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No. of Recommendations: 2
1poorguy:" For example, even I as a white-collar professional am limited because my industry is not everywhere."

That was your choice to go into that industry. Right? And in many cases, jobs change and you need to change. We don't need too many DOS programmers or Pascal programmers these days. Or even ADA. If your job skills don't improve or you don't learn current technology, you limit your horizons.


1poorguy: " There are distinct locations where my skill-set might be usable (a bit in Phoenix, some in Austin, some in Oregon, etc)."

That's better than none.


"For blue-collar it is worse (not only because of location-specific jobs, but also because their skills are not usually difficult to replace so they have no negotiating power at all)."

Really? Talk to a lot of employers. It's hard to find reliable, hard working folks for lots of jobs. There are lots who sort of show up for work, but don't want to really work but just sit around all day and collect a paycheck.


1poorguy:"Certainly I agree that people are more mobile, often (even perhaps usually) leaving the places of their birth. "

LOts go off to college and say goodbye to their home town. I grew up in NNJ...went to college in upstate NY.....went looking for a job in NJ as well as elsewhere. The best job was in IL. The second best was in the Boston suburbs. The lowest paid offer was in NJ. The reason folks said NJ was low paying was 'folks who were there didn't want to move out and thus labor was 'cheaper'. I took the higher paying job doing what I wanted to do in IL.

3 years later, got caught in company downsizing. With 3 years experience under my belt had 11 job offers in 60 days. I had rented for 3 years so no hassle moving.

13 years later, moved again. had a house but new employer guaranteed sale of house, helped me buy new place....


1poorguy:"But once a career is established it is not usually trivial to change it."

I went through many changes in 'my job'. Started as a design engineer doing circuit design. Moved later into system engineering work....then as cellular radio developed, into that field.

Later got involved with projects on everything from fiber optic systems, undersea cable systems, satellite communications, new "PCS" radio systems and every type of radio system you could imagine. All it took was applying basic communications engineering to new developments and learning quickly the new technology.

Oh...and got a Master's Degree along the way.

You've got to keep improving your job skills....otherwise, you find you are the world's best buggy whip designer and unemployable.


1poorguy:" I could, but I'd have to "start over" and give up my nearly 20 yrs of industry experience. Some people do it, but it's not trivial."

or morph your job skills into a new field.


1poorguy: "Perhaps you are thinking in terms of jobs like accounting. While each industry has its own wrinkles, standard accounting practices are, well, standard."

I'd bet the computer software, and keeping up with all the rules keep you on your toes.

But in engineering, you have to keep current and upgrade skills. So? That's the 21st century. Welcome to it.

1poorguy: " A semiconductor engineer, or a miner, or an autoworker has fewer options."

Maybe so. Then again, I'm sure your semiconductor engineer might be able to morph into many other areas. Mining? Heck, the Bakken and other oil/ng needs a zillion workers. High paid workers.

Factory workers? Same problem for the last 60 years. Automation replaces assembly line workers. What else is new?


While you might not 'want' to relocate, you might have to.

I've got friends who were laid off during the telecom bust 10 years ago. Many 'morphed' into other careers. Some took jobs overseas for a few years to keep the paychecks coming. Some started their own businesses.

Even in good times, businesses change. Products change.

25 years ago, I took an economics course - and one of the subjects the prof covered was 'the contingent work force'. His prediction and the material he provided basically showed that in the future, that much of the work would be done piece meal. You had a project, it would be farmed out. You'd have one 'expert' on a 'as needed basis' do one part. Another person would be hired on a contract basis for another part. Companies would have few 'permanent workers' and lots of people hired 'for the job at hand' - whether designing a new IC chip, or a new package for Twinkies, or whatever.

Employees would work on a hourly/weekly basis for the duration of the project and then line up the next one, etc. Like the 'job shop' in the contracting business, but extended wide and far.

There wouldn't be big marketing departments, sales departments, accounting departments, etc....everything would be 'farmed out'....same for engineering and design work......and not to other companies but to individual contractors.

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