Your Chance to Redefine What Work Means - Part 1
🚀 It's better than quitting or retiring - Issue #217
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I often make the unpopular statement that most of us will never fully retire. Many people hate to hear that.
It’s all well and good if you love your job, boss, and coworkers. Some of you do, and that’s wonderful. You are fortunate because most people are pretty unhappy and disengaged at work.
It’s also okay if you don’t become the victim of age discrimination and get forced into early retirement before you are financially prepared. More and more people are discovering — the hard way — that they haven’t saved nearly enough for full retirement, and the cost of living keeps increasing every year.
So, back to work they go.
However, people then discover that they mysteriously can no longer get the interviews for the plum jobs they had before. The well has dried up. They eventually find some work but join the growing ranks of the underemployed.
While the U.S. unemployment rates are supposedly looking better, the picture is quite different if you add in the folks who have been forced to settle for part-time jobs and crappy gigs to make ends meet. They had to give up on finding a job for which they are qualified.
United States rates of unemployment and underemployment (source):
1.3% have been unemployed 15 weeks or longer
4.1% are job losers and people who finished and left temporary jobs
5.9% fit the official definition of the total unemployed population
6.2% include those unemployed plus the folks who have given up looking for work
6.9% met the previous definition but also included people who float in and out of work
10.4% is the total unemployed plus the folks who are involuntarily working part-time
What should be concerning about these numbers is that they don’t even include the people who are employed full-time but in a job that is far below their potential (e.g., college students who have an undergraduate degree but settle for working full-time at a fast-food restaurant because they can’t find a real job that leverages their education.)
I’ve talked with people in this situation, and it’s a vicious cycle. If they were fully unemployed, they would have more time to dedicate themselves to a job search, work on a side hustle, or even spin up their own business. But, the financial clock is ticking, and bills have to be paid. So, they eventually settle for a low-paying full-time job.
Now they are too busy and too tired to spend as much time — or any time — on creating their own business or spending the required effort to look for a better job that leverages their talent, skills, and experience. That kind of role takes time to find and land (e.g., one month for every $10K of salary you’d like to earn). Those jobs aren’t as common.
Underemployment doesn’t just affect older folks. Around 33% of college graduates are underemployed too. I remember receiving my undergraduate degree many years ago and being temporarily excited about finally being able to get a “great job.”
Instead, I ended up keeping my college campus security job and then training to be a police dispatcher while I applied to graduate school in the hope of really, really getting a great job this time.
I guess things have only gotten worse. Many college grads are working in coffee shops, restaurants, and bars these days.
I don’t know about you, but I hate having my back against the wall like that. I hate feeling vulnerable.
Work does not have to feel that way. I know, personally. I’ve created my definition of work and carefully defined what my job would be ever since I left my last corporate role in 2010.
When you stop working in the traditional sense, what you do no longer feels like “work.” I’ve witnessed my clients redefining their careers and claiming their definition of their jobs. It changes everything.
Redefine what work means
What do you do if you can’t afford to retire, yet you can’t stand the thought of staying in your current job for the rest of your life? What do you do if you are forced out of your job but still need to make a living?
Your best choice is to redefine what “work” means. Create a job that doesn’t feel like what you always thought a job had to be.
“Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.” — John F. Kennedy
I spent almost 20 years in the traditional working world, mostly as an employee at large corporations and startups. I eased out of that world into consulting and running my businesses over 10 years ago.
It was better, and I had much greater autonomy and control, but it still felt like “work.” I’m sure I initially structured it that way because that was all I had known since I entered the working world in my teens.
A few years ago, when my last startup failed, I went through a dark period of questioning everything about my life and career. I wondered who I was and what I wanted to be.
I stripped away all of my preconceived notions of what success meant and what I had been telling myself that I wanted. I did some reverse planning and started from an endpoint of where I wanted to be and how I wanted to live my life.
I disassembled my professional experience, knowledge, talents, and skills into their most basic building blocks. I explored various ways I could creatively reassemble those building blocks into a new definition of what my work could be for the rest of my life.
Most importantly, it had to be something that let me follow my principles for having an Invincible Career. This process eventually led me to create the business that I’m running today, and I started a new life outside of Silicon Valley.
For the first time in my life, I thoroughly enjoy what I do. For example, I never dread Mondays.
It is a business, and I do work, but it doesn’t feel like it used to every day for 20+ years. It’s exciting, fulfilling, and I love the people I get to work with every day.
Maybe that’s the secret.
I am in full control of what I do, how I work, where I work, and whom I work with now.
So, how do you create what I like to call a “semi-retirement job” that embodies the best of your working experiences and leaves the worst of it behind?
There is no one-size-fits-all perfect job or business for everyone, but here are my recommendations for finding your path to your redefinition of work…
Read the rest of this in ➡️ “Your Chance to Redefine What Work Means - Part 2.”
😬 Sorry! I had to finish this newsletter in another online article. It was simply too long to include in one email.