Playing a better game of life – part 6 – finale

This is not the end – This is where you take over and change the game to one of your liking.

Warning: This is not a warm, fuzzy conclusion with softly swelling
inspirational music. It is more like a klaxon signaling another round
of hostile activity.

It’s time to move from the theoretical
contemplation of life as a game to getting on with it and applying what
you know.

Life is all about survival and doing things that lead to increased
survival for self, family and the greater community in which we live.

Most of us understand this fairly well because we have done things
which have actually threatened our survival at some time. If we
survived, we tend to look for ways to improve survival, not risk it

Some people lead such protected lives that the idea of "survival" is
somehow repugnant, something that only happens in a third-world
society. They have so little knowledge of the real world that they can
scarcely imagine bad things happening to them.

This can be seen in
those whose good fortune comes from wealthy parents who protect them
from the realities of life. Even as adults, these people are
"protected" by their parents influence or wealth against the results of
their own mistakes.

We live in a rapidly changing world and parents/protectors find less
and less stability in their own lives these days.

Whether it is a
natural disaster, tsunami, hurricane or just the end of a bad financial
quarter, more and more people are finding that their personal survival
depends on a certain minimum level of preparedness and not on what
"Daddy" can pull off for them.

We who have experienced financial disasters or who have
lived from paycheck to paycheck know that it doesn’t take much to go
from living well to finding oneself in dire straits.

When I see men
almost my age busing tables in Paneras, it gives me pause and I
redouble my efforts to make a go of my business enterprises.

I see many well-kept older men and women working the checkout
stations in food chains and retail establishments. These are often
people who held good-paying jobs and expected to retire comfortably
until their company off-loaded them in an effort to stay afloat in an
increasingly competitive world. These people have refashioned their lives and
have adapted to the realities of 21st century employment instability.

Most of the people I see working the craft shows are former business
professionals who have become artisans and artists. They were able to
be more selective in their occupations because they prepared themselves
for self-employment.

There are others who used their corporate time well and gave
themselves a running start when they became self-employed. They became
consultants or small suppliers to industry and they prosper
because they identified a niche and prepared well enough to deliver a
service that is needed and wanted.

I am bringing this series to a close because the game goes through
repetitive cycles and we are coming to the end of another financial year. Some of you are at risk and you need to prepare yourself as
best as you can, not necessarily by working harder.

If you are finding that your new boss is being unduly critical of
you these last few weeks, it may be because she is planning to get rid
of you in an effort to save her own job. If the company has not been
doing well, this second or fourth quarter is when efforts are
made to lighten the ship in hopes that it will weather the storm to

Your work output is rarely a consideration when it comes to
deciding who goes and who stays. In far too many cases, the people who
are kept are those who are in tight with management.

You know who you are, and if you are reading this you are probably
not one of the insiders. Instead, you have been trying to get your job
done in the midst of too many meetings and too much micro-management by
the clueless.

Do not slacken your efforts to get your job done, but network as
never before because this is a time when you need friends who have
friends who are hiring.

There is always someone who is hiring.

Your job is to find the one who is right for you.

If this person doesn’t seem to be available, hire yourself and get
on with your own business. It’s all part of finding a game that you can
win at. You may find yourself playing the best game of your life when
you are self-employed.

Give it your best and you will find that there are brighter days ahead.

Good luck.

(This was first published on September 8, 2005 and it still applies.)

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