TRANSITION VS TRANSFORMATION

#transition #transformation #COVID19 #FlattenTheCurve #coronavirus #LifeChanges
So you want to make a change in your life.
Will that change be a transition, or transformation?
What’s the difference? Perhaps it can be summed up by saying a transition is a minor change, while a transformation is a major change.
COVID-19 has forced most of us to make small changes in our lives. It’s also forced some of us to make bigger changes.
Whatever type of change(s) you had to make, do you want to go back to the way things were?
Many would say YES, because they miss some interactions. They miss being able to do some things they liked doing.
But very likely, there are some – even quite a few – who see this period as a time to transform their lives. They actually do NOT want to go back to the way things were.
Perhaps the job they did before COVID was not satisfying to them. When the job disappeared during the pandemic, they had no thought about going back, although their old bosses really wanted them back.
Perhaps the pandemic led to more time at home, with children, family etc. They probably got to witness more of their children’s activities than they could when they were working.
Many probably discovered that going to work was expensive – commuting costs, buying lunch every day, day-care expenses etc. If they didn’t have those things, they discovered they could live on less. Or, they discovered that the pay they got was almost entirely eaten by those expenses.
So, how did the pandemic affect you? Did it give you perspective on your life, to the point that you realize there are better things out there for you?
Maybe you feel that way, but don’t know what those better things are. So, you instinctively go back to what you know, even though you didn’t particularly like that old situation.
Meanwhile, a “new normal” is evolving, We may not see a complete eradication of COVID-19 for some time, if ever.
Society has been trying to eradicate some diseases for decades. Other diseases – perhaps COVID-19 will be among them – can be kept at bay with vaccines. If you are eligible, but not vaccinated, getting the shots, including boosters, is your best weapon against serious illness or death.
Regardless, it would be safe to prepare for COVID-19 to be around for a good while. Adjust as you must, but know that you may not have to take unnecessary risks. If we all bore in mind that the virus is always lurking, perhaps we can all take steps to minimize its effect on our lives.
That will require an effort by EVERY individual.
Peter

BEING A ‘NON-PLAYER’ NOT PRODUCTIVE

#Nonplayer #jobs #complainers “LaborMarket #employers #employees
A line from a Dilbert cartoon, by Scott Adams, says. “I’m a non-player character. I can only complain about my job and comment on the weather.”
The cartoon was published July 14, 2022, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The purpose of the line is to humorously illustrate how people think – or don’t think – at work.
People may complain about a job, but take no action to improve their situations.
In other words, “I’m here. I’m stuck. And I hate it!”
One may not be able to do much about the weather, but one can certainly do something about his or her work situation.
If you like WHERE you work, but don’t like WHAT you do, perhaps there are other jobs in that locale for which you can apply.
If you like WHAT you do, but don’t like WHERE you are doing it, you can look at other employers.
Today’s labor market is the best in decades. There are employers begging for help. Your options are probably greater than you imagine.
One should not feel he or she has to stay where he or she is, because there is nowhere else to go.
Employers in this market have to be creative to not only find the help they need, but also to keep the help they have.
This kind of labor market, plus disruptions in supply chains, oil markets, the food industry etc., coupled with post-pandemic pent-up demand for goods and services, are causing inflation today.
In the Dilbert cartoon, the question posed before the non-player statement was, “What do you think the government should do about inflation?”
The government has little control, and few available actions, to curb inflation. Politicians like to blame opponents for problems no one can really control single-handedly, but the reality is that foreign wars, pandemics and other phenomenon can dictate our terms of living.
Given how good the job market is, employees can be fortunate that they are getting raises that can help mitigate inflation, though most raises are not enough to make those employees feel significantly better off in these times.
Regardless of the uncontrollable problems in one’s life – the weather, inflation etc. – being a “non-player” and just complaining about things is not an option. YOU still have some control over your life. Work on the things you can control, and work around things you can’t.
Complaining and blaming are not strategies. You may not like someone or something, so you either improve your own situation, or move away from it.
Here’s hoping the labor market stays strong, inflation eases and storms are minimized.
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

LABOR SHORTAGES AFFECTING LOW-PAYING JOBS

#LaborShortages #LowpayingJobs #jobs #employment #EssentialWorkers
There is a shortage of school bus drivers.
Massachusetts had to get the National Guard to help.
Many nurses are ditching their full-time gigs to become traveling nurses, which pays them twice or three times as much.
There’s also a shortage in other front-line and hospitality professions. Finding substitute teachers is such a problem that some districts have lowered standards to qualify.
Giulia Heyward covered this subject in an article for The New York Times. It was also published Sept. 18, 2021, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
What to do? And, what does it mean?
Jobs that pay relatively poorly, but have a lot of stress and responsibility, didn’t attract many candidates, even before the pandemic.
Employers say they can’t afford to pay more. Well, the labor market is telling employers that if they don’t pay more, they won’t get the people they need.
We haven’t seen a labor market like this in quite a while.
People in some job categories are asking for what they have deserved for a long time. If they don’t get it, they walk to greener pastures.
COVID-19 has spurred this new labor market. Jobs like driving a school bus, or nursing, have even more stress now than they did before because of the real dangers of getting sick.
It’s tough enough to drive a school bus, or take care of sick patients, without the COVID-19 threat.
But the pandemic has added yet another layer of stress.
Plus, if a person gets sick, he or she is no good to anyone – family, employer etc.
That adds to the decision whether to take, or quit, a job. It makes the question , “is it worth it,” even more stark.
For workers, there are answers, other than just staying home. There are programs that enable a person to work from home, even part time, and earn an income that potentially could easily beat that of one of those stressful, highly responsible, but relatively low-paying jobs.
To learn about one of the best such programs, message me.
Meanwhile, it’s OK to analyze your work situation. It’s OK to ask yourself, why am I doing this? Am I getting enough back from all this stress?
The answer to that last question can take the form of money or intangibles. If you love driving a school bus – or you love the kids you transport – or, if you really love taking care of sick patients despite the stress, you may not want to give up those jobs.
But if your financial situation is not what you think it should be, you may want to enhance it with a little part-time effort that anyone, regardless of education, experience or background, can do.
Such an effort could take the financial sting out of that stressful job you may love – yes, you can do both things if you’d like to.
The fact remains that the labor market is changing. You can look for opportunities in those changes – remember the traveling nurses? – or, if your situation is too much to bear, or risk, look for something a little less risky and stressful, and perhaps even more lucrative.
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 1

#work #workplaces #jobs #coronavirus #COVID19 #FlattenTheCurve
Work, and the workforce is changing. Thank COVID-19 for that .
Anna North, in an article for Vox.com published July 13, writes that the five-day workweek is dead. More on that later.
A LinkedIn article says the pandemic has introduced three trends that are redefining the modern workforce: 1) Remote and hybrid models are quickly becoming the “new normal.” 2) Workers’ sense of possibilities is expanding. What people think of as a “good Job” has shifted, with flexibility rising to prominence. 3) The geography of jobs is realigning in ways that may have multi-decade implications. Job seekers are going to smaller places to live, rather than larger cities.
Finally, an article by Llewellyn King, executive producer and host of “White House Chronicle,” on PBS, says it’s time for “old bonds to be loosed and for new energy to be released” into the workforce. The article, written for InsideSources.com, was also published July 16, 2021, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
So, what’s happening and how is it affecting you? Are you still doing what you were doing before the pandemic hit? Did the pandemic make you rethink your life, or life’s work, and encourage you to try something different?
In the Vox article, the five-day workweek, which workers fought hard for during the Industrial Revolution, has been debated for decades. The early 1970s featured articles that said more leisure time was trending for workers, as jobs were scarcer than they are today.
One can debate whether one needs to go into work five days a week, as the other articles discuss, but it’s unlikely that most employers will allow their workers to spend any less time doing their jobs.
The LinkedIn article says what people thought of as a “good job” is changing. What do you see as a “good job?” Do you have one? Or, better yet, are you working just for money and nothing more?
King’s article takes the trend head on. He talks about how people found out during the pandemic that commuting was a drag. He also discussed how some people find life better without a boss, and are creating income through “gigs,” or starting their own businesses.
These trends are being labeled by some as just laziness, with too many prospective workers turning down jobs because of too much available government aid. They’re not seeing what’s really happening. People are beginning to re-evaluate what a job should be, how much of their time they should spend at it, and whether they should do it in a place dictated by someone else.
They are also re-evaluating whether a job that they had prior to COVID-19 is worth going back to, or is even available to go back to. There are certainly available jobs, but there seems to be more of a variety from which workers can choose. Someone may prefer to make widgets than wait tables, for example.
There is good news here, especially for those who are looking for something different, but the available alternatives they have seen just aren’t suiting their fancy. There are a number of programs out there that allow you to take, or keep, a job – if you are just working for money — and spend a few, part-time off-work hours building a potential future income that could dwarf anything you could find in the job market.
The best news: these programs can be done from home, or not, and you don’t need any specific education, experience or background to do them. Yes, there are no bosses either. To learn about one of the best such programs, message me.
The coronavirus has spurred workforce changes we will see for years, or decades, to come. Companies have to adapt. Workers have to adapt. The workers, though, may find more options than they ever thought. But, they have to be willing to look.
Peter

RETIRE, OR DON’T RETIRE

#retire #DontRetire #retirement #working
A man on a TD Ameritrade ad tells the financial adviser that he likes working, and that his retirement plan is to keep working.
So, the adviser says, instead of creating a retirement plan, let’s create a plan for “what’s next.”
“I like that,” the gentleman says.
Oh, if only it were that simple. One likes to work, so he just keeps working. He may vary what he does as he ages, but he keeps working because he wants to.
It seems a rather inappropriate ad for this economic milieu. Today, most employees essentially have no say on when they stop working. If they don’t retire when the company wants them to, usually they are given signals to go, or else ….
Worse yet, in many situations, many are forced out of jobs either well before retirement age, or before they had planned to retire.
And, many of these folks want to keep working. But their options suddenly become very limited. They may be forced to take a job that either they don’t enjoy, pays much less than their previous job did or gobbles up more of their time than they care to give to a job. If you selected all of the above for your situation, you are not alone.
So how does one deal with planning for retirement, or for “what’s next,” in this milieu? First, as soon as you begin your career, get your head in the right place. Know that the following will, or is likely to, happen:
• The job that you were hired to do will change over time, perhaps sooner than even you may expect. If you like what you are doing, you may not like what you will be doing next. If you like where you work, you have to decide whether the changes in your employment situation are worth staying with your employer, or trying to find something more to your liking. The current job market has improved enough over the last decade that you may have more options than you realize.
• As you get older, and earn more employee benefits, you become a greater cost to your employer. Don’t necessarily go by your parents’ advice that says if you keep your nose clean, show up every day and do good work, you’ll have a job for life. Someone came up with an arbitrary matrix some years ago that says something like: in the first three years, you get more out of an employee than you pay him. After three years, as the cost of that employee increases, you are paying him more than you are getting from him. You’ve heard of being on the clock? Well, you may be on the clock for more reasons than you think.
Given all that, here’s what you do: first, save. It doesn’t matter how much, initially, you save. Even $5 a week will work, if you are not making much. You may have to go without some pleasures to do it, but do it, and don’t touch the money unless there are dire circumstances, or you are making a long-term investment in, say, a house. Also, put any raises you get into that savings. If your costs go up, cut out more discretionary spending.
Secondly, come up with a plan B that could put money in your pocket whether you survive for years at a job, or not. There are many such vehicles out there that will allow you to spend a few part-time hours a week off work, and potentially make an income that could eventually dwarf what you are earning now. To learn about one of the best such vehicles, message me.
Meanwhile, follow the old adage that says, “plan for the worst, and hope for the best.” Because you like a certain job doesn’t mean you can keep it. After all, the job doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to your employer. He or she can do with it whatever he or she pleases, even move it to a different country, or replace it with a machine.
A good job is a gift. Certainly, one earns a good job. And certainly, one can become really good at that job. It doesn’t mean the gift can’t be taken from you. It’s up to you to prepare for when the worst happens, even if it doesn’t.
So, if you like working, that’s admirable. Just don’t presume that you can always do what you like, for as long as you like.
Peter

WORK UNTIL YOU ARE 70? REALLY?

#SuzeOrman #WorkUntilAge70 #retirement
Suze Orman has made a fine career of giving retirement and other financial advice.
But when she advises people to work until age 70, Wes Moss, who writes the Money Matters column in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and also has a radio show of the same name on WSB AM, begs to differ.
Moss discussed the matter in a Nov. 7, 2017, column.
Certainly, medical advances and the like have made living longer possible. Some folks may even enjoy their work to the point of never thinking about giving it up. Others may believe that the longer they are able to keep working, the better off they will be financially.
Moss points out that the latter is pretty much Orman’s philosophy. He quotes an old joke in financial circles: “How do you never run out of money for retirement? Work until you die,” Moss writes.
In Moss’ mind, perhaps the most important reason for not setting 70 as a retirement age is that “you may lose the sweet spot of your retirement – the years when you are healthy and active enough to live out your post-career dreams to the fullest,” he writes.
Certainly, the Social Security Administration has inched up the “full retirement” age to 67 from 65, where it was for decades. But Moss points to a Bloomberg News article that says Americans are retiring later, dying sooner and are sicker in between.
Here’s something else Moss points out: companies largely do not want older workers around. Younger workers are generally cheaper. So, even as workers approach middle age, they become vulnerable to being forced out of their jobs for one reason or another.
If you are among those who are nearing retirement, and don’t have lots of money saved, take heart. There are many ways out there you can make money in your spare time, say, a couple hours a week, without taking a second W-2 job, or working overtime (if available) in your first job. To check out one of the best such vehicles, message me.
In short, unless you really love your job, think about retiring as soon as you are able. If you can foresee your job going away before you want it to, take measures to soften the blow when it comes. If you do the right things – spend less without depriving yourself, save more money, invest well etc. – you might even be able to walk out of your job with a smile.
As Moss says, you shouldn’t make it a goal to sacrifice the best years of your retirement by working those extra years. And, once you do retire, you shouldn’t waste time sitting at home, and not venturing out of your comfort zone. Have dreams. Fulfill them. Retire with no prejudices, no pretenses and no burdensome obligations.
That isn’t to say that there are some jobs that are so great, you don’t want to give them up unless you have to. But, chances are, no matter how good you are at what you do, eventually your employer is going to want you gone.
If you’re lucky, when your employer wants you gone, he or she will offer you a package to leave. If you get an offer like that, remember that few people who take them ultimately regret that decision. If you are being paid to leave, the message you should hear is that the employer want you out.
So, if you are a Suze Orman devotee, remember that not everyone agrees that one should work until he or she is 70. A better philosophy might be this: when is the SOONEST I can retire? Once you’ve determined that, think about not only how you are going to pull it off financially, but also what you will do with your new-found time.
Work, dream, save and retire.
Peter