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Lasting good opportunities in an indefinitely bad economy

Now is a particularly good time if you are a dabbler and your attitude does not require constant adjustment.

A lot of people say they like challenges.

Well, take a look around.

With the exception of the upper one percent, challenges abound for all of us.

Even the one percent has challenges—they typically just are not those of the economic variety.

“The economy is bad and will likely get worse.”

This is seemingly as rosy a view as any you will read these days.

As an optimist myself, I tend to try to draw positives from negatives.

Quite naturally, I cannot help applying my general sense of optimism to the economy.

If you are someone closer to retirement rather than college grad age, your options are not as abundant as the latter demographic.

For the older worker fortunate enough to still have a job, I hear the words “hanging on” a lot.

That is a hard way to live.

A friend once told me that hanging on does not end well.

“When you are just hanging on, you will eventually slip and fall.”

If that is how you feel about hanging on, too, then it would appear you are negotiating the remaining segment of your working future from a position of weakness and not one of strength.

Some older workers are rethinking retirement altogether.

Personally, I see myself working in one capacity or another until my last, dying breath.

It does not have to be something full-time mind you; I will be perfectly content to stay working part-time doing something I am good at and enjoy.

If you are of the former demographic and are a younger person, options are more abundant.

By virtue of their youth, a young person has more potential opportunities to explore than someone who is older.

Ageism, while subtle and extremely difficult to prove, exists. Its effects can be devastating and I am sympathetic to anyone who has had to endure it in the workplace.

Historically, however, and ageism aside, more job opportunities overall have been available to youth. It is simply the way it has always been, just more so in today’s difficult economic climate.

So how do older workers counter all these obstacles and dabble?

Older workers must diversify, learn new skills and be more flexible to change if they wish to continue working into what used to be retirement age. Throw away traditional expectations of entitlement that tenure or many years of service with a company might bring, too.

Younger people, although with more options for employment, face decisions that are both interesting and difficult.

The good thing is that this is the good thing.

Young people are rightfully questioning whether a college education makes sense.

College is a huge investment monetarily and if one hopes to “capitalize” on this investment, they have to narrow down their choice of degree to obtain.

Once there was a time when a liberal arts degree was a popular choice if you were unsure what you wanted to do and still expected a job upon graduating (by virtue of having your degree). There is no such guarantee of a job just because you are a college graduate, anymore. Today, many younger people wisely do not have that sense of entitlement about their degrees and jobs.

Consequently, there is a tremendous amount of pressure on young people to know what it is they want to be and do with their working lives.

They will be strapped with oppressive student loan debt upon graduating, and to not have a good job when they do so is a recipe for despair.

Short of knowing what you want to be when you grow up, it could be time to dabble.

Consider an apprenticeship in a trade.

Consider the military. (If you are thinking of joining the ranks of the enlisted, please take an aptitude test to see what military vocations you qualify for. If interested, be sure to get it in writing (read contract) just what military occupation you will be trained in and performing, so you will not be spending four years in the Navy chipping paint, for instance (not that chipping paint is bad, it is necessary and a lot of folks in the Navy do it; you just don’t want that to be your main job, and the pre-enlistment contract ensures that will not happen)).

Consider traveling internationally provided you have sufficient resources to do so. Experiencing other cultures and people of the world is invaluable, real world learning whose lessons will stay with you all of your life.

The composite theories found in college learning may not be as valuable today—whether you are younger or older, in terms of return on investment.

It’s tough out there.

And it’s hard to know which way to turn or what to do.

I keep coming back to diversifying.

It is what a lot of companies have been forced to do in order to remain in business.

People that choose to dabble occasionally in life when it comes to their career moves, are changing, staying viable and “remaining in business.”

There are opportunities to be found. Change will occur whether you like it or not. Creating and being part of change that positively shapes our attitudes will generate satisfaction with our professional choices.

It is important you “put it out there.” You, and the world, stand a better chance if you do.

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