I have some good news, and I have some bad news.


I have some good news, and I have some bad news.

First, let’s get to the good news (and no, it’s not that I’ve saved a lot of money on my car insurance). The good news is that employment is on the rise in Louisiana.

The state rose some 6,000 jobs from October to November, according to recent figures released by the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

Time to celebrate, right? Not so fast, my friends.

The bad news is that those figures may be misleading. Bear in mind we have had a few high-profile lay-offs that haven’t shown up in the figures yet. Recently, General Motors laid off 798 members of its workforce at its Shreveport plant. Plus, the plant will be idle for the first six weeks of 2009 under a plan to cut down production. The ax also fell at the International Paper mill in Bastrop, where 550 workers saw their jobs vanish. Severance packages offered to all of those workers have kept them off the unemployment rolls so far, as pointed out by the commission executive director Tim Barfield.

That’s not to mention all the other pink slips that didn’t get as much press. Even a lot of jobs that may be here today, aren’t guaranteed to be here tomorrow. One minute you could be hard at work, going above and beyond expectations, and all of a sudden get blindsided with your walking papers.

It’s a tough row to hoe when you don’t know where to turn next for a pay check, not to mention where to go for insurance and file for unemployment benefits. It’s a scary feeling when your future hangs up in the air. And it’s a feeling many people have felt. There is always the unsure feeling of what’s to come. Is the worst over? Louisiana’s November unemployment rate of 5.3 percent stands below the national rate of 6.7 percent, according to the commission. Perhaps the next wave may be big enough to knock us all to our knees.

There’s no guarantee that the coming months will paint a rosy picture. The buzz around the nation continues to focus on the elimination of jobs. Estimates show some two million jobs in 2008 alone have disappeared. It seem as though if there is fat to cut, it will be.

So what is a job hunter to do? Fortunately, the entire economy hasn’t come to a complete stand still. Many old main-stays are still there for those willing to pull up their boot straps and get to work. They may not always be the most glamorous, but they pay the bills.

In my case, as long as there’s a place in this world for a guy who can string a few sentences together, I suppose I’ll have a clock to punch. And if not, I’m sure I could quote some Shakespeare to myself while I search the ground for loose change. At least I’ll feel good about putting my degree to use.

I’ve never had to drag myself out of bed and go to a job I didn’t like. And I owe it to the best advice I’ve ever received. After all, it’s the reason why I decided to return to my old desk and bang away at this keyboard. A pretty smart guy made it all clear to me when he told me to simply go with the job I’d be happiest doing.

And that’s why I’m here.