I will spare you the latest numbers for our national unemployment rate. I prefer to talk about real numbers..
Last year, the social network LinkedIn was kind enough to inform me exactly 66% of my network had changed positions in the last calendar year. Okay, so what's that mean?
That means last year more than 300 of my favorite club members, friends, networkers, confidants, and even a few mentors were either politely let go, laid off, fired, or had moved onto or started a new venture. I was one of those numbers in each of their LinkedIn profiles as well, quite possibly a combination of each of the events previously mentioned.
This post isn't meant for me to discuss our skewed unemployment numbers (we don't take into account the population no longer in the work force, i.e. job seekers that have given up). This is just my reflection on the last 20 months and how my network has evolved.
I remember sitting in my office when I received that first email saying that so many had moved or changed positions. I remember feeling, what would be the consequence if I were forced to make a change in my own path. Then, as fate would have it, I was given the opportunity to see how I would evolve. This time I told myself I was going to do it my way, and Demko Consulting was born. (Shameless plug, I know..)
Just a few weeks ago LinkedIn sent me another email, with the above picture of 57 of them, saying that exactly 33% of my business network had changed positions in the current calendar year. For full disclosure, it was July of 2011 when I received that message. That's nearly the identical rate of position changes from the last calendar year. Does that mean that my network is still fighting the economy's wrath? Are my partners still struggling to find a position to make their long standing career?
Without interviewing each of my confidants, I am going to focus on those that I am the most familiar with and assume that the rest of the group fits a very similar mold (I would like to think that everyone in my LinkedIn profile are business people that I know, like and trust; or at least know).
The numbers may not show it alone, but this last year has been a vast improvement from the previous. I have a number of partners that have begun brand new ventures after seeing that the path in which they were traveling wasn't the right direction. I have seen colleagues that were laid off now graduating with further advanced degrees. I have connections within my network that are accepting higher positions with companies that were not afraid to hire.
So the conclusion I would make, since I do actually know these people? While LinkedIn simply shows that they have all moved onto different endeavors this year, it has been to evolve, to capitalize on the previous 20 months. My network has the Knowledge, Skill and Attitude to succeed. At each of my Rotary meetings, networking events, or with every round of golf I play, I am very proud to discuss how we've weathered the storm and in the end, yes everything worked out okay. Most importantly, we learned how to evolve, ever changing for the better based on our surroundings.