Today I have pulled question #51: If retirement was not an option and you knew you’d be working for the rest of your life, what would you do differently right now? This is an interesting question to pick right now because I am in a position to be making this decision right now.
I have been self-employed for a good part of my working life. All of my other employment have been contract or have lasted no more than five years each for various reasons, sometimes because I got bored and moved on and sometimes because of internal changes and layoffs. Six years ago, I had the opportunity to get a job with the government and I decided that this time would be different! This time I would stick it out for at least ten years so that I could receive the full benefits package and retire, if not on easy street, at least just around the corner from it. I was determined.
Now I, more than most, should know that there is no such thing as job security. I’ve been a career coach since 1981 and in 1994 I had the contract to provide transitions workshops to employees of the very government I am now working for—in the same building. So when people say that a government job is secure, I scoff.
To my credit, I never completely close other doors, so over the past six years, I’ve written four books and worked half-heartedly at developing other streams of income. But it was half-heartedly because I really did think I was going to last for ten years. And after all, I live in Canada where we have a pretty good safety net.
Now it turns out that the branch of the government I work for is being divested and at the very least I’ll be working for someone else, probably. So much for the great government benefit plan. So much for sticking it out for ten years. So now I am seriously thinking about what my options are and recognizing that retirement, as in sitting on the porch in my rocking chair, probably won’t happen. That’s okay because I don’t have a front porch or a rocking chair, and I’d probably be bored pretty fast anyway. In fact, I was planning to go to university and get a degree in fine arts. I have even been working on my portfolio since I only have four years left of work. So much for that!
So I have picked up my pace a bit. I have written a new book. I am developing a package that will be available this fall. I know that my biggest challenge if I want to grow my business will be growing my list so I’m using a variety of means of doing that. I have upped my mortgage payments with the hope that it will be paid off before I retire. I am breathing new life into some old networks so that I can get more consulting contracts.
But what I am not going to do is worry. That is a useless waste of energy and it makes me listless. I don’t have to worry really. I have a lot of options available to me and the better I can stay focused on that, the better off I’ll be. Actually I’m working on a new book about this very subject—dealing with change in chaotic times. It’s called, Spread Your Wings and Start Walking and it will be about scenario planning. This is just going to be hands-on research for my book, that’s all.