Truck Drivers as Potential Entrepreneurs

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A life on the road teaches many things that are useful for starting new businesses.

 The image of the American truck driver as a white, cigar smoking, fat, slob, is unfortunately what comes to mind to most potential employers when they see the word truck driver on a resume. Some fit this Hollywood stereotype, but many do not. A driver that I know who operates one of the largest trucks in the world for a Canadian oil shale mining company is an attractive, personable young lady that I publicly declared to be, “My kind of woman.” She had overcome personal abuse as a child, became a self-supporting woman in rural Canada who is able to kill and process her own moose and generally take care of herself – a far cry from the typical image of a truck driver.

Just as truck drivers can be from any demographic, they may also have many types of educational experiences, ranging from nearly none to Phds who had advanced degrees in subjects where there were no jobs during the 2008 financial crisis, and took a good paying job as a long-haul driver. This was a classic case of, “learn to love the job you’ve got.” Some made the most of it, purchased their own rigs and are independent drivers who now have the choice of working for any number of companies .

Experienced truck drivers who can successfully pass a drug test are being highly recruited; but automation is threatening their existence. Just as machines have replaced assembly-line workers, automation is threatening truck drivers. Estimates are than in 20 years, most deliveries will be made by automated means with companies like Amazon and Google pushing the frontiers of this technology. Much tonnage of material in the mining industry that was once moved by ore cars operated by men was replaced by conveyor belts decades ago, and rubber-tired and tracked automated vehicles are already working in many mines. Since their routes are well established, it was a relatively simple task to automate them. Only where decisions must be made by the operator are man-directed trucks necessary. Pushing a button is all that is commonly necessary for a stack loader operator to call a truck to his location. That truck is loaded, sent to its dump point and the next brought into place.  The more uniform the material, the more automated the process can become.

General Skills that Most Truck Drivers Have

Routing Ability. Every driver must be able to follow a rout whether on a map, a skill being rapidly lost, or on a series of electronic devices to take his load wherever it needs to go.

Accounting. The tally of what was delivered to whom, where that location was and time tracking is a part of a drivers everyday existence.

Time Management. Each driver must, by law, keep track of his driving time and allow for rest breaks.

Mechanical Aptitude. Since the truck is the driver’s home-in-motion and vital to his making a living, keeping it in safe operational condition under all road conditions is a needed skill.

Observational Skills. Many confined to offices and their screen devices are noticing a reduction of their basic observational skills relating to the world around them. Drivers must always be keenly aware of their surroundings.

Time-Speed Estimation. Drivers learn how to make reliable estimates of loading and unloading times, travel times and what delays might be caused by weather.

Food. Just as fuel is needed for the truck, food is needed for the driver. This access to good and bad eateries throughout the country provides drivers with a keen appreciation of food and how to select the best available options.

Adaptability. Drivers must be able to adapt to different road conditions and plan alternative routes as they may be needed.

Stamina. Long distance truck hauling requires the development of mental and physical stamina. This is much more than push a button and something happens on a keyboard. Trips may be hours or days long, and concentration through this period means that they are accustomed to taking on jobs where the pay-off may be delayed and able to take work that takes a period of time to complete. This is the opposite of instant gratification that many expect in today’s society.

Communications. From both business and social points of view, drivers are practiced communicators with everyday use of radios, smartphone technology, visual screens and virtual reality used in training programs. Just as significantly they talk to others and may be exposed to original business ideas that they can use as well as to people who might be potential partners.

If you are in Human Resources and screening possible candidates these are the qualities that many drivers have ingrained in their system that will serve them well when deployed to other jobs.

Things Truck Drivers Can Do

If you are a truck driver and thinking of what you might do after you have been automated out of a job, these are the qualities that you have than are very useful for seeking another job or starting your own businesses. In fact, it is a very good idea to start a non-related business while you are still employed so that not only does this business bring in extra income, it can grow to support your family after you can no longer drive.

A downside of driving is that accident or work-related injuries can unexpectedly occur at any age. While evil to contemplate, you might be disabled by an injury in your 20s or 30s or from an occupational-related condition in your 40s or later. Common illnesses among drivers are back problems, repetitive motion conditions (like carpal tunnel syndrome), head injuries, arthritis, obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. These diseases or combinations of them can end a driver’s on-the-road career.

Alternative Careers.

Professional Qualifications. If you had professional qualifications in progress or near completion and never acted on them, now is the time to complete that training, get your degree or certifications and redirect your life around that skill set. This might be working for another type of company, starting your own business or both.

Communication Arts. The professional adaptation of written, verbal, visual and virtual reality can be combined in a nearly infinite number of ways to take advantage of a driver’s experiences and skills to produce a money-making product. These efforts rely on the drivers’ individuality, his life experiences and passions. Perhaps he may use his experiences to be a podcast radio host. Maybe he will write short stories about them. Perhaps he likes to produce fact-filled videos about the places he has seen. He might even write a best-selling novel.

Mechanical Arts and Sales. Who better to sell truck accessories than a driver who has actually used them? Not only might you design new products for those in the industry and start a company around those, you might also act as a salesperson for existing accessory suppliers.

Food Industry. As eating is a vital part of the truck-driver’s life, reviews of eateries around the country might be his forte. If these efforts are persistent, a following can be accumulated and this entire effort turned into a multi-media-based enterprise. Perhaps he might want to introduce new types of foods to his driving buddies by opening a diner or restaurant that might be expanded into a chain, or having his own on-the-road food blog or YouTube channel.

Business Trends. On-the-ground observations of business trends around the country can enable you to make reasonable guesses as to coming trends in real estate, companies that are doing innovative things and provide information for direct investments in stocks or real estate. These observations might even result in your taking a business concept that is proven in one part of the country and implementing it somewhere else.

These concepts and many more are explored in my most recent business book, “Create Your Own Job Security: Plan to Start Your Own Business at Midlife.” In this book I not only explain how to sort through different opportunities, but also provide the nuts and bolts about how to start a business in the U.S. You can find the book at Amazon.com and all other on-line retailers or order from your local bookstore. I also offer individual consulting and business programs for businesses and organizations, and you may contact me using the reply box below.

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Jobs for Laid-Off Assembly Line Workers

 

Atlanta Waterjet Cutting 2
This Waterjet Cutter replaces workers who would produce these blanks one at a time.

Automation has replaced hundreds of thousands of assembly line workers and Human Resource Departments have not succeeded in finding jobs for many of them.

All too often assembly line workers are considered by management as “interchangeable work units” who are only capable of bolting on parts as they come to their stations. With automation a large factory structure is frequently replaced by a smaller building housing new machines that do not require as much lighting, air conditioning or heat. A business that once employed three shifts of 200 workers each now only needs 30 workers per shift.  What happens to the now-redundant workers?

The already small Human Resource Departments are overwhelmed. While they attempt to select the best workers to be transferred to the new factory and may refer workers to state unemployment facilities, they frequently cannot find enough jobs for their former employees. Some employees who are approaching their 60s may be forced into an unwanted early retirement. A few others with better skills might be retrained and shifted to other jobs, but for many these well-meaning efforts are insufficient to find them work at anything near the same salary levels.

Unions, whose members may have been fatefully paying their dues for decades in hopes of insuring their jobs, can do little when entire plants are relocated to non-union-shop states or even to other countries to take advantage of less expensive labor costs and better climates.  Their work rules and strict job descriptions have confined workers to very narrow categories and left workers with fewer work experiences to draw on and consequently less of a chance to find jobs that pay nearly as well.

Workers may find employment in service industries or flipping burgers, but these are often insufficient to pay rent, buy groceries and meet medical costs, much less maintain the lifestyle that they had enjoyed for decades. Workers pushed into such positions may have to take multiple jobs to survive, and a single illness or adverse event can easily push them into homelessness.

Another category of former assembly-line-workers may be young enough, healthy enough and have sufficient training to move with the factory or to another state, but are restricted by family obligations from relocating elsewhere. Such obligations often include caring for parents or older relatives, periodically helping out on the family farm or not wanting to leave a state that supplies excellent services for a disabled child.

Jobs for former assembly-line workers

A company may employ a separate firm to aid their employees in learning how to do a job search, write resumes, go for interviews, etc. This is often done over a brief period after a mass layoff. This training has value and should be taken advantage of. It is free and the associations gained and friendships made during such trainings may be more significant than the training itself. Another valuable aspect of such trainings is that it helps with the grieving process that comes from losing what you had previously expected to be a life-time job.

Unfortunately, the economy has moved away from the years when a person might expect to be with the same company his entire working life. Those positions are now being replaced by the “gig economy” where workers are hired to fill positions as they are needed. When the project is completed the workers are dismissed. Anyone who has ever worked any part of the construction business has known about working “gigs” for decades. This work method has now expanded to nearly all parts of company and corporate operations. Team members no longer have to be in the same location or even in the same country.

Frequently overlooked in retraining line workers is the possibility that they could start their own businesses, stay in their communities and be even more productive members of society.  Part of the reason that this is ignored is that “workers are workers and not managers.” This is self-defeating, short sighted and outright WRONG. Such thinking is a relic of medieval system where lords ruled over the land and controlled everyone beneath them. If you were not a member of the nobility, you were stuck at whatever position you were born into. Everyone who has lived independently is a manager. They have managed their own lives and those of their families for all of their adult lives, and they can certainly be taught to use their existing skills, acquire others and manage their own businesses.

This is the approach that I take in my new book, “Create Your Own Job Security: Plan to Start Your Own Business at Midlife.” What I advocate is that people seek out entrepreneurial activities as early as High School by doing things like mowing lawns or providing services for older members of the community. Then seek advance training in college or elsewhere and pick up some business courses either on-line or as electives. In the meantime they invent, alone or with others, a business that they start and run on a low level while they are working for someone else, getting health insurance, etc. Should they be unexpectedly laid off they have their own businesses already running to ramp up with their severance pay and start making serious money.

In “Create Your Own Job” I show how to sort out various business possibilities into those to act on immediately to get some money in the house, others to be implemented later after some professional training or certifications , and still more that require college degrees, partners or perhaps co-owners to implement successfully. Such businesses may be done by anyone, anytime, anywhere and often at very little costs. I also provide chapters with detailed information on topics like coming up with a name for your new business, possibilities for financing, nearly no-cost advertising and even what to do with your business after you no longer wish to run it.

The best results from your business will often be obtained when it combines your skills and experience into something new that might be an invention, production method, book, screenplay, physical art, new marketing approach, public service or a configuration that combines invention-marketing-art in a new way. The possibilities are unlimited and extremely personalized – exactly the opposite of the people as interchangeable-work-units concept.

I will be giving a two hour free seminar in Augusta, Georgia, on March 15, 2019. This will be in Music Room B at the Salvation Army Headquarters at 1833 Broad Street. This Create Your Own Job Seminar will began at 7:00 PM and conclude at 9:00 PM and include a workshop where I will assist participants in sorting through a set of job opportunities that they generate. Although the event is free, seating is limited. If you are going to attend contact me at hoveysmith@bellsouth.net with the words “Augusta Event” in the subject line or by using the contact form below. I am also available to present at other locations and work with companies undergoing restructurings.

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Be Prepared for YES

 

Pedersoli Cook Bros Rifle Top and Carbine bottom cropped

Proper prior preparation prevents piss poor performance. Rule of the seven “Ps,” U.S. Army, c. 1860 and possibly long before.   

 At a hospitality suite during a two-day business seminar, those hosting the event are obviously promoting their products to the attendees. Freshly pumped with a flood of information, a potential way to use this new-found information begins to formulate in your brain. It is still rattling around connecting with this possibility and that, some of which are humorously impractical; but one seems to be on more solid ground. Eager to try this new concept out on someone else, you approach one of the vendor’s representatives, and he answers, “Yes, we do that quite often. In fact we just implemented a similar program with one of your competitors.”

Now that the application of this concept that you envision seems possible, you are burning to tell one of the higher ups in your company about it. Although your eagerness may be somewhat powered by alcohol, pause. First, have you sufficiently thought through the concept and its ramifications?  Secondly, can you implement the program if you were asked to run it?

Knowledge based requirements

Although the product that you have been told about has all of the excitement that new technology can bring, do you know enough about it to effectively sell it? How much is this going to cost in time and money to implement? What new people are going to be involved? I Is this new product or operational concept going to increase profits or reduce costs?  Is there likely to be a profitable return on investment?  Is this a logical extension of the company’s  line?

The product being discussed at the seminar might have been industrial machinery. It could be a new method for recruiting talent. It might have been a discussion of innovative organizational structures. Perhaps it was an innovative approach to marketing, advertising or product packaging. Any of these can have impacts on your company. Have you sufficiently thought about what those might be, before approaching your bosses with it?  If you are satisfied that you have, then go ahead with some preliminary feelers. Say nothing too solid yet, just an inquiry to judge the potential degree of interest. If the answer is “yes” or a “maybe,” then you have time to work up a formal proposal, which would probably be asked for anyway.

Personal factors

We all have lives, and these life happenings very often interfere with business. With what you can anticipate in your near-term future, can you actually take this idea from concept to presentation to implementation. Perhaps you can do the concept and presentation without any problem, but a family illness, planned vacation or health problem might prevent you from being able to implement the program. In such a case, who do you recommend to lead the project?  Obviously, this person needs to be brought into the project as soon as possible. If you do not have a person in hand, then at the least the project leader’s requirements need to be specifically outlined so that the Human Resources Department knows what kind of candidates to bring in for interviews.

Financial aspects

Return on investment, shareholder value and market share are all catch phrases that you will need to supply information about.  Someone will ask about these at the discussion of any change in the company’s product or operational methods.   It is likely if you are a “concept guy,” you are not well versed on making estimates that are based on anything but hopeful wishes. You need harder information and will have to go to someone else to help you get it. In short, you need to cultivate a friendship with someone in the accounting to help you out. These are things that they have received training on, but may never have had a chance to put that training into practice. Find someone who is excited about doing more than handling payroll and see if you can elicit their aid.

You don’t have time

Already faced with a 12-hour work day and travel two weekends a month, there is no way you can touch this project, however appealing it might be. In former times when there was a group of relatively new hires, such investigations could be passed on to one of the junior staff. Nowadays, there are few, if any, junior staff with many companies. Another possibility is to contract with one of the company’s retirees who might be eager to reconnect with those he once knew and work on a significant project. Another option is to hire a gig employee to come in, look at the concept and report on it. You could not expect as good a result as would come if someone intimately involved with the company did the work, but it might be serviceable, and your gig employee might even become a regular employee if you liked his work and you thought he had the capabilities of managing this project. Another possibility is to depend entirely on the company who made the product to make recommendations on how to fit it into your company and run it for you on a contract basis.  In such cases, they would be responsible for selling the product to  company management. This does happen, but at the costs of effectively bringing a partner into the company who controls a vital part company operations.

Business ideas are like children. You want to give them a fair chance to be seen, heard and perhaps even tried before they are rejected. Before you propose an idea, be prepared to help it grow into a prosperous adulthood.

I discuss starting your own business in my most recent business book, “Create Your Own Job Security” and cover selecting an appropriate idea for your business at whatever stage of life you are in and whatever your immediate needs might be. I also do business consulting, particularly for those wanting to launch something related to outdoor recreation and/or survival. For more information you may query using the contact form below.

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Overcoming Mental Blocks to Career Advancement

 

Avatar for Create Your Own Job Security

You can overcome self-doubt and knowledge deficiencies to increase earnings by designing a job that fits your unique mix of talents and abilities.

All of us have a unique set of knowledge and experiences. In modern regimented business models it is common to attempt to place people into jobs that don’t suite them with the result that some workers are forced into jobs where they do not fit.  While specialized training is necessary to function in almost any part of today’s economy, the benefits may be relatively short-term, as one technology is replace by another within a few years.

The human animal is a complex being that was designed by evolution to respond to unpredictable life situations. Just as early man might have had to run, climb or swim to escape predators, today’s workers must be able, and willing, to change working methods, ideas and sometimes jobs to earn higher salaries. While human resources departments strive to foresee demands for different types of workers, often caught up in the minutia of payroll, health insurance and complying with State and Federal regulations with the result that HR departments do not take time to define how their work force needs to evolve.

This type of forward thinking is best done by workers who can have experienced both the advantages and shortcomings of the new system, product, production method or ad campaign and can conceive of ways to improve it. If a worker has a vision of some improved method and keeps it to himself, he is depriving himself of a potential advancement opportunity. Once the concept is fully developed, it becomes possible for the worker to design is own job and move up a higher-paying position, depending on the value of his concept.

Mental blocks to advancement

  1. The belief that a person can do only one set of things is a holdover from the Medieval Guild system that was transferred to Union Shops. Most corporate and work organizational structures reinforce this mental trap. This was not true at its inception and is not true now. People can learn more than one thing and, in fact, take on multiple professions at once. A physician may also be a novelist, a baker might be a week-end comedian or a physicists a graphic designer. The skill-set paring might be even closer linked with the designer also being a machinist who can not only conceive of his creation, but actually build it. The combination of designer-marketer is particularly powerful. Individuals have unique sets of skills that often express themselves in different directions. If a worker can take some unexpected combinations of skills and turn that into a job description, that worker can sometimes design his job. If he can sell this concept to his present company or another company, he has invented his own job that uses his particular skill set and vision. If his pitch fails, he can use this concept to start his own company
  2. It is not necessary that a worker immediately have all of the skills that his new job logically requires if they can be obtained through outside courses or work experience. Extra trainings and use of other people can help you overcome any feelings of inadequacy and shortfalls in knowledge. Another alternative is to add people to your team that fill knowledge and experience gaps. We are all differently gifted and afflicted. Just as if you were starting a new business, plan to gather people as and when you need them to complete your vision of what this new job is to be and how it will work.  In modern corporations mentorships and advocates are vital for selling any new position. The general premise is that if a company is going to advance, new concepts received from a broader demographic are vial for future success. In your case, you are presenting a new approach that has the advantage of being generated by someone already in the company that 1. Can be implemented faster, and 2. Can be started with less costs and disruption than bringing in outside talent.  These are powerful genetic arguments for supporting your new job, and that you are the person to fill that need.
  3. The psychological lingering, “I can’t do this,” running around in the back of your mind must be replaced with a definitive; “I CAN do this.” All of these “I can’ts,” are a result of being rejected many times in your life for reasons that are often unrelated to what you do at work. It is easy for an outsider to say, “Get rid of all this excess mental crap and move on.” The reality is that these issues can persist for decades. If they can be recognized for what they are and how they were derived, then they can be dealt with in a more realistic manner. Any therapist would advise to identify the issues so they can be recognized when they appear for the unnecessary distractions that they are, and move things in a more positive direction for accomplishing your goals.

Becoming confident that you have the tools, will and abilities to succeed in life and business by documenting your progress through trainings, certifications, taking on smaller tasks and accomplishing them and ultimately you will have the confidence that you need to design your own job and promote it to your company’s management or perhaps even start your own business. You can gain confidence by starting mini-businesses and making a success of them. You will have little personal risk, gain experience, increase your confidence and learn from each new venture. Even if some of them should fail, this is not an unusual event; but is another life experience to be learned from. Almost every business person will tell you that some of the most meaningful parts of their business education were learned from their failures.  To have a business that failed is part of the learning process.

These are a few points explored in more depth in my most recent business book, “Create Your Own Job Security: Plan to Start Your Own Business at Midlife” which is available on Amazon.com and other resources. I will also be giving a free two-hour lecture on March 15 in Augusta, Georgia, at Music Room B of the Salvation Army HQ at 1833 Broad Street.  Create Your Own Job  starts at 7:00 PM and ends at 9:00 PM.  Although the event is free, seating is limited. To receive announcements about this and other events send me an e-mail to hoveysmith@bellsouth.net.  If you wish me to appear at your event, you may correspond with me at the same address or use the reply box below.

 

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Business Ed at the Movies

Business Ed

Award winning movies and TV shows featuring business themes have unknowingly educated millions who never had the opportunity to take business courses in college.

In most business text books each chapter will focus on one subject and provide case studies of how that subject material was used in real-world applications. This is an effective teaching method because it illustrates that the material being presented in the text has practical applications to every-day business experiences.

Individual entrepreneurship is a prized quality in the United States. So it should not be surprising that the real-life struggles of individual businessmen and women can be used as plots in documentaries about the “Robber Barons” of the 19th and 20th centuries or fictional works where some evildoer seeks to impose his will on an innocent population which is defended by the heroes in the movie. Such a theme was used in the silent films where some attractive actress lashed to the railroad tracks was rescued in the nick of time by a dashingly attractive cowboy, who in the later talkies might also be required to sing. John Wayne started out as a singing cowboy, but Gene Autry was more successful in making music a significant part of his career path.

Examinations of the struggles, successes, failures and comebacks of businesses and their owners combined with sometimes bazaar personal lives involving well-known figures of popular culture provides a ready-made plot that can often be punctuated with real-life events from the person’s past to make an exciting movie. Most commonly, male figures interacted with some of the most attractive women in the world which added to the movie’s general appeal. If not, a love interest could be added to the script.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) staring Jimmy Steward is the most often viewed business-related movie due to its acceptance as a Christmas classic that  is seen in millions of homes each year. In this movie a small-town banker manages to hold out when a lost deposit imperils the bank that he inherited from his father and threatens not only his economic future, but also his life. One would hope to have a banker that was that caring about his bank and customers, but such institutions have become more impersonal and greedy as they became large corporations. Wells Fargo is a historic bank has been cited on numerous occasions for actions that were not in the best interest of its customers. It was a greedy, grabbing institution when it was founded and has not significantly changed its character after more than a century, as indicated by recent court actions against the bank.

Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988) starring Jeff Bridges is a biographical piece that traces the life of Preston Tucker who introduced a car after World War II that was so revolutionary that it threatened existing auto makers. Through pressures the established car companies brought on members of congress, a largely invented case was brought against Tucker to force him out of business before his cars had a chance to make an impact on the market. The Tucker cars were pre-sold, and the principle claim against the company was that sought to defraud the public by not fulfilling its lease agreement with the Federal Government. Many of the innovative features introduced with the Tucker were later incorporated in standard model cars make by Detroit automakers. Some 500 Tucker cars were made and are highly prized collectors’ items today. This was an unusual movie, because it depicts a business failure, rather than a success. It is a cautionary tale that warns, “If you are going to produce something new, allow enough time to perfect your design before you have to deliver the product.”

The Aviator (2004) with Leonardo DiCaprio explores some of the many facets of the life of Howard Hughes. Before World War II Hughes was fascinated with airplanes to the extent that he used money from his father’s successful oilfield supply company to build and race experimental aircraft. He was also a movie maker and after an initial flop made a very successful movie Hell’s Angels in 1930 featuring and filming World War I biplanes in battle sequences. This movie was made at the transition between silent and talking films, and after nearly completing a silent version of the movie; he remade it as a talking film. During World War II he was contracted to build a very large transport plane to take large numbers of troops to distant islands in the Pacific war. This enormous float plane, “The Spruce Goose,” used many wooden elements in its construction.  Again, claims were made that the Federal contract was not fulfilled and he, who at that time was suffering from serious psychological problems, had to defend himself at congressional hearings. He took the initiative and made one flight with the “Spruce Goose” and successfully landed the aircraft. It was taken apart, put into storage and never flew again. Few entrepreneurs have the money to self-finance their own projects. If you can, do not let other issues get in the way.  You will need to be watchful of changing markets and be prepared to adapt if necessary to defend your actions.  If you do anything worthwhile, there will be those who will oppose you. Hughes’ life is a cautionary tale for those who now head companies like Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc. Be prepared to face increasingly nasty hearings and court challenges to the core aspects of your businesses in regards to privacy issues concerning information gathering and sharing.

Sea Biscuit (2003), again with Jeff Bridges, has a multi-character plot line centered on Charles S. Howard’s founding a successful automobile business. He faces extreme stress during the depression including losing a child and getting divorced. He becomes the almost accidental owner of a horse, Sea Biscuit. Howard is quoted as describing the situation that the horse “was too small, hired a trainer who was too old, a jockey that was too big and being too stupid to know the difference.” In the movie both the horse and the jockey make a comeback after being injured. Sea Biscuit races and wins against a much larger horse. Although in many ways underdogs, the actors and the horse rise against a series of seemingly impossible obstacles and win. The message here is keep plugging away and you may accomplish your goals.  If you don’t try, you never will succeed.

The Big Short (2015  ) with Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt features four diverse characters  who observed the events leading up to the collapse of Wall Street in 2008      and let their instincts that the real-estate market was unsustainable guide them to short mortgage-backed securities that were being traded by banks all over the world. These supposedly AAA rated securities were filled with loans to people who had little chance of meeting their financial obligations. As loan defaults accumulated to an unsustainable level, the market collapsed. Many people lost their jobs, once powerful Wall Street firms were liquidated, the Government was forced to buy stocks in major companies to keep them afloat and the real-estate market was depressed for a decade. The movie illustrates that markets can turn on a knife-edge. Investigate very carefully the wisdom of your investments, ride trends with disposable money and keep the bulk of your investments in not-so-risky segments of the market.

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) features Leonardo DiCaprio as a young executive who arrives at Wall Street just in time for it to collapse. He takes a job with a firm selling penny stocks and makes an enormously successful enlargement of this business by teaching new selling methods to some unlikely employees. Ultimately the firm collapses, and he with many of his employees are tried for issuing false financial documents and other charges. He lives an exciting life fueled largely on illegal drugs and alcohol. A rich drug addict turns out to be about as worthless as a poor drug addict. His life, although successful from a monetary point of view, turns out not to count for very much.

The Men Who Built America (2012) was a History Channel four-part mini-series that ran for six hours. It featured the lives of Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford.  In the case of everyone but Vanderbilt, who built his fortune on the fur industry, the ability to recognize, adapt and market changing technologies were keys to their successes. They tried to establish monopolies in their respective fields which sometimes succeeded. New innovations in materials, manufacturing methods and distribution were often used to build and expand their companies. In retrospect is would seem that everything that they did was obvious, but the obvious is not nearly so apparent when you are in the moment. Sam Walton is a modern example of a businessman who adapted a new distribution model combined with store-front marketing to become a dominant player in retail trade with his Walmart stores. Walmart’s dominance is now being threatened by Amazon with its on-line sales model. Materials, technologies and selling methods are continuously evolving. Those companies who can foresee and capitalize on these changing market forces will succeed. Those who will not or cannot will likely see their portions of the market steadily erode to the point where their businesses are no longer profitable.

Due to the desired length for Self-Growth articles these are all I can feature in one piece. There are other business-related movies for you to look for and find and study dealing with writing, the arts and other aspects of inventive thought.  If you want to see more articles on this theme, reply.

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Create Your Own Job with Your Present Company, Another Company or on Your Own

PP GM Bldgs Detroit

With today’s rapid advances in IT technology, science, marketing and an ever-evolving art world it is possible to invent marketable jobs to capitalize on in a variety of ways.

Company owners and managers recognize that change is an inescapable part of today’s business world. Forward thinking individuals who can conceive of new products, business methods and new ways to present their companies in an increasingly competitive market are worth bringing into the organization.  Those who can present a compelling case that their particular mix of knowledge and skills can be of value can often design their own positions and make themselves indispensable parts of the business.

A necessary part of this approach is that these individuals will have established their credibility by assembling a body of work that is related to the positions they propose to improve a company’s bottom line. Publishing a book, making a prototype, initiating a patent, inventing a new look in art or fashion or having a particular mix of useful skills are demonstrably useful in making the case that they are uniquely qualified to hold these new jobs.

In my own case, I invented the position of Information Scientist for a multinational corporation after first working as a consultant and then becoming an employee. This position capitalized on my having scientific qualifications, previously published a book on the industry, my ability to translate patents from foreign languages and as a writer had learned to organize materials. This position took advantage of several skills that I possessed and helped me develop others.

Advancing Within Organizational Structures

If you are already working for a company that you like, but feel that you can make more of a contribution that your present position allows, think about what new position would allow you to capitalize on your particular skill set, enhance it through further experience or training and offer more value to the company. In almost every company there is a position of Project Manager or Team Leader.  Perhaps you have successfully participated in several such teams and your contributions have been previously acknowledged in the way of incentive pay or awards. If so, is one of these present or past efforts so compelling to you that you think it should go forward under your leadership to make a more significant impact on the company’s bottom line? If true, this is a good reason that you should be allowed to manage such a project and bring it to its full potential.

The how, the mechanics of managing the project that you propose, must be well in hand before you make your pitch. Exactly what is it that you propose to do? The project objective needs to be crystal clear in your mind, and you must be prepared to defend your proposal. Is the project place specific? Do you or some part of the company need to move to another location? What are your personnel needs? Do you want to incorporate people or services from other departments within the company? What are your budgetary needs?

Such a pre-presentation process needs to be as complete as if you were independently offering this concept as a business plan to a venture capitalists or a bank. In fact, if your concept is rejected at your present company, you might well decide to offer it to another company or start your venture on your own. It is an unfortunate reality that most new ideas are immediately killed, not because of the merit of the project, but because others in the corporation are protecting their own jobs and see your project as a threat.

Use rejections as a proofing tool to perfect your concept. Change your concept to overcome their objections and after reworking the project again, try it a second time. If your concept gets rejected again for reasons that do not relate to the merits of the project, it is time to consider leaving the company and offering your thought-child to another company or starting out on your own. You may have signed a non-disclosure agreement when you were hired. Patents started which might have incorporated portions of your idea would certainly be covered under such an agreement. Lawyers could likely make the case that anything you presented to company structure, whether acted on or not, was your employers’ property – not yours. In short you are screwed, unless there is a time limit on such disclosures. It may be that after two years, or five years, you will be able to approach other companies with your presented, but not-acted-on concept. Otherwise, you can apply for and get disclosure permission for your project concept that your former company thought so little of that they never acted on it.  The smaller the company, the more likely it is that the rights to continue your project with another company would be allowed. Perhaps even a joint-venture arrangement might be arranged between the two companies about your project.

Approaching Another Company

“Why did you leave your old company?” Is likely to be among the first questions asked when you offer your concept to another company. A second would be about the details of how you developed your new idea, and if it is covered by any pre-existing agreements, patents or trade secrets.  Perhaps the only thing that might be salvaged from your previous concept is that the  good idea that you developed was rejected for insufficient reasons. This demonstrates that you are an inventive person who is capable of coming up with new concepts. This is a weak argument so it is best reinforced with an independent concept that is not tainted by relating too closely with your past employer.

Deriving a “Plan B” will require some time because the project will need to be even better thought out. You are presenting it to strangers, rather than to people who already know your work. After having your other concept twice rejected, this new concept needs to be untainted by any previous association with your former company. Nothing about it was done on company computers, put on company letterhead or used company-furnished products. This concept is all yours.  This is similar to a screen-play writer offering his movie concept to different studios. A rejection by one does not restrict him from offering what he hopes to be his Oscar-winning movie to another studio or to TV producers.

Starting Out On Your Own

This is the approach that I take in my most recent business book, “Create Your Own Job Security: Plan to Start Your Own Business at Midlife.” In the book I advocate starting businesses as and when you need them to accomplish your life goals at the moment and develop longer-term businesses for the future. This book goes through the mechanics of selecting appropriate businesses for the moment, making plans for others and ultimately discovering your “Business of Passion” that you love so much that you would work at it even if no one paid you. This business is identified and run at a low level while you are employed by another company. Then should your job be shipped to India, you have your own business already started and developed to fall back on. You can find out more about my book at https//createyourownjobsecurity.com.

In whatever work environment you are in now, thoughtfully look around. Is there an unmet need that your unique training, skills and personality would allow you to fill better than anyone else? If so, with some forethought, perhaps a little extra training and the willingness to act, you can design your own job.

This is part of the introductory material that I will be presenting in Augusta, Georgia, on March 15. Part of the event will be a workshop that will allow people to list and rank what their job possibilities are or might be. Five attendees will receive on-stage consultations on the best way to go forward with their job/business aspirations. The free two-hour presentation will be held in Music Room B at the Salvation Army building on 1833 Broad Street. The event starts at 7:00 PM and concludes at 9:00 PM. Although the event is free, space is limited. If you are coming, please send me an e-mail to hoveysmith@bellsouth.net and put Augusta Presentation in the subject line.  Those who might wish me to give presentations at other locations can contact me using the same address.

Create Your Own Job Security

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Ask for a Raise or Change Jobs?

NYC Skyline potential cover (2)

Mid-level employees with two years or more of experience have never been in a better position to ask for a raise.

The percentage of the U.S. labor force that is working is at the highest in decades, companies are looking for workers, there is a real shortage of trained personnel and head-hunters are having a field day enticing executives from one company to another. In the meantime, specialized IT technology is advancing so rapidly that those trained in the particular skills that are vital to a company’s operations often have a unique understanding of the details of business operation that are not easily transferred to a new worker.

A cubicle or home-office worker who has been with a company for two years or more, received bonus pay for his work, is accepting responsibility for his own projects or is supervising others is now in an ideal position to ask for more money. This is because of the increasingly high costs in time, money and training needed to hire an equally functional replacement. The mid-level employee is now faced with living on his current salary, which may be just scraping by on, taking a second job, starting up something on the side or going to work for another company.

Today’s economy is hot, but many are warning of an economic slowdown or perhaps even a recession later this year or next. Such a slowdown will have immediate impact on the construction industry, retail sales (already under serious pressure), manufacturing and the hospitality industry. The exact timing of this next negative economic event and its duration are unknown. Such a slowdown will result in large-scale layoffs in most aspects of the economy.

Based on what is known from the present economy and the unknowable future, now is the opportune time for mid-level workers to ask for more money for what they do. They may have to worry about their jobs if everything goes sour, but at least they will have received more money to establish a cushion in the meantime.

Do I Deserve a Raise?

You may want a raise, but do you deserve it?

A. Have you been with the company for two years or more?
B. Have you received favorable job evaluations?
C. Do you get to work on time and meet your appointments at work?
D. Have you been assigned other responsibilities in addition to your job?
E. Have you received any bonuses or awards for your work?
F. Do you supervise other workers?
G. Have you been given independent projects?

If you can answer yes to the majority of these questions, you can make a reasonable case that you should be paid more for what you do. In your letter asking for a raise you should document these events with time and date. The person who will be approving your request may know nothing about you, your history or what you have done. He will likely only have your letter requesting a raise and your supervisor’s recommendations.

Needs and Desires

This category can sound like whining. The salary you are getting might not be meeting, or just meeting the threshold of income you need to support your family in many high-costs living areas. Because of the escalating cost of in-city housing, many have been facing long commutes for years, and this situation is not getting any better. Faced with hours of commuting time, any employees’ productivity is negatively impacted besides adding a daily personal risk of having an accident on the way to work. More pay might allow you to relocate closer to your work. If so, this merits mention in your request.

If more money is needed to help pay for your children’s education, that is understandable as might be the need to defray some of the health care costs for your parents. These are understandable family issues, but as they are not directly work related might be mentioned verbally, but not in your letter requesting a raise. If you bring these up to your human resources department, be prepared to document them.

You might have a personal goal related to more training or education. So far as this is related to your working environment and enhances your value to the company this reason might also be included. Items that would likely not receive much sympathy are things like redecorating your home, buying a third car, getting a boat, etc. You may want these things and feel that you have earned them, but these are not your company’s responsibility.

Work-related needs are generally acceptable, desires are not.

The Ask

Asking your boss for a raise is not easy. First you likely feel that you are somewhat in his debt because he offered you a job in the first place. It might seem ungrateful that you are now asking him for more money. Before you ask, you must convince yourself that you have earned it and have a defensible right to make such a request. If you checked off everything in the “Do I Deserve a Raise” section, you have that right.

Implied in the asking is some action on your part. Are you going to seek other employment if you do not get the money you need? Have you received an offer from another company? If so, be prepared to produce it.

What you might hear from your boss is, “If I knew you were unhappy with your pay, I could have done something about it, but you never asked. ” This might very well be true. Before you automatically convince yourself that asking for a raise will be rejected, really DO IT. More than a few people have left companies only to regret it. Give the company you are with a reasonable chance to meet your request.

How Much to Ask For

If you have checked off items A-G and accomplished them well, a $20,000 annual salary increase would not be out of line if you live in a large metro area. If you did only some of these, a proportionally smaller increase would be appropriate. What Human Resources would likely do is offer half now and progressive increases or some other benefits or perks. So, you might be faced with the option of taking half of what your wanted or leaving the company.

Job Change Costs and Risks

Say you have a job offer and it pays more money, but how does it rank up with where you are now and the added costs of relocating, a longer commute, etc.

A. Relocation costs
B. Benefit gains and losses
C. Vacation time
D. Perks
E. Health Insurance
F. Professional Training (Marketable skill enhancement.)
G. Sociology of the Work Environment

Each of these considerations need to be evaluated to determine if it is better to take the other job at higher pay or keep the one you have at salary that does not immediately come up to your request, but still has growth potential.

The unknowable risk is that after leaving your old job, the economy could change and as a last hire, you would be among the first to be fired from your new job. It would not benefit you very much if your higher-paying job only lasted a few weeks or months. It is also not likely that the company you left would take you back as an employee, as they would have by that time already have someone else in that position and hold something of a grudge after footing the costs of finding your replacement.

As for a raise NOW, or forever wish you had. If you do not get your request, it is on record and something may come of it later. Do not leave your job until you have another one in hand.

Starting Your Own Thing

In my new book, Create Your Own Job Security, I advocate that you start your own company while you are still working for someone else. This company can be from among an almost unlimited number of options to accomplish whatever financial goals that you might have, be done exactly where you are and utilize the resources that you likely already own. It might be a better option for you to stay in the situation that you are in and develop an independent, additional source of income to meet your needs than take the risks of leaving your present job and taking or searching for another with an unknown future. If most of the aspects of your job are favorable and you can independently develop something on the side that you also like to do this is a plus-plus situation for you psychologically as well as in the cash flow department.

Ask for your raise. Then carefully consider ALL of your options. You may order my book using the order form below. I also offer personal telephone consulting that you may inquire about using the contact form. Explain what you wish to discuss, and if I feel that I can help you we can set up an appointment.

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Overcoming Shyness in Life and Business

 

Gorilla Marketing

 Shortcomings I may have but being shy is not  among them. Here I am doing a video in front of a large trade exhibit in Central China. 

Perhaps the best example of a person who has overcome shyness is the performing artist who stands naked on stage and presents his art before an audience of half-drunk New Yorkers in the wee hours of the morning.

 Whatever the artistic merit of the performance might be, the scores of people who perform in such a manner on any given night in New York have overcome shyness. They have gained such confidence in their art that they can perform under any circumstances and bring it off. Gaining such confidence is not an easy thing to accomplish, and to many shy people such an event is unimaginable.

Yet, young actors might well be cast in a roll where the almost obligatory nude sequence will appear in the script. Often this is a one-on-one appearance, but might be nudity in mass on stage such as in the screen play Old Calcutta or in the movie Pearl Harbor where inductees are naked as they undergo their physicals. Nudity is a part of life, a part of modern performing art and body shyness is only one type of shyness that can impact a person in the modern business world.

Performance art, like it or not, is part of business. Sooner or later everyone will be called on to present their project, concept, invention or idea to others. Even the most solitary writer who produced his work in the safe bubble of his bedroom, now has to come forward and describe is creation to a skeptical audience in order to have his work turned from script to movie or from concept to the reality of an ad campaign on national TV. If you have a business turn-around-concept, you must be able to voice that concept with a degree of conviction, passion and clarity to a dispassionate audience.

Mechanical presentation methods like Power Point, product videos, hand-out materials and financial projections can be assembled. Such things may be distributed, but with the flood of slick media presentations and ads coming across nearly everyone’s desk, it is the personal approach that really sells. A shy person may be sufficiently disabled by their shyness to make such appearances almost impossible, whatever the merits of his project might be.

Types of Shyness

  1. Body shyness is a major problem with some individuals. A person needs to ask himself, “Is my shyness related to how I think I look?” Grooming, clothing, posture and physical conditioning can help improve this image. It would be a strange company indeed, that a person would be required to present his project naked. In fact one method to overcome shyness is to imagine that the audience is naked, or a bunch of monkeys.

If body shyness is indeed a problem, this is something that can be worked on. Honor the audience by being dressed one step above what is their common dress. If presenting to a Silicon Valley crowd dressed in “business casual,” wear a sports coat and open shirt. If the board members are in suite and tie, do the same.

Issues involving body shape are more difficult, but learn to live with the unique person that is represented by the body that you inhabit. All of us are differently gifted and afflicted. This difference is part of what makes your message unique and valuable. It is part of your personal branding. Whatever body you have, make it an asset for your business identification and an aid to help people remember you as an individual.

2.  Knowledge shyness is where the message about to be delivered is not well developed, and the person doing the presentation is so uncertain of the outcome that he is hesitant in delivery, draws ambiguous conclusions and generally muddles the message. Preparation is the key element of making such a presentation. Check and run through all of the slides and handouts. Have your presentation largely on a screen and use this as a prompter during your presentation. This will insure that you get all of your points, or your bosses’ points across, whether you believe them or not. Rehearsals will help. Taping or videoing them will reveal problem areas that need to be overcome. Be well prepared and things will go well.

3. Feelings of personal inadequacy can become obvious to an audience during a presentation. Often these arise from a fear of failure. “Who am I to be delivering this message to this audience?” is a typical mental question. This answer is briefly to “Know your stuff.” After all, you are the one who developed it, your know more about this topic than anyone else in the room so develop the confidence to present your material briefly and well.

4. Body functions such as waste elimination and sex are another source of shyness. It has been often said, “You know when the honeymoon is over when your spouse no longer bothers to close the door when they go to the bathroom.” While issues of filming sex scenes are significant to actors they are not a part of customary corporate cultures, although bathroom encounters could be. This may be the only time and place where a junior executive may have a chance to make his “elevator pitch” to a senior individual.

Using Videos to Overcome Shyness

One reason why events like debate and plays are part of Grammar and High School is that these events help students get accustomed to the concept of appearing on stage and presenting before their peers and families.  If you did not get this training during your early education or in College, filming yourself on video is a way that you can perfect your message. When you have a version of your presentation ready you can publish it on line and see if your get any feedback about it.  No one has to see these videos but you. If you have a friend, trusted co-worker or life coach, you can get feedback from them.  Audio tapes might also be used, but the videos allow you to dispassionately critique your own work before passing it along to others, or to the world in general. Such videos might be used as a part of your training for Toastmasters or a TED talk, and the ability to produce them should be in every modern businessperson’s toolbox.

A simple video camera can make an acceptable video or you can even record on your smart phone.  You can prop the pone up on something or rig a cardboard holder to mount it on a tripod. I will do a video on how to make one. In the meantime, I have a video posted that covers the basics of making a YouTube video. You may view “Basic YouTube Videoing for Writers, Artists and Creative Content Producers” at: https://youtu.be/3UqY9pTUKII.

This video is among the over 725 that I have on line at the moment on outdoor and business-related topics.  If I at 77 can do videos, you younger folks who have never known a non-screen society certainly can do even better. If you need some help you can contact me using the contact form below. We can arrange a 30- minute telephone consultation that will be followed up by a written report.

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Ads for Your Business or Services that Pay You Money

Stacy Harris family

You can have ads for your business or service that circulate worldwide, contain exactly the content that you want, stay up forever and pay you money. In the photo outdoor personality Stacy Harris and I am being filmed by her son while we do a video at a trade show. 

Money- generating advertising can have graphic, written, video and audio sections along with still photographs. The ads may use actors, drawn figures, animals, automation or even you to voice or sing your message. They may be shot in color, black and white or false color or even in 3-D. The mix of original content is unlimited, and preexisting content that is your property may be incorporated in updated versions.

The reach of your ad is anywhere the internet is available. It may be produced in any language, although English is a popularly understood increasingly universal language among those who have disposable income. The platform is replacing Google as the preferred search engine for finding information on not only how-to projects, but for services that include lifestyle change, work, life skills, personal relations, religious topics and entertainment of all sorts. The ads may be serious or comic. Even though broaching serious subjects like death, disease, war, poverty, malnutrition, mental illness or depression, an ad employing comedy can highlight a problem and promote solutions about serious subjects.

Self-produced ads may be done by anyone, anywhere and at nearly any time at very little costs. Except for a few pieces of hardware and some mostly free on-line programs, the ads may be entirely designed, shot, produced and distributed by the originator with or without the help of a few friends or passers-by. Your spouse, child or even the kid next door might become your co-producer.

YouTube Videos as Ads

There are few populations in the world today who do not have access to smart-phones and the internet. The great majority of people have been exposed to YouTube videos, and billions of people view some YouTube content every day. YouTube has in many ways supplemented TV as the most frequently used information and entertainment media. Although used by many in conjunction with Facebook and Twitter to provide connections with friends and family, these simple videos can, and increasingly do, have commercial uses.

In order to earn money for the free use of the platform, Google runs ads on YouTube videos. These may be short or long and in some cases the ads may be longer than the videos themselves. Those who generate a sufficient number of videos and followers will receive a small amount of compensation which will be sufficient to upgrade the low costs equipment needed to produce more YouTubes. Additional income may be derived from sponsors by placing display ads on your channel or videos.

An all-ad video very quickly gets flipped through. Individuals cannot often compete with ads produced by large multinational companies who may spend tens of thousands of dollars on a single ad and pay $100,000 for a 30-second TV spot. But interesting and useful content can be provided much less expensively and an ad and/or link to your products or services will be accepted and viewed if it is reasonably connected to the video’s content.

An Example

I am a creative 77-year-old guy who has published 18 books through a combination of self and commercial publishers. Most of my content is related to outdoor and business topics, which may cover everything from wild-game cooking to home repair or even how to start your own business. These topics are also covered in over 725 YouTube videos that have been produced over the past six years. Each of the videos contains ads for my books and consulting services besides providing interesting and useful content for my nearly 6,000 subscribers and over 3,000,000 viewers. I do not have sponsors on my Hovey Smith Channel, but do receive $2,000 a year from Google as income from the videos.  I also have another channel, Hovey’s Knives of China, where I feature culinary knives based on 3,000-year-old bronze knives made in China’s Waring States Period, but I now make of modern steels in my shop in Central Georgia.

Six Keys to Being a Successful YouTuber

  1. Stay on topic. My personal creative drive disperses my YouTube topics in too many directions. Stay focused on one topic one type of presentation in your Channel and you will attract more followers at a faster rate. Put your personal YouTubes on another Channel and keep your commercial channel focused on your art, product or service .
  2. Your channel should not be so much about you, but how what you do can help others improve their lives. Can your YouTube help them repair their car, build something they need, overcome depression, provide entertainment or help them train their dog?
  3. The videos in your channel should have a unique feel to them in content and presentation to differentiate between your products and those made by others. It is easy to be carried away by special effects, but these often detract from your message, rather than enhance it, unless they are really over the top. The music you produce, the types of services that you offer or your products need to have your own stamp. Your channel needs to reflect your creative impulses, rather than being copied from someone else.
  4. Regularly produce content. Although it is possible for one video to have millions of hits, the better plan is to make them consistently and make hundreds of them. You may have one that hits the jackpot, but producing a consistent body of work over a sustained period of time will get the job done, attract attention to your product and become noticed by your viewing public.
  5. When your fans and detractors comment, reply in a measured, helpful manner. Let your fans go to battle for you. Nothing worthwhile produced by anyone will please everyone.  Accept help graciously. Repel attacks with a measured dignified response.
  6. Start now. It is very easy to put off any self-improvement program. You may not have exactly the right equipment, you may not feel like you have the talent to speak on camera or you may think, “Who am I to tell anyone anything?” lf you have a heartfelt message about anything, YouTube will give you a way to deliver it and tell the world about you and your products. There is a population that needs to hear what you have to say, and they will reward you for saying it.

The sooner you start posting your distinctive YouTube videos the sooner they can start advertising you and your products to the world. I have some resources than can help including a YouTube video, “Basic YouTube Videoing for Writers, Artists and Creative Content Producers” that you may view at: https://youtu.be/3UqY9pTUKII.

I also have a three-day video coaching program that I conduct in Georgia where I teach you how to make and post your video content. To inquire you can use the reply box below.

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Entrepreneurship As a Means of Combating Loneliness

L Old hom in Louis

Homes that once held several generations of a family are now occupied by surviving older family members who feel increasingly cut off from society. This particular house is in Louisiana, but could represent tens of thousands of such houses in North America.

Useful work to fill the hours of our days is what your body would tell you it wants if it could speak.

In 2018 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the CDC, declared that loneliness was the second most significant lifestyle contributor to premature death in older segments of the population. The CDC said that loneliness was surpassed only by obesity as a contributor to early deaths by heart disease, stroke and suicide.  Loneliness, which is often expressed by a progressive withdrawal from society, can occur because of mental or physical disabilities, economic stress, post-traumatic syndrome or an increasing feeling that you are no longer doing anything that matters to anyone.

Loneliness, coupled with inactivity, contributes to smoking, over eating, excess alcohol consumption and reliance on prescription pain killers that can result in alcoholism and addiction.  “I am not hurting anyone, so leave me alone,” is a statement that is commonly heard uttered by those who might be questioned about what others view as self-destructive activities or a significant change in lifestyle.

Useful work to fill the hours of our days is what your body, the human animal, would tell you it wants if it could speak. We humans, as a species, were designed to do physical stuff. This was evading predators that were more physically powerful than we, running to pursue game and climbing trees to gather food and seek safety.  Later in human development it became necessary to work to gather wood for cooking, build shelters to protect us from harsh physical environments and fashion tools and clothing. As man became a farmer who had to plant, grow and harvest his own food, there was much physical labor involved, although now assisted by animals and machines. Such has been the nature of human development.

By the end of the 20th Century, mental, rather than physical activities, tended to dominate more of man’s existence. Water no longer had to be drawn for a well and hauled into the house. More efficient means of heating were developed that did not require wood to be harvested, split and hauled. Many became more sedentary in their everyday activities. Those who were prudent sought sports, gyms and outdoor activities to not only stay connected with their fellow men, but keep their bodies in physical condition. To be frank, keeping the body in a sexually attractive condition was the main driver for many, but whatever the motivation, significant benefits to general health and longevity resulted.

Now that You Are Older

Just by living a half-century or more, you have been exposed to accidents, injuries and illnesses. Some of these impacts on your physical and mental states can be mitigated at the time, but reappear at later stages in your life. As you age life takes another toll as those you knew, worked with and loved pass away. Your circle of relatives and friends decreases which is augmented by an increasingly mobile population where your kids and grandkids move away to start their own lives by participating in an increasingly mobile and global work life. Wherever you are, you are left more and more alone with each passing year. Where once three or more generations lived in the same house, those houses now stand abandoned not only in North America, but all over the world. If you are the last family member living in such a place, no wonder you are lonely.

Using the skills that you already have, learning others and starting your own late-life business can have significant impacts on the pleasure you derive from life and improve your sense of self-worth, regardless of the physical state that you find yourself in at the moment. If you are, or can become, computer savvy, the entire globe can be your marketplace as you promote your ideas, concepts and inventions to help others improve their lives and you yours.

Ask if you need someone to teach you how to work a computer, do a video or sell things on line. There are those who can and will help. Once on line, a universe of goods and services are available to you, but a degree of skepticism and caution needs to be exercised, because some are scams that promise much, but deliver very little. It is better to enlist the services of a young relative or even the kid next door, to help you out.

Working on establishing your own business, seeking and accepting help from others, testing ideas on strangers, buying and selling are all active interchanges between you and the rest of the world that help combat the feelings of loneliness. These positive interactions with others can help you can break free of the feelings of isolation. This is a far better alternative that vegetating in front of a TV set watching news of gloom and doom.  In fact, I would suggest that you use TV as sparingly as possible as a reward for accomplishing your work goal/s for the day.

Mental activity is one half of a potential anti-loneliness program. Physical activity is equally significant, even if it might be confined to house and yard-keeping chores. If you are in an urban setting, an exercise machine that you actually use would be a good option. Set aside a time each day to do your exercises and keep a log on what you do. Recording your progress will provide an incentive to keep up with your program, and return to it when you may relapse, as when you have a temporary injury or illness.

Deciding on what businesses to try and when to try it is one of the topics that I cover in my most recent book, Create Your Own Job Security: Plan to Start Your Own Business at Midlife. Another is starting a business with limited or almost no resources. If you have lived, you likely have in TED-Talk language, “An idea worth sharing.” If you can share that idea in a manner that is meaningful to others, that can be the basis of a successful business that might not physically get you out of your house, but will enormously expand your human-contact base to help you overcome your feelings of isolation and despair, which are the principal manifestations of loneliness.

Create Your Own Job Security may be ordered by using the Pay Pal button below, from Amazon or your local bookstore. I also offer individual consulting which may be arranged by contacting me through the reply box and telling me the topic that you wish to discuss. These telephone consults are $100 for a half-hour conversation on whatever topic you need, followed by a written report. If I don’t feel I can help you, I will say so and will often refer you to another source.

Create Your Own Job Security

Generally available for special promotion price of $10.99.

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