Unemployed at age 50
The Value Within Our Communities
In the Zone
The goal of this magazine is to facilitate conversations using content aimed at fostering discussion about issues and their perceived impact on families and communities.
Editor: Andrew Crudup
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All artwork created by artist Anthony Crudup www.mirhez.org
Twenty One years ago I wound down a military career, looking forward to a stint in corporate America leading teams tasked with building applications that would transform business
Eighteen years ago I managed thirty contractors working in five fortune 500 companies transforming business processes into productive collaborative cultures extracting value from this newly packaged resource called a “data warehouse”………
Thirteen years ago, my youngest child is off to college; retirement is in view and I can see light at the end of a 30 year tunnel. Finally I will get to see this beautiful blue marble and sprint off into my golden years, proud of my accomplishments, financially set, comfortable, blessed with a great and wonderful family, thanking God for my great health and fortune.
September 2008 Wall Street implodes. Some of the biggest companies in America go bankrupt, Congress looses it head, Congressional members feud over abstract ideological concepts while the wealth of the middle class is stolen. Companies are laying off in massive numbers to preserve profit. In the same year Americans elect the first AfricanAmerican president (yeah!) and there is an optimism that all will be good.
January 2010, the business division within the company where I’m working downsizes and is sold off; Unemployed I went back to school in an attempt to improve my pedigree; I obtain my third degree; I decided to start a small Technology consulting firm
My vision for retirement just a couple of years ago (traveling the big blue marble) has gone the way of the dodo bird…. Today At home I find myself saying goodbye to my former life and deciding to take on this new season, a season filled with creative pursuits and self expression.
In an attempt to make this change work I cut down on the usual amenities (playing golf, going to ballgames), stop going to the movies, and learn how to make several variations of great dinner dishes featuring ramen noodles, mixed vegetables, and frankfurters.
Analyzing changes over the last decade, I realized my life needed some sprucing up if I am to receive the harvest from the gifts God put in me. My biggest challenge would be courage in the midst of change. I had to learn not to be afraid of criticism and to embrace difference. Decid-
ing I was too young for retirement and still possessed some desire to contribute and serve, reinventing myself was not only necessary but mandatory.
Strengths that could contribute to this rework included my work experience, great intellect, health and business acumen. Weaknesses include perceived inability due to age, limited capital, lack of courage to engage and resources.
After sending out many resumes extolling to perspective employers the value in hiring me I knew traditional routes to employment were fleeting. Given the environment, my best chance at success resides in the ability to reinvent myself demonstrating value for these times. The greatest product I have to offer is ingenuity and experience. Unlike outdated airplanes flown to the bone yard to watch the sun set, I am still too young to be put out to pasture. My motor works well, my accessories are still functioning and I can still ignite the afterburners when needed.
This led me to Mirhez Publishing and the Facilitator Magazine. My attempt to create value by passing on to the world some of the “pearls of wisdom” accumulated over the last 30 plus years in the workforce.
There is a whole generation who grew up on slogans like “Just Do It” and I figure I could provide some value born in life concepts like citizenship, involved parenting, community cohesion, and civic responsibility.
My prayer for the upcoming issues of this magazine is for God to anoint the contributors offerings with the ability to stave off any doom born from division, offense, civic apathy and individualism.
In the mean time I hope the readers receive value from within its covers and appreciate the work involved in creating the articles, storytelling, and illustrations made from love.
Drew Crudup Editor
By M. Hunter
AsAmericans we are conditioned, based on process, that the solution to many of our problems begins at the end of a line. It is so routine that by the time we are age 50, this becomes a common reflex when there is a sign of a problem.
A medical problem a line at the doctors office problem with the car a line at the repair shop, problem with a utility a line at the utility company. Although we may not physically be standing in line all the time, our search for resolution is often stacked against others in a similar predicament ; In effect, placing us in a situation-based line waiting for a result. This is the same reflex we undergo when we find ourselves laid off and searching for a job. Immediately we head for job fares, career centers only to find that frustrating line.
For some, based on their circumstances and attributes, this makes sense, for others the remedy is not found standing in line. For this group remedies are found through the establishment of a line of a different sort. a line of possibility A line where others seek your solution or product. This article is a commentary on creating this type of line when searching for a job.
When the job search lines are long and circumstances challenging there are two types of lines jobseekers should create. The first line involves; Lining up potential employers - Creating a line for potential employers who need your lifetime of skills and wisdom to turn their failing processes into productive ones. You do this by :
(a) Evaluating your strengths and weaknesses and drilling down on how you could transform prospective company’s into winners.
(b) Sizing up companies that have a demand for your skills. Do some research and find out how close they are to “Turning the lights off” and form a strategy on how you can improve their profitmaking ability.
(c) Engineer ways to get an audience with hiring managers at the companies on your list to demonstrate your genius. Usually you or someone you know has a relationship with someone
(d) Be prepared to demonstrate your talents. Practice it! People in this age group have experienced a lot during their work history. Knowledge and skills which may be what the doctor ordered for the prospective company. Using your research build a routine of answering questions that will highlights this crucial experience.
The second line is ; Your own product or service line (reinvent yourself)Create a line of potential customers for your phenomenal product or service.
Recently I read an article about Apple Computer Company founder Steve Jobs. In it he talks about when he was released by Apple (fired). He goes on in the article discussing how the firing was the best thing that ever happened to him because it forced him to reevaluate himself, setting the stage for his genius to emerge. Imagine Steve Jobs going to work for Microsoft or any other technology company. (I can’t)
Often genius is found when we are removed from our comfort zones and forced to take a position beyond standing in the “proverbial line.” The genius we are searching for emerges because we know the risk we’re taking is a big one. One where there is a lot riding on the outcomes. In cases like these extra care is taken to ensure everything is in place. A special measure of due-diligence is needed. For me this is a good way to be. In this mode you will find you make very few mistakes and the results produced are something to be proud of. Its times like these when past experience supplies the knowledge to imagine dependable solutions needed to make it through, whether it is for another company or your own.
So if you find yourself at age 50 or older, unemployed, don’t be dismayed. You are in good company and there are many examples of those who made it while encountering similar circumstances. Remember no matter how you arrived here, your are here! Make the best of your experiences. The road you traveled taught many valuable lessons, Good Luck.!
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Jobs, Jobs, Jobs; Next Steps…….
Today there are many able-body people searching for jobs to make ends meet. Gone are the boom days of the 1990’s, the internet boom and the blossoming housing markets in the 2000’s where millions were employed. Our economy has shed jobs and along with them wealth. To date it appears we are at a loss for how to get them back.
Lately many blame the Obama administration and its stewardship over the economy. But the truth is, we have entered into a global marketplace and are competing for markets against countries who a couple decades ago did not possess the skills to compete. Unless we creatively figure out how to compete on this stage, generate local markets and compete in markets within the growing world economies, the prosperity we experienced a couple of decades ago may never return.
We are experiencing a job creation stalemate because of gridlock at the local, state and federal levels , founded on the belief that job creation starts with benefits to the rich and an ideological desire to immediately cut the federal deficit
The problem in the US is political gridlock and the blame game leveraged by politician and community leaders. This will not create jobs. We are brainwashed to be-
lieve that corporate America and the rich holds the keys to job creation. Nonsense!
The way back to prosperity is through empowering communities and its entrepreneurs. We have great diversity, with great ideas. We just need to stop the bickering about whose to blame for the slow economy and lack of jobs.
Something to consider Prosperity begins with putting people back to work immediately. We must create markets locally that increase demand for goods and services which in-turn will spur job growth. Right now leadership in communities across America should be querying brain trust for ideas related to needs. Key needs within core areas, like infrastructure, energy, health care and education.
Other considerations include receiving assistance (not rejection) from government (local and federal) that will create regulation to;
- Assess and only allow market access to businesses willing to participate in balanced trade
- Regulates banks and other lending institutions to participate in fair lending practices and release (lend) cheap money to small businesses and entrepreneurs
- Explore policies and practices that keeps jobs and money in the local communities and does not allow transfer of jobs to other countries
- Punish US corporations who were created in this country, benefit from our markets, but do not pay their fair share in taxes
Our leaders should stop blaming the US Congress and the President and focus on collaborative policies (public-to-private) that;
- Provide on-the-job training (when possible) of task to willing job seekers in critical labor situations when there are not enough laborers in labor pools with a critical skill. This training should be pulled from local resources first before providing opportunity to resources outside of the local area.
- Seek community collaboration from successful businessmen and woman
within the community and brainstorm possibilities of creating organizations and industry that will spur job growth.
- Pick from a select group and provide skills and management education with the expectation that those selected will contribute to a service commitment within the community for a predetermined period. Not everyone is cut out for college, but there are those who can be educated in a non-traditional environment to handle and manage specialized repetitive tasks.
- Set up community brain trust and angel investors to initiate and find projects with a goal of identifying promising projects and provide capital to fund these projects with the expressed purpose of creating community jobs. Most important is the fact this activity must start now. Americas businesses are sitting on money. Identify critical projects locally and allocate resources immediately. Determine critical components, dependencies, and paths to accomplishment. Allocate and distribute funds to viable local projects now without delay! The equation goes like this;
Jobs + consumer confidence = growing markets , greater tax revenue & reduced deficits
The quicker we get people back to work, the easier it will be on all of us
This article was written in 2010
Recently whilelounginginmylivingroom I was watching the local news and there was a story about the rates of joblessness and its effect on our community. According to the story companies were having a difficult time finding candidates with the skills sought. The story had me wondering whether or not my vast experiences would be valuable in this situation.
With the recent challenges associated with the biggest job loss and unemployment in a generation an examination of my skills and talents is what the doctor ordered. It helped me realize some shortcomings and strengths.
After a military career, positions in corporate America, a stint in the non-profit realm, a taste of business ownership, some additional formal education and a desire to contribute to my community, I found I possessed skills that would help businesses in general and possibly my community. The question became how do I pass them on to those who needed them.
During prosperous economic times our tendency is to dismiss certain skills and consider them irrelevant . Today, there is great need in communities which lack resources to provide skills sought by companies.
I read , heard about and experienced shortcomings within companies related to management of enterprise information technology resources. Stories about how we have to import people to this country to perform these tasks. Many times the reason given was related to a lack of resources with the attributes to learn these skills.
My first response was What? There are so many young, smart people around, kids who mastered using the very technology we were incorporating into corporate America Why cant we teach them these skills?
I remember in the late 90’s the wave of citizens from India and other countries pouring into the US learning IT
software development methodologies, project management skills and the like. I remember working with many of these resources and many times project milestones were missed because of issues which could have been remedied using newly trained local sources mentored by an experienced resource.
Within the last decade while working in corporate America seeing how many of our IT resources were coming from abroad (IT developers from Mexico, Call center personnel from the Philippians and IT resources from Russia) I noticed that many of our systems and processes were developed by people who were foreign to us. Now that I look back I can see there was a transfer of wealth taking place right under our noses. Today the fastest rising economies in the world (BRIC countries ) Brazil, Russia, India and China are many of the countries where the resources used by American companies came from. What a coincidence.
I never understood this because there were so many in our local communities looking for jobs and the training programs were programs preparing the young for jobs in hospitality management, auto repair and retail. Industries who traditionally paid low wages and in an information age didn’t hold much value in an economy that was built on the transfer and dissemination of information. Why didn’t we see the need to educate our youth in the skills which are dominating the information age and garnering the greatest percentage of wealth.
The value in this instance depends on perspective. To me the value is in the abundance of an intelligent source that could give our communities an edge in the global marketplace and allow America to compete for jobs that will shape the next century.
With shrinking budgets individual personal experi-
This article was written in 2010
ences can go far and I would hope this time we don't import the resources from abroad; there are many in our communities with this knowledge, lets put them to work remedying the gaps in our labor force teaching the vast amounts of youth skills where they could compete in one of the fastest growing segments of the global economy.
Many of us at times discount the value in skills learned due to their relevance to critical objectives identified in pursuit of a career or other noteworthy goals. We put these experiences on the back-burner never putting their true value on our radar. But as it was told to me, “oneman’sjunkisanother man’streasure”.
The same holds true when assessing personal value, what you consider unusable may have great value within your community.
We can add value to a community in many ways. The sharing of lessons learned on the job, at school, in the military, while traveling locally or abroad, in business or in community activities over time. We can share these skills through volunteering, advising or mentoring those in our communities in need of the knowledge gained
For instance, as an experienced IT professional I acquired knowledge about computing which could aid those seeking computer skills.
As a business man-
ager/executive I’ve acquired skills related to planning and business management which may aid young entrepreneurs who lack experience initiating and managing business affairs. As a father who raised three children, I can educate groups of young fathers on the critical skills necessary to balance career and fatherhood tasks.
As a retired military noncommissioned officer I can mentor up and coming leaders, extolling the valuable leadership lessons learned over a career.
In short, after doing some assessment, you may find you have a lot to offer of great value. It is easy to define value based on parameters set by society based on provision and its benefit to you, (money) but truthfully you are worth a lot more. Don’t define your value in terms of your capacity to earn an income, define it based on life experience and how you can fill vital gaps throughout your community.
So if you find yourself unemployed, or semiretired, don’t sit on the couch lumbering over the fact you are no longer employed, seek out community groups and other affiliations who can use your plethora of skills and offer them. Communities need all the help they can get. Lend a hand.
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