We buy all kinds of insurance, health, car, life, disability but one of the surest ways to lose everything we have is to lose our jobs. Many people could only last a matter of weeks if they lost their job before going into financial default for everything from their house and car to their credit cards.
Workers who are over 40 are advised by the local state employment office to "Make your own job." because no one will hire older workers. Laws against age discrimination are useless to help mature workers find employment.
It is also difficult for young people to find jobs that give them the security to consider marriage and families.
All of these issues are making it mandatory for smart workers to be actively looking for their next job and career.
For most of us there is no viable alternative. No job is really secure in this type of business environment. It is best to just quietly start up a business that could end up being your fall back position if your employer starts laying people off or off shoring whatever job you are doing. In the current job market it is more likely than not that you will lose a job sometime in your life and maybe multiple times.
You need to realize that it can happen and take steps to deal with it realistically. It would have nothing to do with whether you are a good worker. Many times companies just want to raise their stock price. The stock market likes it when companies lay off workers. It is how they are. Working hard as most of us do, will not guarantee you will not get the pink slip. You have to be looking for new skills and a new job before you are laid off from your current job.
So what are some good strategies for surviving hard times?
One of the best jobs to have is to do something no one else wants to do. For example, people who pump out septic tanks make good money. Of course you have to have a tanker truck and a place to dump the contents, usually a municipal sewage treatment plant with fees.
Many lawyers are barely surviving because there are too many of them, about 20 for every engineering graduate. There are not enough people with money to sue. But there are all kinds of engineers from many types of process specialists to civil engineers who might be more employable than a social worker, liberal arts major or, yes even a lawyer. Any course of study that might be considered more difficult has fewer graduates and more job demand.
Fresh produce growers can put whatever price the market will bear on their products. They can have lots of customers, not one big abusive "Blankmart" stealing their profits. And best of all they actually have nutrients in the food they sell. (Did you know a piece of produce has lost one half its nutrients just 6 hours after it has been picked? Travel time does matter. That is a really good reason to buy locally.)
We know an older man who was a corporate financial guy. After losing one job in a Wall Street takeover and quitting another after being ordered to lie to both customers and employees he decided he did not want to be employed by some heartless corporation any longer. He is now working at a new job as a black belt search engine optimizer. He can pick and choose his clients and work from home. Did he have to learn some new skills? Yes! But it was worth it.
Some other good careers might be electricians, plumbers, watch repairman, auto repairman or other careers that are impossible to do from a distance.
Whatever you decide to do, be prepared to keep learning. Do it formally or informally but do it. You will live a more secure life for you and yours and insure your own career, job, car, house, medical and life insurance.
Ron Stone is a financial specialist. His company buys private mortgage notes and structured settlements. Learn more about selling a note or structured settlement payments at his websites, Sell Settlement Payments and Sell My Note