How to Land the Best Job in the World?
Always Follow Your Dream
Focus all your energies on finding a job that generates true psychological satisfaction for you, realizing that the criteria for your ideal position will vary from person to person.
As for me, my goal was to get a job that would allow me to touch people around the world. A tall order, but why not dream big? This dream began more than 60 years ago when I told my childhood friends that we would have fewer wars and conflicts if children had a magical box that allowed them to communicate with kids around the world. That magical box would also translate our messages to eliminate language barriers.
My thought was that as these kids grew up to become leaders of their countries, they would remember these bonds and be less inclined to go to war with other countries. Ironically, that magical box evolved into what we call the internet today, and various apps currently take text and translate them instantly into any language.
We must never forget that Winston Churchill once said, “War does not determine who is right – only who is left?”
Although I remain disappointed that my idea failed to gain traction, I have always believed that no one should ever let a good idea go to waste, so my first professional job as a university professor allowed me to teach both local and foreign students. I guess this was my way of touching people across the world!
Later in life, I joined a major bank as a Chief Economist and traveled across the U.S. and around the world delivering economic and financial market presentations with an eye towards uniting individuals with different political beliefs.
Below are two recent topics that I have used to follow my dream of uniting groups with opposing political viewpoints.
U.S. Enhanced Unemployment Insurance Benefits:
On the unemployment front, Republicans have argued that it has been a mistake to offer the latest enhanced unemployment insurance benefits (i.e., an extra $300.00 in benefits per week) because it has created disincentives for workers to stay at home and collect unemployment benefits instead of returning to work. In contrast, Democrats have argued that such incentives have had little or no effect on a worker’s decision to return to work. Interestingly, a recent study found that states that ended those benefits early failed to enjoy increased employment over those states that kept those benefits in place until their expiration.
However, as a non-partisan Economist, I will be the first to admit that economic incentives do matter. When government provides an opportunity for lower-income workers to earn more money each week by collecting benefits instead of returning to work some workers will react as expected to this opportunity. However, the good news is that not all workers will do so because the decision to collect benefits or return to work is influenced by multiple factors. For example, some workers opted to stay at home because schools were closed and had little or no childcare options. Others stayed at home to care for family members stricken by the Covid-19 pandemic while some avoided work due to concerns about the virus.
However, with higher vaccination rates, fears of contracting the virus should continue to decline over time. Perhaps, this explains why the early elimination of the enhanced unemployment benefits in half of U.S. states prior to the official ending of the program in early September 2021 failed to reveal any measurable difference in the number of workers returning to work in both subsets of U.S. States. Republicans expected that the elimination of these enhanced benefits would mean increased employment figures in those states while the other states retaining their enhanced benefits would reveal fewer workers returning to work. In theory, incentives work, and Republicans are correct in saying that the elimination of such benefits might encourage some workers to return to work sooner.
However, the reason why the data failed to support this view is due to other mitigating factors. First, U.S. households are currently holding $2 trillion dollars of savings from prior stimulus programs. This means that the early elimination of enhanced benefits in some states did not immediate pressure on some workers to return to work. In other instances, workers were spooked by the surge in new Covid-19 cases and decided to wait a little longer. Surprisingly, the number of Covid-19 infections in many states ending the benefits was higher than in those states that retained such benefits. That meant that in states with higher Covid-19 infections, workers were more reluctant to return to work when their extra unemployment benefits were eliminated. And in those states where the number of Covid-19 cases was lower, it encouraged workers to return to work even if they could receive extra benefits for a little longer.
Nonetheless, in April 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that we had 23 million people unemployed, but as of August 2021, that figure had dropped to 8.4 million people. That means that 14.7 million people have returned to work which pushed the national unemployment rate from 14.8% to 5.2% over this same period!
As other impediments discouraging workers from returning to work, continue to melt away we should see even more workers from all states returning to work! Ironically, when you lay out the arguments from both sides, one can see that both sides make valid points on this controversial topic.
The Covid-19 Vaccine:
Bloomberg recently reported that the U.S. had 26 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine in warehouses that would be expiring at the end of August 2021. Given that Covid-19 booster shots won’t be offered until late September 2021, this implies that these vaccine doses would have to be discarded.
In the media and in some of my public speaking venues, I raised the question of why didn’t we give individuals the option of taking a vaccine booster shot early to avoid having to discard these vaccines? And for those that had a problem with executing this strategy prior to a CDC booster shot approval, then why didn’t we make plans to donate those vaccines to countries that have been begging for them prior to their expiration date?
Now I am fully aware that the US and China have already donated millions of vaccine doses already but when you look around the world and realize that many developing countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America have vaccination rates in the low single-digit percentage range compared a vaccination rate of about 70% in the U.S., it is quite disheartening to hear that so many doses would be discarded.
Even after fully respecting the right of individuals to take or decline receiving the vaccine, this is surely a message that members from both major political parties could agree on!
After retiring from a 25-year career as Public Speaker, TV commentator (for both domestic and international venues), and Global Chief Economist with JPMorgan Chase, I continue to enjoy my latest career as a Public Speaker, Writer, and TV Guest commentator. In this role, I get maximal satisfaction analyzing economic and social issues through a non-political lens with the goal of getting individuals from both sides of the political spectrum to think about such issues with an open mind!
Hopefully, with each article I write, and with each presentation I deliver, my dream is to sway individuals with opposing views toward common objectives and move us closer towards solving some of the world’s problems instead of focusing on the issues that divide us!