Playing a better game of life – part 6 – finale

Warning: This is not a warm, fuzzy conclusion with softly swelling inspirational music. It is more like a klaxon signalling another round of hostle 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 needlessly.

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 been threatened with 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. They 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 many more who used their corporate time well and gave themselves a running start when they became self-employed. They became consultants to industry or small suppliers to industry and 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 up on the end of another financial quarter. 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, the end of this first or third quarter is when efforts are made to lighten the ship in hopes that it will weather the storm to come. 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.

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


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