Thursday, September 25, 2008
Does Your Career Need a Bailout?
I spoke with a colleague yesterday who shared that his depreciating 401K and disappearing home equity would probably delay his planned career bailout, otherwise known as retirement, in Feb 2009.
He joked that the proposed $700 billion business bailout was the government’s way of forcing baby boomers like him to stay in the workplace longer than planned. He was ready to move on and counting the days to an encore career. His already scheduled 21-day career bailout cruise would give him just enough time to think more seriously about what that encore career could be.
His planned career bailout was at least coming after 15 successful and enjoyable years doing work he liked. His company, like many others, was serious about keeping baby boomers on their payroll and so my colleague didn’t think he would mind working on his job longer than planned.
Our conversation, as it always does with him, made me think.
How many of us wish we could bail out of our own careers right now? How many of us would be devastated if we had to stay in our current job longer than planned? How many of us think our current work feels like a prison sentence and would stress significantly, if we knew we had to stay longer?
If you are considering exploring your career options and executing a personal career bailout you should know that the government will not - I repeat - will not, come to your rescue. No. Your successful career bailout from an unhappy workplace will have to come as a result of your own honest self evaluation; your own decision to no longer be shackled by work that paralyzes rather than excites and your courage to map a new journey for yourself.
As an eternal optimist, always thinking of possibilities, a tight economy or heaven forbid a layoff, could be the career awakening that many dissatisfied workers seek. It has worked for many people. This could be the time to reexamine not only one's finances, but one's life work and make a commitment to move towards more satisfying careers.
So, in addition to planning for life after layoff, we should also be thinking about life if we have to stay in our jobs longer than planned.