Economic crisis: what to do about it RIGHT NOW!!
By Craig Nathanson - The Vocational Coach
Not since the great depression of 1929 have we seen such a
financial crisis, and frankly, the lack of national leadership
that we are experiencing now. Banks are failing overnight, Wall
Street greed and the chase after quick money has finally caused
this country to grind to a financial halt. All Americans are
worried now — from those with money, wondering how much
their nest eggs will shrink, to those who need the money in
their bank account just to live each month. My guess is that
a majority of Americans, especially those of us over 40, are
worried about simply making ends meet month to month. The challenge
of whether to pay the car insurance, make the car payment, or
simply buy food for the family, becomes a trade-off every month.
Sleepless nights over credit
Many people in this country didn’t sleep well last night,
waking up to worry about whether it was more important to avoid
being late on their payments (letting their credit slip), or
buy food and paying the electric bill to keep the house warm
for the cooler fall weather. I would guess that the last thing
on anyone’s mind right now is how to do the work they
love for the rest of their lives. Of the 70 million plus Americans
between 40 and 65, my guess is that more than half don’t
love their work, let alone like it. In fact, many dislike their
work, and even just HAVING to go to work each day, while worrying
more about keeping their family fed, is causing stress and illness.
The problem is overspending
Many of us have over-spent, and the regular bi-weekly paycheck
for the job we dislike barely covers our obligations —
and leaves most of us drained at the end of the day. Just this
week, in the small city where I live, the local planning department
announced plans to lay off half the department. I made a call
to offer outplacement services for their employees who would
be out of work, but the city representative sadly told me they
couldn’t afford this service.
The head of this planning department committed suicide just
a few days later. He was 55 years old, and distraught over the
possibility of losing his job, and perhaps his home —
it was just too much.
This new crisis must be faced with a sense of urgency
At one level, I wish our leadership was having around-the-clock
meetings over the lack of health care for millions of Americans,
the out-of-control cost of education, and the homeowner crisis.
On the other hand, we have a history of acting quickly without
a long range plan.
You need a long range plan for your work and life when you’re
Given the climate of uncertainly, this is the best time of
all to make a plan for your life that centers around your work.
Over 40, you have probably, on average, another 40 years to
live — that’s half your life. You can, like so many
people do, just wait for what life has to offer, but soon, you
will wake up and find yourself at 50, 60, 70 years old …
and wonder how time moved so fast.
The better alternative
The better alternative is to make a plan for your life around
doing the work you love. This is the path to an authentic life
full of integrity. Take, for example, the job you don’t
like — the one you are doing today — the one that
barely pays the bills. Well, one way to start is to move immediately
to another similar low paying job doing what you love! This
doesn’t solve your financial problems, but it does start
to improve your sense of confidence, self-esteem, and emotional
One of my clients — we’ll call him Bill —
works as a sales director for a company in the food industry.
He has had his current job for 10 years, and he just hates it.
He travels most of the week, he doesn’t care about the
product he sells anymore, and he has a demanding boss.
What should Bill do?
Bill saw the doctor the other day because he is having trouble
sleeping. The doctor said not to worry; Bill was just having
some anxiety attacks. Thanks, Doc!!
I told Bill, given that he had very little saved and very
little in retirement funds, and is living month to month, he
needed to take action. After much work getting him thinking
about it, Bill told me his greatest passion was reading. He
just loved to read, especially history books. Bill never thought
he could make this passion his vocation, but it turns out Bill
is also quite a good speaker, given his long years as a salesman.
A new beginning for Bill
After much trial and error, today Bill is working on a transition
plan. He has decided to go to school at night to get the necessary
credentials to become a high school history teacher. This will
only pay half of what he requires to maintain his household,
so in addition, he has been interviewing with an educational
firm that sells textbooks to schools — history textbooks!
He can spend two afternoons a week on this role given his schedule
as a teacher, and make up some of the extra income he needs.
Bill also found that he loved history so much, he wanted to
start a non-profit firm, and he was even able to get some small
funding for it. His new firm will provide programs to schools
to help children connect with American history. Bill was very
fortunate in having a supportive partner. His wife went back
to work part-time in local retail. Her small wage helps to pay
the mortgage. Overall, Bill has a new sense of freedom and control
over his life. While his economic situation in the short term
has not changed, he now has a plan which, with discipline and
daily actions, will move him towards an authentic life that
will make him happier — and make those around him happier
What can you do?
Negative thinking brings more negativity. Looking at new possibilities
will bring new creativity and possibilities into your life.
It all starts with a vision. Envision what you want now with
regards to your work.
Write it down — this is where the magic happens.
Start talking to others about your plan — this commits
you to moving forward.
Take small daily steps; Measure your progress; Learn to celebrate!
Like Bill, you can define a new plan for yourself based on
your own situation. Build a sense of urgency now about your
life and your work. This will force new decisions, new plans,
and new movement toward a better life.
You have many gifts and the world is waiting for you to offer
What are you waiting for? This is the best time ever to stop
worrying about the economy and start living a more joyful and
fulfilling life centered around your work.
Happiness doesn’t have to end or start based on the balance
in your checking account. It can start and grow based on the
love and joy in your heart. This can occur when you do the work
you love — after 40 this is absolutely necessary!
I’ll be cheering you on as you go!
Craig Nathanson is the author of P Is For Perfect: Your Perfect
Vocational Day and a coaching expert who works with people over
Visit Craig’s online community at www.thevocationalcoach.com
where you can take a class, get more ideas through Craig Nathanson’s
books and CD’s, get some private coaching over the phone
or in Craig’s office, or read other stories of mid-life
change and renewal.
Craig lives and works in Petaluma, California. His office
is located atP.O Box 2823, Petaluma Ca, 94953. You can reach
him at 707-775-4020 or at email@example.com.
Craig's Vocational Passion Newsletters are edited by Anita
Flegg at The Sharp Quill. The Sharp Quill -- www.sharpquill.com
-- specializes in writing and editing for small business. You
can see Anita's vocational story at http://www.thevocationalcoach.com/_vocational_community/_real_stories/story_anita.html
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