Your six biggest money fears
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Fear No. 4: Your job is outsourced
Real danger: You're obsolete.
September 16, 2005: 8:44 AM EDT
By David Futrelle, MONEY Magazine. Additional reporting by Kate Ashford and Janet Paskin.
Your six biggest money fears
• No.1:
• No.2:
• No.3:
• No.4:
• No.5:
• No.6:
Will your job really be outsourced?
Number of U. S. jobs outsourced in a year: 350K.
Sources:, MONEY research
Number of jobs lost to technology, competition: 13 mil.
Source: Charles L. Schultze, Brookings Institution
Socialize more, whine less, embrace tech. You don't want to act like the old guy who no longer "gets it."
What's your biggest money fear?
  You die young
  The stock market crashes
  The economy collapses
  Your job is outsourced
  The housing bubble pops
  Your identity is stolen

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NEW YORK (MONEY Magazine) - Why does outsourcing make so many white-collar American workers so uneasy? Not because their jobs are really headed for Bangalore. Outsourcing overseas accounts for perhaps 350,000 lost jobs a year, the majority of them still blue collar, in a work force of 147 million.

"The number of people around the world that are really qualified to substitute for American workers is much smaller than people believe," notes Martin Baily of the Institute for International Economics.

The scary thing about outsourcing is that it's a new threat. We're used to competing against a guy across town, not one who's half a world away. We imbue outsourcing with what psychologist Paul Slovic, a pioneer in risk analysis, calls "signal value." We interpret it as a sign of bad things to come, and we exaggerate how often it occurs.

Global competition is heating up, certainly. But the big threat to our jobs comes not from cheap foreign workers but from technological change and the creative destruction inherent in capitalism.

Every year our economy consigns 13 million jobs to history's dustbin. The good news is that it generates 15 million new ones a year to take their place. (And no, they're not all in burger joints.) All that spells opportunity -- and it also spells insecurity. But you can act to keep yourself from becoming obsolete.

What to do

Get out of the office. "When you grow older, you tend to stay in your own little world, and take last week's skills and continue to use them," says Mark Mehler of CareerXroads, a recruitment consulting firm.

To understand what skills your industry will value tomorrow, attend conferences, which also will allow you to rebuild your network of outside contacts.

Start thinking like an investor. Check out analyst reports about your company, advises recruiter Dave Hickman of HirePursuit. Are they filled with terms like "dominant" or "dinosaur"? Scour earnings reports. Which parts of the business are growing? Are you in one of them?

Pick up new tech skills. Work-related or not, the twentysomethings around you take many tech skills for granted, says Susan Eckert, an organizational development consultant. If you can't send an instant message or download an MP3 (legally or otherwise), learn. Get comfortable around new technology; you don't want to whine when your boss suggests a meeting should be conducted over the Web.

Enjoy happy hour and the watercooler chat. "The more you build relationships with others," says Hickman, "the more you'll be perceived as a contributor."

Fear No.5: The housing bubble pops


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