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Thursday, January 26, 2017

How To Respond To Buy American Hire American And H-1B Protect & Grow American Jobs Act

A lot of folks across the globe have started to panic with Donald Trump's statement of Buy American, Hire American along with the news of protect and grow American jobs act being reintroduced in the congress.

Before we dive into understanding the reality let us first understand what is protect and grow American Jobs act?
This bill amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to revise the definition of "exempt H-1B nonimmigrant" to eliminate the masters or higher degree requirement and raise the annual salary threshold requirement from $60,000 to $100,000.
(An exempt H-1B nonimmigrant is a nonimmigrant H-1B [specialty occupation] worker meeting certain criteria whom an H-1B dependent employer may hire without having to satisfy certain otherwise applicable H-1B hiring criteria. An H-1B dependent employer is generally one whose H-1B workers comprise 15% or more of the employer's total workforce, with different thresholds applying to smaller employers.)
The bill requires an inflation adjustment to the salary threshold every third fiscal year.
Source of above information is congress.gov

Now that we fairly know the intent of American administration, it is quite logical that most folks would panic if their job depends on any of these decisions. But this is not the first time that people will lose jobs because of certain decisions(for e.g: changes to h1b visa) that they don't control. It has happened multiple times in the past for different reasons. Here is a recap from the recent past (source Wikipedia):
2008: The Recession of 2008 (also called the Recession of the late 2000s or the Great Recession) was a major worldwide economic downturn that began in 2008 and continued into 2010 and beyond. It was caused by the Financial Crisis of 2008.
2000: Dot-com bubble burst. The stock market crash of 2000–2002 caused the loss of $5 trillion in the market value of companies from March 2000 to October 2002. Laid-off technology experts, such as computer programmers, found a glutted job market. University degree programs for computer-related careers saw a noticeable drop in new students. Anecdotes of unemployed programmers going back to school to become accountants or lawyers were common.
Hundreds and thousands of folks lost their jobs due to these events in the past but most of them eventually managed to survive.  If anything similar happens in 2017-2018 then this valuable information from the history should give us the wisdom to plan for a 'recession proof' future. 
Here is what one should do...

Find out if your job is under threat
  • It is clear that there will be direct or indirect impact if you work for an American company or any other global company who can get impacted by these policy changes. Find out the impact to your own company and department by reviewing the current customer base, future pipeline, internal policy and strategy.
  • If your job depends on any of any of the global policy changes understand that you will achieve nothing by pressing the panic button. Best thing to do in this situation is to carefully plan the next 3 to 9 months.
  • In situation of lay-offs high cost and low value-add workers are removed first. Check if you belong to this category by asking simple questions: 
  1. Is my work drying? 
  2. Am I sitting idle most of the day? 
  3. Am I doing anything additional than the regular mundane tasks
  4. Am I doing any value-add work needed by the company? 
  5. Is my department or my boss under cost cutting pressure? 
  6. Do I get paid highly as compared to my co-workers but I do the same job?
If answer to one or more questions is 'Yes' then it's time to upgrade your skill and change your attitude.

What Should You Do?

  • Prepare for the worst. Save funds equivalent to salary of 6 to 9 months. This will help you support yourself in worst case scenario.
  • If you are in based out of USA then you should start searching for job options in your home country. Figure out the potential companies who may not get affected and look for desired profiles and roles. It's time to get active on LinkedIn.
  • Start reading top industry research to understand where the Industry is heading and what are the top trends for the next year. For example, Gartner says that By 2018, more than 3 million workers globally will be supervised by a "roboboss." This means that factors other than the USA policy change that will affect jobs a lot more in the coming year. It also means that there will be newer job opportunities.
  • If your current job is a low level IT job that involves lot of repetitive work then it's time to upskill yourself. Reading latest research as mentioned above may help you find the right direction. Again, remember that there is no need to panic, all you need to do is find the right direction. For IT professionals: IoT, AI, Mobility, Analytics, NLP, Blockchain, Data Science are some of the new horizons.
  • Most folks make the mistake of being confined to their area of expertise/ special skill. Make no mistake, being an expert is definitely an asset. But in addition to being an expert in a specific domain/ technology/ market segment, one also needs to acquire generic skills like People Management, Sales, Public Speaking and Interpersonal skills, Administration and Project Management etc. These are evergreen skills which are always in demand and acquiring these skills gives you the much required edge over your competitors.

In general understand the fact that there is no such thing as a good, safe, secure job. Hence, you always need to have a plan B or plan C to support your family and meet your daily needs. Also remember that no company or organization wants to let go good people. Everyone wants to retain their best of staff. There is always a need for competent people even in the time of recession. All you need is the 'focus' to remain competent.

I hope you find this information helpful. If you are more than 18 years old you would also like to read this post How Much Money Would One Save In USA?