Job growth in the U.S. is anemic and unemployment is high. This job market continues to be a dark cloud on the horizon of an economic recovery. However, there may be a silver lining for those of us willing to learn something new. There are employment opportunities out there, although they may not be in what we would think of as traditional areas. We need to be creative in determining that next career. Here is my list of current opportunities for potential lifetime employment based on the state of business today.
Business Ethics Instruction/Consulting: Corporate scandals abound. Clearly, many people in business don't know what constitutes ethical versus unethical behavior. This situation should provide more jobs as ethics instructors as colleges and universities beef up their business curriculum to make it relevant to what's happening in business today. Looking for a major in your pursuit of a degree? Try business ethics.
Forensic Accounting: Many of these corporate scandals involve accounting improprieties. Think about the opportunity to take advantage of this situation by becoming a forensic accountant. Forensic implies an ability to uncover facts that would be suitable within a court of law. This ability should be in great demand by auditors, the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) and other U.S. regulators even the CIA! Think of the contribution you could make to investigative accounting! Companies that cook the books to smooth out their earnings numbers will be no match for you!
Implementation of RFID Tagging Systems: Radio frequency identification (RFID) is a promising new technology that could potentially revolutionize inventory and warehouse systems. It involves a tagging system that could replace bar coding and provide more sophisticated management capabilities. Wal-Mart has launched an RFID pilot requiring all of its suppliers to implement systems to help automate its supply chain. Wal-Mart is such a retail force that if its RFID pilot is successful, the technology could get a jump start toward becoming a new standard. Careers implementing RFID systems could indeed be lifetime employment opportunities!
Managing IT (information technology)/Operations Outsourcing Projects: Many U.S. information technology and operations jobs are being lost to India, the Philippines, China and other countries with a lower wage structure. This, of course, is terrible news to U.S. technology and operations workers. However, someone has to manage these relationships for the company that has chosen to outsource. This is a significant new area of opportunity requiring expertise in building and maintaining relationships and developing and managing service level agreements. Understanding and managing a relationship involving a different culture and a different language with a significant difference in time zones will be a skill that is in demand. In fact, this skill will be critical for U.S. companies to realize the promise of lower costs without degradation of performance.
Patent Examination: The United States Patent Office (USPO) must be feeling the pressure of increased patent applications. Companies can now patent business processes in addition to inventions. It already takes two years or more for a patent to be issued because patent examiners have extensive backlogs. In addition, once patents are issued, they are sometimes subject to challenge by other parties with similar claims, which requires additional expertise and time on the part of patent examiners for processing. The USPO needs and will continue to need people skilled in technologies and business processes to address the issue of intellectual property protection in America.
Anti-Spam Measures: We all get unwanted junk mail in our physical mailboxes. However, tangible junk mail has been limited by the expense of postage required of the sender. Unwanted spam, on the other hand, has grown to enormous proportions because it is basically free to the sender. Spam is a horrendous problem for people, cluttering inboxes and requiring extensive time to delete. Any jobs in the area of anti- spam software development, implementation or consulting should have some continuity at least until this problem is solved. Perhaps a "do not e-mail" list similar to the "do not call" list implemented for unwanted telemarketing calls would be in order! Add "do not e-mail" lobbyist to the list of potential jobs in the anti-spam effort.
Virus/Intrusion Detection Measures: Speaking of mayhem in cyberspace, how about those viruses, worms and Trojan horses that can make our online life miserable? The same opportunities exist for intrusion detection and avoidance as for anti-spam measures. Protecting our online identities will be a critical skill that can be leveraged in the employment market for years to come.
Yes, the job market can look impossible for some people in IT or business who have lost their jobs. However, we are challenged to be creative and take advantage of opportunities that exist in the market unconventional though they may be. Lifetime employment opportunities exist in some of these areas. We just need to identify and exploit them.
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