Are you prepared to answer the question “If my world changed tomorrow, what would I do?” A changing world has become the norm today; job security and the related personal security are often just memories of another time. These thoughts can come when downsizing is on the horizon, or when a change in location is imminent, or when thoughts of retirement are growing. Instead of waiting for the eventual panic to set in, start developing a personal life plan.
Develop a Skill and Experience Inventory
- Keep a journal of skills you have developed, training classes you have taken, and experiences you have earned. Individually these might appear minor, but collectively, they can add up to new career opportunities.
- Skills can easily be put on a resume but life experiences usually don’t fit very well but can be valuable assets. Performing in Community Theater is fun but it also builds your confidence in front of people and the ability to communicate effectively.
- Don’t dismiss your skills. An art teacher has been making Christmas ornaments for many years and giving them away. She doesn’t think people would buy them. I think that they would sell for $5-10 each. A person bakes bread and people love it. Artisan breads sell for $5-8 per loaf. Do the Math.
Become a Life Long Learner
- When an interest strikes you, pursue it. The interest may fade quickly or it might develop into a passion.
- Take classes when you feel secure. Learning to garden, to preserve food, to use a software program, to weld, to make ceramics, to write are interesting in their own right but can also be part of your future when you need them. Since most of these might lead to independent businesses, take seminars or classes in small business management. It can be a life saver.
- Practice what you learn.
- Within reason, buy the tools you need to perform your new skills. You don’t want to use your last paycheck to pay for tuition for a class or buy the pans you need to bake bread.
- Talk to people who do what you are interested in. They are often your best resource.
Review your Inventory and Prepare Plans
- Prepare simple business plans for one or several of your skills. On the day after the worst hits, you have something to start to work on.
- Revise these plans as you grow and gain experience.
In life as in business, you really only have two options: generate revenue or reduce costs. When the life change hits, being prepared to do what you need to do to survive and grow won’t eliminate the pain, but it can reduce the length and intensity of the panic.