Meet Fred, he is the Avatar for my new book, “Create Your Own Job Security: Plan to Start Your Own Business at Midlife.” IF Fred sounds like you, you need to protect yourself by buying my book. Fred was born in small-town America in the
1940s, had a chance to participate in high school athletics, was reasonably good at it and also tried out for the School Play and was on the Debate Team. Like all able-bodied men in his generation he was facing being drafted for the Vietnam War. He went to his state land-grant university where he participated in ROTC and came out as a second lieutenant of engineers.
While in college he met Mary, who would later become his wife, but they decided to postpone marriage while she continued her studies to become a nurse and he discharged his obligation to serve two years of active duty with the U.S. Army. Fred was posted first to Ft. Belvoir, Virginia, where he received training to become a Combat Engineer Platoon Leader and was then posted to various locations in Vietnam. He participated in several actions, was wounded, returned home and after his release from active duty, married Mary.
His engineer training and experiences in Vietnam enabled him to find work with various construction and building companies, where he ultimately became a district manager for the firm. With more than 20 years with his present company he looked forward to retirement with a pension, social security and health benefits. Although he did have occasional flashbacks from his war experiences, he generally managed these events fairly well. He never did say much about these experiences to his wife or his two children Bob and Susan. All told, his life with a growing family in mid-America was going fairly well, although Susan had a mild language disability which she managed, with professional help, to work through.
Two years before he was to retire with full pension and health benefits, his company was bought out by a multinational construction company based in London. Under new leadership he feared that he was going to be laid-off at any time to be replaced by an engineer from India or now considered “redundant,” because the combined company already had existing operations management functions in his geographic area. His friends were being dismissed as soon as they completed their major on-going projects, and he felt reasonably certain that he would soon be among the pool of the knowledgeable unemployed working in the gig economy with no real security for him or his family. He felt betrayed, disappointed and angry.
This knowing uncertainty caused him to seriously consider his options and whether he wanted to move away from where he lived and had relocated his aging parents. His mother had been diagnosed with a terminal cancer and was not expected to survive the year, and his father, while in better physical condition, seemed to have a progressive dementia.
He needed to shield himself and his family from this coming financial crisis, and the best way to do that was to start his own business. While still employed he registered his new business as a consulting planning engineer with the state, started the state licensing process and rearranged his house so that he would have a now empty bedroom as a home office. The unused formal dining room became a conference room that enabled him to present information to clients, lay out plans, etc.
He started putting out bids to companies who were initiating new subdivisions and planing new manufacturing facilities to increase his client base and started doing limited work for them on the side. Ultimately, the dreaded day came. Abruptly he received a call to report to the Human Resource office where he was sat down before a 20-something that he had never seen and handed an envelope with his severance packet. He was told that his office computer and phone had been disabled, and he was to gather his personal things and leave the building within two hours. A young lady with some boxes and tape was assigned to help him, and an armed guard was assigned to receive his keys, company ID and walk him out to his car. He was to speak to no one as he left. If he disregarded these instructions his separation package would be withdrawn, and he would lose his now-reduced pension and diminished benefits caused by his early separation from the company. (As if it had been his fault that he was being pushed out the door.)
Having been warned by his friends who had already been dismissed, this was not unexpected. Although he could scarcely contain his rage, he got his stuff together and left. Someone had already removed his pictures and awards from his office wall and put them into a box. As he packed he felt a since of relief. Bad as it was, at least the anguish of not knowing was over.
His head cleared and he took in a lung full of fresh air as he walked into the parking lot followed by boxes containing records of his last 20 years of life being pushed out on a dolly behind him. Today was the first day of his new life, and he already knew what he was going to do with it. Resisting the temptation to run down the company sign beside the highway as he left, he drove towards home thinking about which of his new-found clients he was going to call first.
Create Your Own Job Security
Generally available for special promotion price of $10.99.