Posted in Education

Between Desired and Retired

an animated clock
Image via Wikipedia

How to manage the productive years.  No matter where you’ve started from, there’s a way to achieve satisfaction!

It starts out when we’re young impressionable teenagers.  You know the story.  Suzie is determined to graduate at the top of her class so she does the extra credit, Joe joins the debate team, and Pat is elected to be school paper editor.  Then on the flip side, there’s the group that just wants to “make it through” to graduation day and be done with school.

While some have their eye on a ball (even if they’re not sure what game they are playing), others are going through the motions because that’s what they believe they’re supposed to do.  Either way, my point  is that your present and your future is a choice!  Your choice.

So you just walked across the stage dressed in cap and gown.  The late nights cramming your brain full of mind-numbing details, reciting, preparing, eating junk food and drinking lots of coffee to prove that you can produce a cogent theory for your professors and in front of your peers is over!  Right?  Wrong…you just got out of training camp!  The real work begins now.  With at least four years of practice under your belt you should be a pro at selling your ideas…now you just have to sell yourself.

Don’t treat the interview process like a newby trying out for a school musical–butterflies in the stomach, dry mouth, fear of losing your thoughts.  Remember, you’ve crafted yourself into a talented and capable contributor to a field or specialty of some sort.  Before you go in for an interview, remember what made you desire that particular specialty.  What was it that kept your interest or drove you to keep trying to better understand during your academic career?  Is there some aspect that you feel you are especially good at, that peers and professors alike commented on about your thinking, work, ethic, persistence?  These are points you want to make apparent during the question/answer session of your interview.

If you already have had several jobs, what is it about the combination of experience that makes you an especially good candidate for employment?  Is it people, is it processes?  Maybe you’ve developed a knack for articulation or presentation?  Think about all of these things days before your interview so you can piece together the story that  makes you a must hire.  Sell a story that show’s you are relevant, valuable and a perfect fit for the organization you desire to be employed by.  Do your homework and figure out what you think their organization’s greatest assets are, and what their least valuable aspects may be.  (The latter must be tactfully/tastefully backed up with facts and articulated in such a way that the interviewers are left with no choice but to agree–most importantly, how adding you to their team will improve their weaknesses, create efficiencies and enhance their assets.)

Once you become part of a team that best fits with your principles and ideals–a job that you enjoy waking up every day and going to, make sure that you remind yourself of why you asked for and accepted the position.  Ask yourself, have I delivered on my sales pitch?  If not, have you taken all the necessary steps to achieve your objectives?  Perhaps you need to be a little higher on the ladder to make the changes it would take to make your company more competitive–to possess a larger market share.

Perhaps becoming your own boss is a more attractive option to you.  Another article I’ll be writing soon is related to the number of women I see starting new businesses.  Entrepreneurship can be a rewarding  endeavor if you have done your homework and have a plan for a healthy work-life balance.

If you find yourself at the end of a career, is there a way you can use your talents and experiences to strengthen the younger generation?  Social and Community Service organizations, Chamber of Commerce, Libraries, Schools and Universities are great places to share your insights.  Meetups are great places to find others with similar interests.

Our society has some changes to evolve through before we get comfortable with the fact that people are simply living longer.  The legal retirement age in the United States is 67 years of age if you were born in 1960 or later, (read here for more details about retirement) 65 if you were born in 1937 or earlier.  If you’re like me…I don’t think I ever want to “retire.”  Retirement to me is living life only for myself because I can no longer use my strength, energy, and imagination to be a contributing member of society.  There will be periods of time where I take a sabbatical from the daily grind of a 9 to 5, but generally speaking, I must put my capabilities to good use.

You do not have to be stuck in a “go nowhere” job.  If you come from an environment that was not encouraging of obtaining higher education, its never too late to go back to school.  Don’t believe me?  Just read about Kansas’ own  Nola Ochs who graduated college at age 95.  If you graduated college in a particular field but can’t find a job…MOVE!  I am a firm believer in the fact that all roads lead to another, and, where there’s a will, there’s a way.  Do not give up!  Best of luck to all who are searching for jobs.

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Posted in Education, Relationships

Don’t Wait For A Crisis

Nissan Paramedic.
Image via Wikipedia

There are simply some things in life you MUST plan for in advance in order to emotionally transition through the changes with as little stress as possible!  Putting off the inevitable only makes endurance more difficult and draws unprepared bystanders and loved ones into your crisis.

If you have teenagers or elderly parents and have been dealing with some of the medical, logistical, and financial consequences of existing you know what I’m talking about.  For the sake of those who are not yet in a state of crisis, lets review some decisions that we should all think about and prepare for LONG BEFORE the moment of need arises:

  • Financing for children’s college
    • Are you banking on scholarships, work-study, financing?
  • Family vacations (this is a necessity for sanity’s sake)
    • You must budget for get-aways so you don’t fall into credit card debt
  • Retirement lifestyle and location
    • Will you live a sedentary or active lifestyle when you retire? Where do you want to retire?
  • How to cope with loss
    • Loss doesn’t have to wait until you’re old…it happens at all ages–plan for all possible scenarios
  • Organ donation
    • Whatever your decision, discuss it with your family and document it in a living will
  • Medical decisions in emergency/life response situations
    • Who will be your advocate?  Do you want to be on life support or let nature take its course?
  • Long Term medical care arrangements
    • Especially important discussion if you have Alzheimer, Dementia, Heart or organ failure in your genes
  • Senior living/assisted living transition plans
    • If both husband/wife still alive and needing different levels of care will you be in the same facility?
  • Last Will and Testament
    • Make sure this document is prepared, notarized and the family is informed the document exists
  • End of life arrangements (burial place/cremation)
    • This decision is one you should make, discuss your desires with your spouse and document

Dealing with family communication complexities in a moment of medical or financial crisis can be just as tricky as negotiating a dispute between waring nations.   Don’t wait until your father or father in-law falls and breaks a bone to decide “how” and “who” will deal with the logistics of the situation and how to communicate what’s happening and what needs must be met to the remainder of the family.

If you use my list above and then ask questions about each major bullet.  For instance:  As you  watch the news and a story falls into the category “Medical decisions in emergency/life response situations”  ask yourself:  “How would I or my family deal with this exact scenario.  What consequences would I be forced to deal with?  Here are some factors that you must consider:

  • Will dealing with this crisis require time away from my job?
  • Will another person become completely dependent upon me for basic life skills (eating, hygiene, transportation, medicines, legal)
  • If I have my plans made out but am unable to execute them due to impairment (coma, paralysis, etc) who will administer my documented plan of action that I trust to follow it to the letter?
  • How will this impact your family financially ~ are you prepared to deal with it–what are your options?
  • Who will be the communicator in a crisis (spouse, co-worker, child, sibling, friend?)
  • Who will help you in your recovery?

One person cannot shoulder the burden alone for trying to understand how best to deal with such delicate situations.  You have even less creativity, imagination, and time to cope when a crisis hits.  Make sure you take some time to consider these thoughts and then ask yourself–“Am I prepared?”