Job-Hunting Post-September 11

The job market has shifted drastically since the terrorist attacks, so find the sector that's hiring.

BY: Richard Nelson Bolles


In the wake of the September 11 attack on U.S. soil, some 300,000 of us lost our jobs. Many of us lost our jobs without warning. One minute we were happily employed; the next minute, we were out of work, as--in some cases--our whole industry virtually imploded.

Today, we find ourselves hunting for work in a world that has been changed forever. We hunt for work now in the terrorists' world. Terrorists are people with jobs, jobs that produce a product. The product is terror. Their chosen vocation is to export that product to countries whose people or governments they either fear or hate.

Specifically they export terror by causing people to fear common things that used to seem harmless: air, water, envelopes, buildings, airplanes, cars, subways, foreign places, all manner of public gatherings at home, and the like.

On September 11th, they did their chosen job well, and these things became symbols of fear and isolation for so many of us. On the other hand, we as a people, immediately fought back by seizing upon other things and making them symbols of hope and community: things like flags, candles, the word "hero," blood, donations, faith, "God bless the U.S.A." etc.

One result of the terrorists' work, is it changed the map of job-hunting vis-à-vis industries. Whenever events like September 11th occur, they cause the equivalent of an earthquake in the job-market. Whole industries go on "life-support" and are not fruitful places to look for the job-hunter. But at the same time, whole industries come off "life support" and flourish. If, in the wake of September 11th, your industry went on life-support, do not beat yourself up by restricting your job-search to just finding a job in your old industry. It may not be there.

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