemployment has caused small business owners’ attitudes to turn on a dime. Increasingly, they are willing to tell employees that “someone else would love to have your job.”

Is that true, or are we just reacting to the media hype? In San Antonio our unemployment rate is currently 5.4%, not far from the mid-4% numbers of the “boom” in 2005-2006. Yet, employers here evidence the “I can get someone else” attitude.

The funny thing is, they can. The evidence is undeniable that many, many more applications are coming in for every job posting. It seems that every employee knows someone who is out of work, and is more concerned about performing on the job. The business owners we work with are regularly commenting on how much better the current crop of applicants is.

The Center for Disease Control recently admitted that they had “overreacted” to the Swine Flu threat. Yet what else were the to do? The media was screaming from minute to minute about the imminent pandemic, and to not react would have drawn harsh criticism.

When I lived in Los Angeles in 1984 the Olympics caused a 3% drop in traffic, and rush hour flowed without jams. Is it possible that just a tick up in unemployment releases enough workers to make hiring that much easier?

I’m sure there’s a little truth to both. The market is a bit more favorable, and the media has employees concerned for their livelihood. The reality is that not much has changed. (I’m not referring. of course, to the more depressed areas of the country.)

Remember this the next time everyone is talking about the lack of decent workers. Keep a realistic attitude; one that realizes good employees are always out there if you look.

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