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Friday, September 27, 2013

Career Devolution



I think back 30 years to when I was in my 20s. My friends and I were getting on with our lives. Some of them were very talented people who were making a name for themselves back then. Others were on the path to greater career advancement. Hope was in the air. We were young and we were smart.

Where are we now? A fairly small percentage of us have gone on to have reasonably good careers. Almost all of them did so by moving far away from our hometown. They were able to take advantage of areas of the country, or the world, that were doing a lot better than our dying mill town.

Moving is hard, especially of you have no family or good friends to rely on. One of my friends moved back mostly because his parents could be free babysitters. Child care is expensive. The thing is, it's tough to make a go of it without a personal safety net. It might be as simple as having someone who'll give you a ride into work while your car is in the shop.

There are other reasons to stay in an area with a poor economy. I love the outdoors and wilderness areas. A lot of people who stuck around feel the same way.

There was a price to pay. Decades later, I see a lot of the people basically back to square one. People who were working their way up company career ladders now find themselves back on the lower rungs. One guy started out moving stuff around in a warehouse. Over time he moved into company management. Then he went through years of company bankruptcies, downsizing, unemployment, and constantly having to restart his career. Now he's back to moving stuff in a warehouse. That's much harder to do with a 50+ year old body.

One guy I know who found himself back at square one hung himself. The poor guy just could not deal with it. He blamed himself for a lot of things out of his control.

I knew there was a price to pay for sticking around. Making money was never one of my goals, so I'm not disappointed. Living well, on the other hand, was one of my goals. My lovely wife and I live better than most people with three times our income. We are fortunate, as we could just as easily be homeless right now had things gone a bit different.

Funny thing is, my friends and I are baby boomers -supposedly the well off generation. Perhaps a lot of my generation did well for themselves, but plenty fell between the cracks.

-Sixbears

18 comments:

  1. Some would say it's the luck of the draw, but a lot of it has to do with setting your priorities. I could be a lot better off, had I set proper priorities earlier, but I could sure be a lot worse off, too.

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    1. I could be better off too, but only money wise.

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  2. It's funny how many of us find in our later years that true happiness isn't necessarily in chasing the almighty dollar!

    As they say, too soon old and too late smart!

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    1. Money never motivated me. I like to have some toys and have some fun, but my fun is pretty cheap.

      Good thing I was upfront about that with the lovely wife before I married her. Could have caused problems.

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  3. I have been fortunate that I made good decisions although I understand that it is not always a choice when life changes occur. I went in the military after high school with the plan of doing 20. After 5 years I got out for marriage reasons. I was partly smart and joined the Air Guard and did a total of 22 years before I retired. If I see 60 I will get a small pension.

    When I got out I became a police officer and draw a state pension clearing almost $1600 a month after taxes. When I retired I started working security and should make $31k this year.

    I also mow a few properties and have cleared almost $3000 after taxes so far this year. I expect to clear about $4000 this year. Im not killing myself but that is $333 a month averaged out over the year. I make a few more dollars on two tax free lots which helps. It is really my play money.

    Post divorce I have some pretty good bills going to the ex but I will pay off alot of stuff in two years. I could quit the security job in 2 years but it keeps me out of trouble.

    Retirement really is about getting debt free and my land will be paid for before 60. With my pensions I will be sitting pretty good if they hold up. If not, everyone will be hurting. My only major thing to do is build my under 1000 sq foot, energy efficient, semi off grid house. I have enough skilled friends I will keep costs down. I'm in a singlewide now but that will be my sons.

    I did break down and splurge on a 4 cylinder Tacoma to replace the big GMC and it was a good move all around. Great little truck and it is all I will need. Sorry but no small American trucks are built now and this was 65% US built so it is as American as anything out there. I am pushing 24 mpg average so I am saving some money over the old truck.

    I wont get rich working security but there will always be a need for it. My lots belong mostly to Doctors so hopefully I can keep those. I under bid the competition and keep my overhead low. I dont have a $5000 zero turn. Small lots so I use a $200 push mower and wrote off half that cost. I needed a mower and a good weedeater anyway. Wrote of the rider even though I dont use it any more besides the house.

    I guess my point is to diversify. I work alot but since Im newly single I am keeping things quiet. My only "date" for now is my 2 days a week with my young daughter. Can you say "spoil".

    Another good post Six Bear.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Nightshift - very sorry to hear of the divorce - hope you and kidlet have fun during your time together. Hopefully, your ex decides (or has already decided) that her welfare is more important than the differences making the split.

      Very impressed with your planning - it sounds like you have your priorities in order. Good luck.

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  4. Wow, didn't realize I typed that much.

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    1. Thanks Nightshift. Apparently I hit a nerve.

      Hope they don't mess up your state pension like they did with mine. However, even if they do I have a feeling you'll find a way to get by.

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  5. Priorities. Peace and trying to live debt free makes all the difference when retired. I wouldn't want to change places with any of our friends.

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    1. Being satisfied with your own life beats the heck out of keeping up with the neighbors.

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  6. If you can look back on your life and recall more smiles than crying, I consider your life a success. If you are truly happy - that is what really counts.

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  7. I just don't know if it is a blessing or a curse.
    My first wife divorce me because I'm sterile and she wanted to have a family.
    My co-workers are "all" having problems with their kids , (drugs, child out of wedlock, debt of their kids, unemployment, underemployment, kids stealing and going to jail.).. I think some times that I'm "very lucky".
    I own a cabin in the mountain free and clear, but I refuse to pay the inflated prices of homeownership in the city. I live 6 days a week in a travel trailer close to work, pay little rent to the homeowner that let me park in there. Take my showers at work, I just try not to be a burden to my landlord.
    The only thing is : Am I missing something for not having a family ? even if they were adopted.???

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    1. I think you save a lot of potential heartache, but at the end of your life, not having anyone might not be fun. I do agree that not having anyone to have to save for and hand down has its advantages - burn it while you earn it and let the check to the undertaker bounce. :^)

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    2. Dying broke might just be good planning.

      I would not trade my kids for the world, but they are the reason I'm still making payments on the house. Should have been paid 10 years ago.

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  8. I love yout outlook on community. As you stick close to mother nature.Others want to tear it to get at it coal.Fracture it .Those that live on it love it. Those in corporate office dont understand when fire comes out of well water.Or clear running streams running foul.
    You never see the big dogs jumping out of windows.Its the middle and lower runs of the corporate ladder jumping.
    Keep smiling as you watch deer in the woods jump that fence.

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  9. Let's all move to Bhutan, where happiness counts for more than $$$. I've met far more happy people with little to their name than genuinely happy rich folks. Poo hits the fan regularly. Such is life. Smiling in adversity and being grateful for health, family and friends goes a long way to a good life.

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