The Job Loss MythWritten by Jean Fritz
Presidential candidate John Kerry is fond of stating that “... not since Herbert Hoover has any president lost more jobs than George W. Bush.” And there is a kernel of truth to statement; thanks to technology, jobs require less human intervention to complete. However, a larger factor in this seeming loss of employment is due to evolution of American workforce from a lot indentured to confines of one company or one job title toward Jeffersonian ideal of every person being a free agent, or indie.
The explosion in number of people going indie has a number of causes. Downsizing created realization that “job security” isn’t something other people provide, but something you have to create. Two-income families discovered that with their increased tax burden and overhead expenses for daycare, cleaning, housekeeping services, home maintenance and lawn care, a second income from paid full-time employment can actually be a liability. Individuals interested in becoming self-employed can segue more easily from employee to entrepreneur via indie route. Finally, career changers can obtain valuable experience and networking opportunities in their field of choice with contract work.
Indies may lose company-provided benefits, but that doesn’t mean they are without means. As an independent contractor, they are eligible to create Medical Savings Accounts, or they may be eligible to participate in a group health plan through organizations such as Chamber of Commerce. They can create their own retirement programs via SEP, SIMPLE, or IRA investments, or direct purchase of government-backed I-bonds. If they work out of their homes, they have access to extensive tax deductions not available to wage earners.
Five Steps to Vocational Passion: A Disciplined Plan for Major Mid-life ChangesWritten by Craig Nathanson
There’s a famous song lyric that asks: “Is that all there is?” Every seven seconds, an American turns 50 years old. So there’s a good chance that song is running through some of their heads. The question captures ennui that many people feel in mid-life. They look up at clock, see it ticking, and begin counting in their heads all mountains not climbed, poems not written, and songs not sung. It’s time to stop asking question idly. I’m offering five initial steps that you can take to evaluate your situation and to begin transition away from a meaningless grind toward a new life that provides you with energy and fulfillment. Vocational passion is an alignment of your abilities and interests in a role that gives you unlimited energy and happiness. This is not an overnight process. But it’s a process you can begin today. Step One: Evaluate Lots of people settle for jobs that pay bills but leave them feeling empty. If you want to break out of this trap and find another kind of life, you need to evaluate where you’d like to go. Examine where your passions lie. On a scale of 1-10, where are you when it comes to vocational passion? A “1” is a living drudgery where you force yourself to your desk every morning and dream about end of day; a “10” is a perfect alignment between interests and livelihood. Too many of us are closer to “1” than “10”. Anything lower than a “5” suggests your working life may be feeding your family, but at expense of starving your soul. Step Two: Envision Your Future You may have seen U.S. Navy ad that asks: “If someone wrote a book about your life, would anyone want to read it?” Here’s your chance to write that book – or at least outline. Sit down and write a short biography that describes who you are five years from now. Describe exactly life you wish to lead, doing work that you love. You will know you’re done with exercise when your heart races with excitement. Then imagine and write down your vision of a perfect vocational day. It’s difficult to achieve something that you have not clearly envisioned. Make sure your vision has clarity. Then document it and pull it out regularly, to refresh your desire to achieve that vision. Step Three: Tune Out Negative Feedback Understand this: The moment you announce plans to make a radical change in your life, many people will find move threatening and they will not wish you well. They will try to talk you out of it and tell you what a big mistake you’re about to make. Never let naysayers dictate your life. People who listen to negative voices end up with status quo. Step Four: Shore Up Your Support Network