"As of November, 4.1 million people, almost 3 percent of the labor force, had been looking for work for more than six months." - BLOOMBERG BUSINESS WEEK, December 16, 2013. Here you can read that article.
The media, politicos, and wonks all have theories about how to get the long-term unemployed back to work. Also, there are free programs which actually do provide training, re-training, and temporary job placement. But, most fail. My hunch is that is because hustle usually isn't taught, along with resume writing and role playing interviews.
In essence, hustle is the ability to size up an opportunity to make money and then go after it. Some of us grow up with that being the ethos of the neighborhood. In the mean streets of downtown Jersey City, New Jersey, it was intuitive for us kids to create earning situations. Not all pretty or legal.
But, even those from plain-vanilla backgrounds can and do learn.
It took a few months for the 62-year-old woman laid off from her cleaning job to figure out how to get freelance assignments. But that she did. The most effective marketing gimmick was doing below -market-rate cleaning for the biggest gossips in our complex. She told them to tell no one how low she charged. Slowly, she has raised her rates.
A woman, now handicapped, tools around on her scooter taking orders for winter coats and holiday outfits for dogs. Her business has extended to walking some of those dogs, along side of the scooter.
A musician from a once wealthy family bit the bullet as a handyman for the elderly. None of us can believe he's become such a hustler. When there was only an inch of snow earlier this week, he even got business to shovel. Go figure.
But not everyone is willing to play the part of the excellent worker. A neighbor has been through multiple job training and placement initiatives. Within weeks, she's let go.
Still, there is every reason why social entrepreneurs should invent the digital game of "Hustle." It will condition and reinforce the moves needed to stop being among the long-term unemployed.