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

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

THE COSTS OF GOING TO WORK

#jobs #workforce #JobsNumbers #COVID19 #coronavirus #FlattenTheCurve
The 467,000 new jobs created in January 2022 were many times more than expected. Yet, “The Great Resignation” is leading people to quit jobs in large numbers. Perhaps, many are going to better jobs, or, at least, different ones.
Despite this good economic news, many have framed the current work/job environment as a case of generous benefits keeping people from looking – or taking – jobs. The January report should dispel that notion.
First, let’s dispense with the idea that people who are not in the job market are lazy.
For most, that’s hardly the case.
What people are doing now, that they may have not done before, is look at the costs, and the risks, against the rewards, of taking a particular job.
Though the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be waning – we could face a surprise new variant at any time, there are still risks to being up close and personal with others, especially where there are no rules or mitigations against viral transmission.
A sick worker is no good to either his or her employer or family. An unvaccinated worker is more likely to get sick and spread the virus. Not knowing whether the person next to you is vaccinated presents its own risk.
Secondly, presuming you have no ability to work from home – most in lower-paying jobs cannot work from home, you have to get to work.
You have to calculate how much of your paycheck is going to commuting. If it costs you a lot to get to work, and you don’t have enough left over after commuting costs to cover your other living expenses, that presents a disincentive to take a job.
Thirdly, if you have young children, and no means to care for them while you are at work, that presents yet another risk to taking a job.
Though most schools are staying open, some have periodic closings prompted by the virus. Perhaps too many students, teachers and staff are ill, or have exposure issues, and cannot be in school.
When too many people are absent, schools close, or go to online options. Of course it’s temporary, but it’s still a problem for a working parent.
The smaller number, and higher cost, of day-care options enlarge the problem for parents.
In short, the labor “shortage” we see is more complicated than government benefits that are too generous.
For some workers, particularly those whose spouse may earn a relatively high income, a worker may also find that his or her lower-paying job is generating an income that primarily pays taxes, and little else. There may be other reasons to hang in a job, i.e. benefits, pension credits etc. But, in some scenarios, one can easily put an entire paycheck into taxes alone.
Just as it may be hard for some employers to get enough people to keep his or her operation going, it may be just as hard for a worker to decide whether it is worth his or her effort to take a job.
In the long term, as birth rates decline and people make life choices that give them more flexibility, there will actually be a labor shortage. In that case, the only solution could be to allow more immigrants, refugees and others to come into the country. In fact, a recent U.S. Census report says the largest segment of population increase is coming from immigrants.
It’s no easy fix, but it is one that we all may have to fix together as a society. Jobs have to be more attractive. Services and solutions need to be available so workers can go to work without fear or worry.
Both employers and employees need to be part of any solution.
Peter

TRANSITIONS CAN BE HARD AND MESSY

#transitions #energy #CleanEnergy #FuelPrices #gasoline #ElectricCars
Transitions can be hard.
But, many must be gradual. Otherwise, they get messy.
Take energy. We are in transition from primarily burning fossil fuels to cleaner alternatives.
Trouble is, one cannot flip a switch – yet – and go from one to another.
When we move too quickly to change, we have the mess we have today. We are urging oil-producing countries to pump more oil to bring down prices, while we are urging energy users to move toward cleaner alternatives.
Again, transitions can be messy.
We can’t go to all-electric cars on a wide scale, without having the ability to charge them quickly mid-trip.
Currently, you can drive X miles in your electric car, then you have to recharge it.
That’s fine driving around town. Once your charge gets low, you can go home, plug your charger into your engine, let it sit overnight and it will be charged by morning.
To take that same car on a long trip requires having rapid-charging stations as abundant, or nearly so, as gasoline stations. One can’t afford to wait multiple hours to recharge a car mid-trip. That hasn’t happened yet, but it will.
Here’s another rub. Many states’ and countries’ economies depend largely on fossil fuel production. It won’t be easy for them to transition to clean energy, or some other form of economic prosperity.
Energy consumption in general went down during the pandemic, so fossil-fuel producers produced less. Now they are being asked to ramp up production as the post-pandemic economy starts to bounce back. The result: energy prices are rising. Do they produce more of the dirty stuff, only to have demand drop – again – as the economy ramps up and cleaner energy conversions take place? They have tough decisions all around.
All this begs the question: are you in transition now? Did your job go away during the pandemic, and now your employer wants you back, but you are not sure you want to go back?
When you lost your job, did you find a better one? Are you still looking?
If you are still looking, and don’t want to go back to the job you lost, know that there are many programs out there that can enable you to earn a potentially great income. You could even go back to your old job, if it’s still there, and do something new part time in your off-work hours. That could allow you to quit your old job sooner rather than later.
No specific education, experience or background is required for these programs. You just have to be willing to look at something you may have thought you would never do.
To learn about one of the best such programs, message me.
Transitions, be they societal, economic or personal, can be messy. But, in most cases, the reward on the other end is a better life for you, and, potentially, many others.
You should not look at these transitions as losses, though sacrifice is usually required. You should look at them as if you were participating in a sport. Games have their ups and downs, but they eventually end. Though we all want to be on the winning end, there will be some losses for everyone.
You need to have the grit within you to see the positives of transitional outcomes and work toward them.
Peter

JOB MARKET FAVORS WORKERS THESE DAYS

#coronavirus #COVID19 #FlattenTheCurve #workforce #QuittingYourJob #workplaces #jobs
The COVID-19 pandemic changed a lot about our attitudes toward our jobs or workplaces.
But, as Tom Baxter, columnist for the Atlanta-based Saporta Report, puts it: it’s been a long time coming.
Baxter categorizes the explanations for the high availability of jobs and the relatively high level of unemployment as ”low end” and “high end,” in his column published Oct. 11, 2021.
Low end: There is too much in federal benefits, so people get used to being on the dole.
High end: Workers are more thoughtful about what they want to do with their lives.
We’re starting to see more strikes, or threatened strikes, by unionized auto workers at John Deere and behind-the- scenes movie and TV workers at production companies. The movie production folks settled their dispute with the studios this past weekend.
Baxter argues that much of the so-called Great Resignation is actually ambitious people moving from one job to another, because they now have the flexibility to do so.
He explains that just-in-time manufacturing – allowing companies not to have to store inventory for a long time – and outsourcing – having gig workers and other companies handle chores that employees used to do – has led to what the pandemic unleashed.
These things led to greater job insecurity, reduced or eliminated benefits etc. So, if a gig worker does what you used to do, then become a gig worker. Baxter says many such workers are getting used to unsteady paychecks and no benefits – which they probably weren’t getting anyway as employees.
Job security has long been a thing of the past. People go into work every day not knowing when the next reorganization will eliminate their jobs. At least, with the frequency that it happens, people should be more prepared for it. That doesn’t mean it still won’t be a shock.
Baxter also points out that the stay-at-home spouse, with the other working, is also becoming a trend – again. The roles may be distributed differently between men and women now, but they are happening.
The column predicts that a combination of higher wages, economic necessity and workplace innovation eventually will draw some back to the job market, if they had left it by choice.
“Many of them will be better off for taking their time, and so will the businesses that hire them,” Baxter writes.
What he doesn’t point out is that there are many other programs out there that enable people to devote a few, part-time, off-job hours a week to potentially earn more money than they could make in their jobs.
No specific education, experience or background is required to take advantage of these. In short, anyone can do them.
The only two requirements: be open to looking at them if you are presented with them, and, if you decide one of them is for you, find the few hours you will need to work at them. As a bonus, you’ll get to help others do the same thing.
To learn about one of the best such programs, message me.
Things are looking relatively bright for labor at the moment. Certainly, we are all paying more for what we buy, but that may be a good trade-off to get workers higher pay , more benefits and more flexibility between work and life.
Employers are indeed competing for help. But, if you give the right people what they want and deserve, ultimately you will have no problem finding them.
Workers can pick and choose more freely what they do, and where they do it. Consider as many options as possible before choosing.
Both employers and employees should choose wisely.
Peter

LEVERAGE, POWER AND WORK

#jobs #employers #employees #coronavirus #COVID19 #FlattenTheCurve #NewNormal  #leverage
Gail has a job that was vital to her company’s operation.
The job is low level and low paying, relative to the stress and responsibility it imposed on her.
Gail wins a big lottery jackpot. She tells her company that, instead of instinctively quitting on the spot, she would stay until her replacement is hired and properly trained. In the end, Gail wanted to be paid her regular salary for that time, and, at the end, be paid for the unused vacation time she had earned.
The company said no. Gail walked. Gail had leverage. The company resented that leverage. (Read: employer cuts off nose to spite face.)
In short, this dispute was not about money. It was about power.
Today’s labor market is in turmoil. The COVID-19 pandemic has upended most normal operations.
There are many available jobs, yet relatively high unemployment. Employers say the dichotomy is caused by “excessive government benefits” that “pay people to stay home.”
If it were only that simple. Certainly, the benefits the government provided to cushion the effects on working people whose situations were completely destroyed by the pandemic have helped those workers make tough decisions.
Employers are trying to force normalcy, and want to create some sense of – for lack of a better word — desperation to bring back the employees they had to furlough. That would give them leverage.
Employees have many more decisions to make. First, since schools are trying to reopen normally, one COVID outbreak could shut down a class, or a school, instantly. (Having everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated – by whatever means — would be a big help). Does a parent go back to work and leave a child at home to “go to school remotely” on his or her own? (Many day-care alternatives dried up during the pandemic.) Does that parent want to risk getting ill by going back to a job, among the maskless unvaccinated, at which safety measures are not necessarily assured? (A worker is no good to anyone when hospitalized, or worse.)
It’s complicated. It’s forcing employers to be more innovative about their work places and work rules. It’s forcing employees to make harder choices: is it WORTH going back to work?
Adding to the complications is job availability. If a worker spent a career at Position X, but a different Position Y offers better pay, more flexibility and more safety, he or she is likely to choose Position Y, presuming he or she is qualified for it.
Where does that leave the employer of Position X? He or she can either complain about employees “being paid to stay home,” or find a way to get those employees, or new ones, back. It may require creativity, thinking outside the box and/or thinking less about himself, or herself, and more about the future of his or her business.
For employees, there are potentially oodles of options, some of which also may require creativity and thinking outside the box. If you are someone like Gail, without the big lottery jackpot in hand, there are ways to create a potentially lucrative income that involve spending a few, part-time, off-job hours a week pursuing something you may have never thought you would do. No specific education, experience or background is required. These are non-government programs that can potentially give you leverage with your employer.
To check out one of the best such programs, message me.
Meanwhile, we all have to figure out what the “new normal” will be. We have to learn lessons from this episode so that we are better prepared for the next one.
And, there WILL be a next one.
As had been said before, if you – employer — pay them properly, ensure their safety, provide flexibility and understanding in difficult situations and mitigate fear of sudden furlough, they will come. They will work.
If you don’t, they won’t. And you can’t force them.
Peter

WORK SHIFTS: PART 2

#work #workplaces #jobs #coronavirus #COVID19 #FlattenTheCurve
Brigid Schulte believes the workplace – at least office workplaces – should not go back to the way they were before the coronavirus pandemic.
Schulte, director of the Better Life Lab at New America, was interviewed by Henry Grabar in an article for Future Tense, published July 13, 2021.
Work, before the pandemic, really didn’t work for most people, she tells the reporter.
It encroached more and more on people’s lives. Some workers, including many so-called essential workers, were underpaid for the necessary work they did.
Others were asked to work more and more hours, taking more family and leisure time away from them, she said in the article.
With the advent of the pandemic, some workers spent more time at home, and started to realize what they were missing, the article points out.
Another issue: child care. With parents at home during the pandemic, they were worker, caregiver and teacher aide to their kids. Now, with the pandemic forcing many day-care and other services for children to close, that limits the options, particularly for women, the article points out.
What you now have is a care crisis, Schulte says in the article. That puts a heavy burden on women.
Then, there is the issue of career advancement. Schulte says that people who work in front of their bosses, or at least where their bosses can see them, can help advance their careers. They can at least give the appearance of being industrious, and, therefore, get noticed.
Those who work from home may produce good work, but it may make it harder to judge someone you don’t see in action very often, she said in the article.
The article talks about digital nomads, people traveling, looking for suitable wireless signals and doing their work while having a good time on the road.
“I think it’s too early to say that digital nomads are a red herring. I think it’s just really going to depend on the cultures that develop and what they allow, what they value, and ultimately what they end up rewarding. Because if you’re a digital nomad, but you keep missing promotions and you’re not getting pay bonuses and you’re not valued, well, I can imagine you’re going to get the message that even though the policy says you can do it, if it’s not working out in practice, you’re going to run right back to the office,” the article quotes Schulte.
So how do you fit in to these scenarios? Is your employer making you come back to the office, because, after all, he’s paying for that space? Or, is the employer allowing you the flexibility you want, without penalizing you, and, perhaps, even rewarding you?
If you are in the latter category, good for you. If not, you may want to rethink what you want to do with the rest of your life.
Fortunately, there are several programs that allow you not only to work from home OR outside the home, but also can perhaps give you a potential income that could dwarf what you are making dealing with all these obstacles.
And, you don’t have to quit your job. You can do these with only a few, part-time, off work hours a week to start. No specific education, experience or background is needed.
To learn about one of the best such programs, message me.
You’ll probably read and hear a lot more about workplace changes – the good, the bad and the ugly – over many years. Try to analyze them and work to make them compatible with your own situation. You can’t do anything about some things, but you probably can do some things that make everything work out for you.
Peter