Cradle to grave. That’s how it was for our parents: get a job, do a good job, get promoted, retire from that job. That’s how it was when I graduated from college in 1980 and started my professional career. That’s not how it is now. They changed the rules in the middle of the game, and many of us Baby Boomers (I’m on the tail-end of that demographic) got blindsided. Two good decades of mergers and downsizing, and it was a whole new ballgame.
Fast forward to now… Three years at a company is an eternity. You better be looking for your next job as soon as you get your new job. No benefits, either, by the way. Health insurance is expensive or non-existent. No pension plan. No job security. No loyalty (either direction). If you’re over 50 and still employed, mazel tov. Your boss is probably half your age and looking to get rid of your tired old ass. Experience? Meh.
Sounds pretty grim, no?
If you still need, or want, to work, there’s only one solution: reinvention. There’s no cradle to grave, but there is rebirth. Birthing anything is hard work (so I’m told, being child-free), but it’s do-able. Especially when the other options aren’t so hot. Start your own business. Or two businesses. Be flexible. Work two part-time jobs if need be. One job for 25 years used to be an asset on a resume, now it’s a deal-killer. Do the kind of work where age doesn’t matter. Learn a new skill. Forget the past…it won’t help.
In my working life (not counting the years of slinging pizza and scrubbing swimming pools in college), I’ve been a bank marketer, a print salesman, a consultant, a Hebrew teacher, and an artist. Pretty soon, I’ll be a pet sitter. After all, Snuggles the Poodle doesn’t care that I’m menopausal, only that I take care of her. And, her pet-parents just want to know their sweet-ums is fine while they’re on vacation.
There’s a new game. Don’t sit on the bench and wait to get cut from the team. Go for it.
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