GRADS GLAD TO BE OUT; NOW WHAT?

#graduations #GraduationSeason #education #jobs #careers
It’s graduation season, and we tend to see it as an end.
But, it’s really a beginning.
Consider the adage: it’s the first day of the rest of your life.
Most grads have plans. Some will go to college, grad school or some other higher education. Others will get jobs. The main thing to hope for is that where you go next is someplace you want to go.
At graduation ceremonies, the exiting students will hear messages like, “find your passion.”
If your passion won’t pay the bills, exercise your passion, but also find something that will make you a living.
If you are graduating from college, hopefully you are not saddled with debt. If you are, hopefully your education will help you pay it off comfortably.
If you are graduating high school, hopefully you’ve thought long and hard about either college, work or some combination – say, work full time, school part time or vice versa.
Remember, too, that college is not for everyone. Make sure that if you go on to college, you are prepared in every way. It’s OK if you do not think college is for you. There are other endeavors you can pursue that will educate you and potentially make you a living.
Most importantly, always think about the future, no matter what you will do. One day, you could get married and have a family. One day, you will retire. On the latter, here’s hoping that you can do it on your own terms. Not everyone can say that.
Both of those life endeavors require preparation, financial and otherwise. If you have a job, set aside a portion of your paycheck — even $5 a week – for savings. Start with a bank savings account. As it grows, get some good investment advice and act accordingly.
Be disciplined enough not to dip into your savings for frivolous expenses. You want a good nest egg for your retirement. Those who retire comfortably had made good decisions when they were younger.
You CAN create a nest egg and still enjoy life now by watching where your money goes. That means prudent spending.
Also, whatever you decide to do, remember to give rather than take. As you give and help others, most of what you want will come to you.
So, as you go through graduation ceremonies, celebrate and enjoy. Then, give thought to where you go next. Work hard, but play, too. Form relationships. Make everything you do less about you and more about others.
No matter what you do, your potential is infinite if you make it so.
Go into adulthood with the attitude of setting goals and achieving them, no matter how long it may take and no matter what circumstances befall you.
It’s not what happens to you that matters. It’s how you deal with everything that happens. Finding something good in every situation is a good first step.
As stones cross your path, find ways to go over them.
Best of luck to all the grads.
Peter

TRUCK DRIVER SHORTAGE LIKELY TO BE TEMPORARY

#TruckDrivers #SupplyChainProblems #trucks #drivers #TruckDriverShortage
The shortage of truck drivers is certainly hurting the supply chain.
A New York Times article by Madeleine Ngo and Ana Swanson published Nov. 9, 2021, calls the shortage the biggest kink in the supply chain.
The article was also published Nov. 14, 2021 in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The article attributes the shortage to long hours and uncomfortable working conditions.
The article tells the story of Michael Gary, 58, who took a truck driving job in 2012 to help pay off more than $50,000 in student debt. He finally quit Oct. 6, 2021.
“I had no personal life outside of driving a truck,” the article quotes Gary.
The American Trucking Associations reports that the industry is short 80,000 drivers, according to the article.
Trucking is one of those industries undergoing a transition. Decades ago, with most truckers represented by the Teamsters Union, trucking was still a tough job, but it paid relatively well.
Now, the job is still tough but is not paying well enough for some to endure the long hours, time away from home, sleeping in trucks etc. Some companies are beginning to increase drivers’ pay.
Most young workers looking for a career also can see the writing on the wall. Self-driving trucks, though not here in large numbers yet, are coming. So, why start a career that may become obsolete in a few short years?
But, as with most transition periods , this one is messy.
Though we need truckers, and lots of them, now, we may not need nearly as many in the future.
Truckers, by law, can only drive so many hours at a time. Then, they must rest a certain number of hours.
Often, those rest periods are unpaid, as is the time spent waiting to load or unload.
It’s one of those professions, as brought to the fore by the pandemic, that workers have to ask themselves whether the job, compensation etc., is worth the sacrifices to home and other personal life.
There are many songs you could hear on the radio that glamorize life on the open road. They portray it as an adventure.
But, in reality, it is grueling. To help ease the pain of being away from home, and to legally log more hours on the road, many married couples share truck driving duties.
Still, it’s a real hardship to spend that much time away from home, missing your children, social relationships etc.
In short, trucking is not for everyone. Though drivers are badly needed now, the future is likely to tell a very different story.
Peter

RETIRE TOMORROW? GREAT! THEN WHAT?

#retirement #RetireTomorrow #UseYourTimeWisely #EnjoyYourRetirement
If you retired tomorrow, regardless of your age, what would you do then?
Many, if not most, see retirement as a type of utopia – no work, sleep in, no worries etc.
In reality, many never give much thought to what they will do when they retire. They see the end of their W-2 life as just that: an end to be achieved.
They’ll worry about what’s next, well, next.
Even if money was not going to be a problem, at least in your mind, how you spend your time may be the key to a fulfilling retirement.
Some financial advisers sell themselves as a guide to their clients’ longest vacation.
But vacation and retirement are not the same. A vacation is a temporary R&R period. Retirement, when it comes, is usually forever.
Some people are retired by their employers, often before they want to be. That adds an extra burden and importance on what a person will do next. Sometimes, that does not mean R&R.
The pandemic has prompted others to retire, perhaps prematurely, for a lot of reasons: workplace safety, job insecurity etc.
So, where do these questions lead? It’s not just finances that make a good retirement, though being financially OK, even comfortable, is vitally important. But, to make a retirement successful, enjoyable and fulfilling, a person should give thought to how he or she will use his or her time, now that his or her personal rat race has ended.
In short, retirement is a state of mind, a state of health and a state of relative wealth.
It begs the age-old question: if you had all the time in the world, how would you spend it? As a corollary: if you had all the money you could want, how would you spend it?
Both are possible, at virtually any age, by making the right decisions, sticking with a plan and pursuing it with vigor and tenacity.
The adage: “do today what others won’t, so you can do tomorrow what others can’t,” applies here.
But as you do today to get to tomorrow, think about what tomorrow can bring. Think about the freedom to do as you wish. Use that time to do good for others. Use that time to pursue the things you had little time to pursue before, but always wanted to do. Use that time to make the world a better place for you, and all.
Before you get the time, take the time to know how you will spend it. Work to gain the resources that will give you the options you want. Work to clear your head of negative energy, and infuse positive energy.
Make a plan, starting as soon as possible after you start your career; follow the plan to a great degree. Certainly, you may deviate a bit to, say, buy a house, but such a decision will ultimately fit into your plan. If you make a plan and follow it, then decide how you will spend your time.
You’ve made and followed your plan. Now, make the time and make a difference.
Your world can be what you make it. So, make it with care.
Peter

ONLINE EDUCATION AND ‘NORMAL SCHOOL’

#OnlineLearning #NormalSchool, #education #teachers #studemts
Parents and students of all ages have had to deal with a lot of school online.
But two Georgia Tech computer scientists are arguing that online learning can be as effective as in-person classes.
Their book, “The Distributed Classroom,” by David A. Joyner and Charles Isbell, was the subject of a column by Maureen Downey, who writes education commentary for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Her column was published Sept. 28, 2021.
“No matter the age of their children, most parents favor a return to ‘normal school,’ which they define as how they learned – a teacher in front of a room and students in desks,” Downey writes.
But Joyner and Isbell call for classes spread across many locations and times, totally contradicting the belief that parents and teachers must meet together in a room at fixed times, Downey writes. (As an aside, the fixed time and classes were designed to teach kids promptness and how to follow a schedule, skills they would need in a “normal” workplace.)
“There are several features we developed of the past year that students want to continue, such as recorded classes. Going forward, I think we have to disentangle several developments that went together during COVID-19, but don’t have to go together going forward,” Downey quotes Joyner.
She writes that the professors don’t envision a student sitting at his or her kitchen table staring at a screen all day. Students can take online classes while going to school. The professors also believe online learners can form bonds with each other, as do graduate students in Georgia Tech’s Online Master of Science in Computer Science(OMSCS) program, the column says. (Another aside: if students form bonds on social media, why can’t they do so through online classes?)
Previously, a question had been posed: if Student X wanted to take a class with Professor X, who may be miles away, why can’t that happen? Professor X is teaching his or her class anyway, why not let him or her teach it to thousands, even millions, at a time?
If Professor X’s lecture time isn’t convenient for Student X, couldn’t Student X view and listen to the class on a recording?
If COVID-19 helped advance those concepts, what will education look like in the future? Instead of School X having, say, three third-grade classes, how about one third-grade teacher and several teacher aides to offer one-on-one assistance, help grade papers and other work etc. ? Yes, the students can be in a school building if that’s preferable.
It may mean that students may get to know the teacher aides better than they know the teacher, but it could save school districts lots of money and help alleviate teacher shortages etc.
Taking the concept further, how about one teacher for multiple schools, again with aides helping individual students?
The teacher would do the same work preparing for classes. Online allows for interaction among students, though, in this scenario, a teacher teaching hundreds or thousands of students would make lots of interaction between teachers and students in real time difficult.
Educators, in general, have vivid imaginations. School systems and politicians, in general, can constrain such imaginations.
We will all have a front-row seat to watch how education evolves, how student life changes at all levels and how those who study can flex their time to accomplish whatever activities in which they need and wish to engage.
“Normal school” may look a lot different in years to come.
Peter

WORKERS HARD TO FIND

#LaborShortage #workers #employers #GreatResignation #BetterJobs #entrepreneurs
Evidence suggests that jobs are easy to find, and workers are hard to find.
So writes Paul Krugman, a New York Times columnist and economist in a column also published April 10, 2022 in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Krugman points out that experts, including himself, have been telling the “Great Resignation” tale, saying the pandemic has forced lots of Americans to rethink work, their jobs, child care, going back to unpleasant environments etc.
But he now points out that he has changed his mind, as new data evolve.
He says Americans are switching jobs, but going to better ones. They are not leaving the labor force in large numbers (and collecting government checks to stay home). Instead, they are going to different work.
One reason Krugman cites, attributing to economist Dean Baker, is many workers are becoming self-employed. They are gig workers, to use current parlance.
Employment figures, naturally, do not include the self-employed. “Reshuffling has involved Americans concluding that they could improve their lives by starting their own businesses,” Krugman writes.
The second reason is immigration, or lack thereof, according to Krugman. An immigration crackdown over the last several years, enhanced by the pandemic, resulted in fewer available workers. To boost the economy, Krugman says, “we should really try to reestablish our nation’s historic role as a destination for ambitious immigrants,” he writes.
In decades past, it has been argued that too much immigration takes jobs from Americans and lowers wages for U.S. workers. Today’s immigration argument, though often not voiced aloud, is that it’s less about jobs and wages and more about demographics and potential new voting patterns.
Because the employment numbers are so hidden, they blur the status of the economy. If employers can’t find workers, or have lost the ones they had prior to the pandemic, those employers should spend more time evaluating how to better attract or retain workers, rather than complain about labor shortages allegedly caused by current government policy.
Workers are out there, albeit fewer than there were prior to the pandemic. There are not a lot of eligible workers sitting home collecting checks. They are working on THEIR terms, performing services that they know how to do, for those willing to pay for them.
If employers believe that different government policy can force workers back to old ways, they will be very disappointed when it doesn’t happen.
If you (desperate employer) know someone who used to work for you, but is now in his or her own business, ask that person why he or she made such a move.
Very likely, they will tell you chapter and verse why. You may not like the answer. But, if you are wise, you will learn something from it.
Starting a business when you’ve always been an employee is a big step. Not everyone who does so will succeed. But, even if they don’t, they may never return to what they used to do, or where they used to do it.
Remember, too, that workers have more choices than they’ve had in years. Most will take advantage of better opportunities that are presented to them. Some will succeed as their own bosses. Wishing it were different, if you are an employer, will not make it so.
Peter

EVALUATE WHAT TO DO ON YOUR WEDDING DAY

#weddings #WeddingCosts #GettingMarried #WeddingReceptions #PayingForAWedding
With all due respect to planners and others associated with the wedding industry, the cost of a wedding is getting out of hand.
The average cost of a wedding ranges from $15,800 in Wyoming to $43,000 in Rhode Island. Naturally, the costs go up depending on the bells and whistles the couple wants. These figures come from an article by Kim Forrest for The Knot Real World Wedding Study, updated Feb. 15, 2022.
If you’re a young person lucky enough to have mom and dad, or someone else, willing to pay for it, go for it.
However, most engaged couples, and their families, don’t have lots of money. Therefore, spending so much on a single-day event may seem a bit, well, reckless.
Certainly, to the couple, the day may be the most important day of their lives. It may be very likely the happiest day of their lives.
News reports about wedding costs say the best way to reduce costs is to shrink the guest list. That process can be fraught with family tension.
So, if the wedding budget is important, the couple, with immediate family and friends if they wish, needs to discuss what will and will not be part of the day.
The basics include good food, good music, a cake (serving the cake as dessert can cut some cost), a suitable venue, photographer and good beverage availability (a cash bar also can save money).
Decorations, flowers, a limo etc. may be nice-to-haves, but they offer cost flexibility and possible elimination, depending on choices. A good rule of thumb is: if the couple doesn’t care about these extras, don’t worry about what’s “appropriate” or “proper.”
A volunteer designated driver(s) to take the couple and wedding party, if there is one, to the ceremony, reception and airport, or wherever they plan to spend their wedding night, can eliminate the need for a limo.
Another option: get married quietly, with a few witnesses, and throw a party later, when you may have more financial flexibility. Chances are, the later party will have fewer guests and be, perhaps, much cheaper.
All this begs a question: why have a big wedding anyway? If one or both of the couple has student loan debt, would it not be better to put the money toward that?
Also, with the housing prices as they are today, wouldn’t putting the wedding money toward a house purchase be a better investment?
Certainly, there are reasons to have a big wedding, if you choose. As previously stated, it may be the most important day in the couple’s life, and, therefore, worthy of a big celebration. There is also the thought that if invited guests all gave gifts, that the couple would get back (in money or merchandise) what they shelled out for the day.
At today’s costs, that argument may not hold up.
In short, if you are an engaged couple, give lots of thought about whether to have a big wedding, or how elaborate it will be.
Evaluate all other potential uses of the money you will shell out. Will there be better long-term value to put that money in something other than a one-day party? (Some weddings last more than a day, but it’s still a short-term event).
Also, though it may be difficult to think about, what will the day be worth if the marriage, for some reason, doesn’t last?
Wedded bliss does not have to come with extravagant cost. The thought process leading up to the eventful day may be the most valuable thing a couple can create.
Peter

RETIRE ASAP? GO FOR IT!

#EarlyRetirement #retirement #jobs #work #time
Are you planning, or would you like to, retire early?
Most, probably, would say, “of course.”
Others don’t plan to retire, unless forced to.
Still others would insist on a definition of “early.”
Wes Moss, who writes a Money Matters column for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and has a same-titled radio show on WSB radio in Atlanta, gives five reasons to retire as soon as possible. He discussed them in his Oct. 10, 2021, column.
Moss’ five reasons: drive time, no love lost for your job, a roller-coaster schedule, a lack of recognition for what you do and being capped out in terms of financial advancement.
Let’s talk about each of these. First, commuting can be a bear. It takes time from your life as a whole, it adds stress to your body and it’s costly, in terms of fuel and wear-and-tear on your vehicle.
Moss also says that grueling commutes can cause stress in a marriage. According to one study, people who drive at least 45 minutes each way to work are 40 percent more likely to get a divorce, Moss writes.
Work-from-home, or remote-working trends inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic may change commuting patterns for the long term. If your employer is flexible in this area, you might decide to work longer. Think of having a beach house, or mountain cabin, from which you could work. Would that interest you?
Perhaps you don’t really love your job, or even like it, as Moss points out. Would working from home change that perception? If you are just grinding out a living at a job that, to be kind, doesn’t inspire you, Moss suggests perhaps finding a new way to parlay your skills by consulting, or starting your own business.
Remote-working options may alleviate another of Moss’ concerns – the roller-coaster schedule. Many people have jobs in which they have to be on site at specific times. Those times could vary from week to week, turning one’s body clock upside down. If you have one of those jobs, chances are you don’t like it. If you can get out sooner, you should.
Being recognized for your good work is also important. Your boss saying nice things about you and your work are fine, but you probably need more tangible rewards. If those are not forthcoming, maybe it’s time to go.
You may also be at the very end of the pay scale for your job category. If so, then ask yourself: am I just marking time for my pension? Or, especially if there is no pension, could I go somewhere else and advance financially? If you are at the top of your pay scale, you may be near retirement age anyway. If you can afford to retire, do it.
There are many things to learn ahead of “early” retirement regarding health insurance expenses and, more importantly, what you will do with your time.
You also have to study the likelihood, even though it’s tough to predict, whether one day you will come to work and be forcibly retired, or otherwise unemployed. Know that if this happens to you, you are not likely to be forewarned.
So, think about your situation, and do what is best for you. At the same time, realize that there are ways to escape bad work situations, if you need to.
In short, if you like your job, stay as long as they will have you. If you don’t like your job, stay open to other options. They are out there.
Peter

GOALS, DEADLINES AND LIFE

#goals #deadlines #life #SteadyWork #entrepreneurs
We are all encouraged to set goals.
Placing a deadline on those goals can be tricky.
Yes, deadlines encourage urgency, and urgency will help you reach goals more quickly.
Timeline might be a better word than deadline.
Timeline sounds less urgent. But timeline implies flexibility. Deadlines are more firm.
This discussion is designed to allow people to go for whatever goal(s) they seek, without beating oneself up.
After all, reaching the goal, in most cases, is the most important thing. When it happens, in most cases, is less important. Ask yourself this: if I get to Level X, which I am shooting for, in five years instead of two, am I going to be upset that it took so long, or thrilled that I actually got there?
Indeed, most rewards know no deadline. But, no matter how badly you may want your rewards, deadlines may not necessarily produce them, even with your maximum effort.
Some deadlines are part of your goal. For example, if your goal is to beat your best time ever in a road race, that makes deadlines automatic, since you are shooting for a race time. What becomes less significant is in which race you beat your best time. Perhaps it won’t happen in THIS race, but that should not stop you from going for it in your NEXT race.
Parents, teachers or others may have taught or coached you to aim for “realistic” goals. Usually, they defined “realistic” in terms of, say, getting married, having a family, having “steady” work etc. As an adult, those things certainly can be part of your goals, but they aren’t for everyone.
In fact, real success is rarely spawned from “steady.” Real success is often created by thinking less about traditional life and more about the life ahead.
Also, “steady” not only may not exist everywhere, it may exist nowhere, in real terms.
If “steady” is what you seek, you may not be considering all horizons open to you.
For example, one can have a relatively steady job, while pursuing more entrepreneurial goals part time in his or her off-work hours.
Setting goals, working toward them and ultimately achieving them is a relatively simple process. It’s not necessarily an easy process, but the process itself may be simple. The “not easy” part may come with the person’s attitude and ambition toward getting it.
For others, knowing what one wants does not come easily. It requires thought. It requires cultivating an open mind. It requires creating a different attitude toward life, from the one that may have been ingrained in you as a child.
In short, knowing what you want may require effort in itself. But once you find out what that is, you have to compound that effort toward achieving it.
Creating goals, achieving them, then creating more goals is a lifelong process. In traditional “steady” work, that process usually stopped at retirement. When seeking things that are less steady, but potentially more lucrative, one never stops going for it (them).
Peter

MOTIVATION VS. INSPRIATION

#motivation #inspiration #work #tasks #jobs
“When leading, fear may motivate a few. But it will inspire no one.”
That Wednesday Whiteboard Wisdom comes from Jason Barnshaw senior enlisted leader at Spectrum Warfare Group.
The message had been posted on LinkedIn.
This speaks on many levels. It evokes thoughts of the old days, in which employers used fear to motivate staff. You may have heard at one time, “do it this way, or else …”
So, was that “motivation,” or just self-preservation?
It certainly was not inspiration.
In real estate, we hear about “motivated” sellers. To buyers, it’s supposed to convey that the seller really wants, or needs, to sell. It’s designed to give the buyer some negotiation incentive, or negotiating power.
In short, many things can motivate, including fear. “Motivated” people will do many things that, say, an employer wants him or her to do.
But, if you are an employer, would you rather have a motivated staff, or an inspired staff?
Inspiration is created from positive experiences. When a person can see that if he does this, he can achieve that, and what he HAS to do may be a chore, he’s inspired to do it because of the benefits of the outcome – to him or her.
An inspired employee works not just for the paycheck, but also for other positive enhancements at the end.
Motivated people, on the other hand, are doing things they HAVE to, but don’t WANT to.
Desire inspires. When you see a job or task as necessary to get what YOU want, not just what your boss wants, you become inspired. You perform the task with some degree of pleasure. A motivated person may take no pleasure in performing the job or task.
So, do you have a job that simply motivates you, or inspires you?
Is it just a job, or is it more of a calling?
If you work at a job, perhaps one you hate, perhaps one that doesn’t give you the life you want, you may want to look at the many programs out there that could inspire you.

If you’ve only been “motivated” for much of your adult life, it may be time to look for something that will inspire you.
Be it the relative pleasure of the task, or the potential reward at the end, look for that inspiration.
To an employer, motivation may be just as impactful as inspiration. To the worker, inspiration is so much better.
Peter

HARD TO RETIRE? WORK ON IT

#HardtoRetire #retirement #jobs #LeavingAJob #OtherInterests
It’s one thing to like a job.
It’s also one thing not to want to give up a business that you had founded.
But, eventually, there will be a time to go – particularly if you are 70-something.
In an article for the Washington Post, reporter Sindya N. Bhanoo discusses a couple of Baby Boomers who, even after they had “retired” officially, could not stop going to the office. The article was also published March 6, 2022, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
What eventually got them to stay away? COVID-19 and remote working.
Of course, these gentlemen were important to their companies. They were highly respected, One had even sold his share of the company, but did not stop hanging around. Staff did not know what to do, how to approach him, whether he should participate etc.
This wasn’t just transitional. The guys just didn’t know how to retire.
There have been numerous stories about people, particularly those 55 and older, who were essentially forced to retire because of the effects of COVID-19, or other reasons beyond their control.
The problem was they were not ready, financially, to retire. In the people profiled in the article, money was not the problem. They were just so comfortable at their offices they didn’t want to leave.
We all long to have jobs we love. Many people do. Most will want to leave them eventually. They hope that when they do, they won’t have to worry about money.
Most people who love their jobs also have other interests they put on the back burner while they are working, intent on pursuing them when they have the time – and money.
That’s certainly a healthy way to look at work. Today’s work environment changes so often – and often radically – that a job a person loves suddenly turns sour. The work life they so embraced becomes difficult, even toxic.
The best thing a working person can hope for is that when it’s time to go, the worker can go on his or her terms, with a smile.
Not everyone – in fact, relatively few – can say that’s what happened to them.
You’ll notice the caveat “when it’s time to go.” The worker may not know when that time is. But he or she can seldom dictate when that time will come.
The lesson here is, if you like your job, stay as long as your employer or company will have you. When the company doesn’t want you anymore – it may not be a decision against you personally – you usually know it. Things will start to happen to make your life difficult.
Preparing throughout your career for that day, since you almost never know when it will be, is the most prudent action you can take.
If you dedicate your life to your job, try to find some time to develop other interests. That will make departure a bit easier.
If you have no interests other than your job, be confident enough in yourself to believe you will find other interests as time permits.
Jobs and careers don’t often end with a handshake and a party. But if you get the handshake and party – or even if you don’t — go quietly thereafter.
Peter