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Reflecting on Work’s ‘Changing Nature’

Authors are supposed to write what they know, and with his fifth book, “The Changing Nature of Work,” Richard Kaumeyer has done just that. At 80, Kaumeyer has seen his career in human resources evolve. He worked in the HR departments of companies such as Security Pacific Bank, magazine publisher Knapp Communications and the Westlake Village office of Spherion. He later opened his own executive search firm Kaumeyer Consulting Group Inc. in 1995. Kaumeyer’s book discusses staying current in the technology-fueled employment market. He particularly emphasizes LinkedIn as a venue for communication and self-marketing. While people used to join companies with a plan to stay on as devoted employees for decades or for an entire career, “anyone with this philosophy today is programming themselves for trouble and serious disaster,” the book states. Kaumeyer writes that it is not just companies or industries which come and go, but entire cities. He shows as evidence how the once dumpy New York City and robust Detroit have switched places since the 1970s while Los Angeles’ leading non-entertainment industry has traded aerospace for tech with the rise of Silicon Beach in West Los Angeles. “We are all self-employed in today’s world,” Kaumeyer said. In terms of career, what used to be looked down upon — working at government agencies — now appears ideal, he found. Kaumeyer regrets not having worked in government. “I’d have a whole pension and medical, dental and vision for my whole life,” he said. “Only about 13 percent of private companies now have any pensions. … The real pensions come from the state, the city, the fed.” When he started his career, the aerospace industry dominated the San Fernando Valley economy. And while the industry is still here, it too has evolved from a workers’ perspective. “L.A. still has 11 percent for the world of aerospace and defense subcontractors,” Kaumeyer told the Business Journal. “The companies don’t seem to stay around. They get sold, change their names. You’ve got to be ready to change jobs every three to five years.” Prior to the pandemic, the U.S. economy appeared solid. With 80 million Baby Boomers retiring, there were millions of available positions for Generation Xers and younger, producing more jobs than job candidates. That all changed mid-March. “With this coronavirus, I don’t know what the heck is going to happen,”’ Kaumeyer said. “I’ve never seen anything like this in my life.” As Kaumeyer mulls writing a sequel to his book – or at least a revised edition for the coronavirus economy – the author does believe one maxim from his pre-virus tome still abides, even if it now means doing it via LinkedIn or Zoom: “Network, network, network!”

Michael Aushenker
Michael Aushenker
A graduate of Cornell University, Michael covers commercial real estate for the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. Prior to the Business Journal, Michael covered the community and entertainment beats as a staff writer for various newspapers, including the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, The Palisadian-Post, The Argonaut and Acorn Newspapers. He has also freelanced for the Santa Barbara Independent, VC Reporter, Malibu Times and Los Feliz Ledger.
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