Sunday, July 30, 2006

Wanted: Talented, Driven People to Energize a New Old City

I'm sure we all know people who have left or are leaving because of the levee breaks and flood. New Orleans is losing some great people.

There's a flip side to that, though. There are a lot of good jobs available here now. Today.

I was stunned to see the number of "Professional" listings in the Sunday T-P today, and there are some good ones in there.

In addition, there are not enough local applicants for those jobs. Anecdotally, from the experiences of others and me, I know that people are not getting a lot of great applicants when jobs open.

Is this a crisis? Is it time to panic?

Of course not.

The first post-levee break migration wave was (is) the people who leave because of job loss, disgust, opportunity elsewhere, hopelessness etc. That's a painful process, but its inevitability means we must steel ourselves and deal with it.

However, if things work the way I think they will, the second migration wave (after this initial outflow) will be people from other places moving here to fill sustainable jobs left empty by those who needed to leave. These newcomers (or returning Orleanians from years past) will come because of word of mouth, noble visions of participating in rebuilding, selfish visions of frontier-style opportunity, whatever.

That influx of talent (in the next 6-12 months) won't be enough, though. The really interesting wave will be what happens with or immediately after that.

The grim future would be that those second wave people will get disillusioned with New Orleans or the pace of rebuilding and then leave. That could happen, but we need to be conscious about aiming for a different future.

That second wave of people is coming with ideas, expectations, and (not insignificantly) spouses and significant others. Let's call those ideas and SO's the third migration wave. That'll be the dynamic that I'll be watching, encouraging, and trying to engage.

The people who get hired in the second wave will be plugged into established businesses and institutions. But their significant others might be the people who help create new industries and institutions.

Imagine a software engineer married to a researcher that Tulane brings in. Or an investment guy whose girlfriend gets hired as an attorney for the Army Corps.

I think Mr. Melpomene has been exploring a crucial idea for awhile, summarized in these points:

6) Outside money does not create opportunity, it finds it.
7) World Class is not going to come from above, it is only going to come from within.

8) "If nothing changes, then nothing changes."

Twelve months out from right now, when those significant others are getting established here and are restless and looking to get things done--that's when some really exciting things could happen. We need to nurture that and be ready for it and participate in it.

Just in case, spruce up your resume. Heck, do it now. Some of this might already be starting.

Sinn freakin' fein.

Postscript: By the way, if you were thinking about applying for an opening in the backfield of the New Orleans Saints, don't bother. THAT POSITION HAS BEEN FILLED. Yes.


berto said...



I am glad Bill Cosby came to visit. Maybe we will realize that Dr. Fluxtable is here for the next 6 years.

I choose 6 because last summer Deuce signed a 7 year extension. January brought Drew Brees with a six year contract. Yesterday brought Reggie with a 6 year deal.

We are in flux for 6 years.

As you've said over and over, we ourselves must make it a better place.

We must clean up crime. We must end the murders.

What happens on August 29?

We "celebrate" the hurricane. WTF?

Those imprisoned are freed on August 29 because of a lack of public defenders.

Where are we going?

Rename the city Port Eagle after Darwin. Only the strongest shall survive?


berto drinks on the weekend

Anonymous said...

How do you convince folk to turn in their kin?

The person who has lived a few houses down does drugs, but is pleasant most of the time.

The person who lives next door has a teen who is getting destructive and hanging around with some rude, noisy "other people's" kids.

How can we foresee the murders that come from such simple, honest beginnings?

We all point to the police to solve this problem.

The police are left holding the bag after its over.

the body bag