The Corona virus, economic chaos, and climate change have turned everything upside down and on its head.
As I reflect on life, I think about how different the world was some 50 years ago. Now, as an elder, I ask myself if there is any advice I could possibly offer someone young, or someone who is working to make a fresh start, that could help amidst all of this chaos.
With mandates to remain sheltered at home, many of us may be experiencing an abundance of time. There was an old axiom that said, “time is money.” But with technology moving so fast, the new paradigm is “money is time.” Which makes this moment of “global-pause” a treasured gift.
What useful tips and ideas have I gained from my own life experiences that could possibly aid others in dealing with a future of uncertainty?
First, I might create an intention to be self-sufficient. It doesn’t necessarily mean that I want to work alone, but it is the idea that I could provide a service for which people would be willing to pay me.
Embracing this idea will set into motion invisible forces that will begin working on my behalf. I would try to do this while in school, because there will be less pressure and the positive feedback of any kind of success would create a state of well-being.
My father went to an Ivy League school. His best friend at the time was called into the Dean’s office and told by the Dean that he would have to divest himself of several of the enterprises he had created to give some of the other students a chance.
He actually was earning more than the Dean. What had he done? Among some of the endeavors was a laundry service for the dormitories and numerous concessions at the sporting events. He had the ability to look around and see where there was an opportunity and then act upon it.
But if you are no longer in school, are already in an unsatisfying job, or simply a bit lost at this time, the most important element would be to create this intention and be open to what comes to you.
Secondly, I would begin to observe the environment around me with another set of eyes. I would look to see what skills I have and what I could already do or might be able to learn relatively easily. The idea is not necessarily that this will be a life career, but that it will be a skill set or practice which I could count on when needed. I would look to see if there is something people need but is not being done, or not being done well.
Thirdly, think portability. This is a skill set you could take with you wherever you go.
And fourthly, see if there is a hobby you might like to pursue that could have a financial reward attached to it. Here are some examples of what I am talking about:
I once read about a banker who hated his job, but loved raising racing pigeons. He bred these birds and sold them. One day he woke up and saw that he could make a living with this hobby.
The daughter of another friend of mine had flunked her senior year of high school and was literally unequipped to enter the job market when she did finally graduate. She volunteered to work at no pay for a veterinarian and learned how to groom animals. Now she has a highly successful portable grooming business going to clients’ homes and grooming their animals.
A friend’s son, while in law school, went to Thailand during the summer break and trained in Thai Massage. He gave several massages a week while in law school.
I rented my house once to a young entrepreneur who had bought a translation service from a fellow he had met on the beach. In effect he was matching those who needed translations of business documents with those who could do it.
A friend of mine, Winton Churchill, has a website called Barefoot Consultants. While it is aimed at teaching retiring baby boomers ways in which they can live abroad and stretch their dollars, some of the ideas and training programs can certainly be utilized by younger generations entering the work force. He is particularly fond of the website UpWork, where services are exchanged worldwide, and other sites that promote teaching English as a second language.
While these are challenging times, there is always opportunity, especially with the gift of time, to hit the RESET button. Become aware of what presents itself to you.
Sanderson Sims, April 8, 2020
Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst