Cha-Cha-Cha Change

We live in a throw-away society.

I live in the greater Seattle area.  We had a budget stadium built in in the mid-70’s. Our county leaders thought frugality was in order and decided that multi-purpose was the best bang-for-the buck and built our ugly concrete Kingdome, that was used for football, baseball, soccer, concerts, tradeshows and even basketball for a while. But after the sports teams started complaining that it wasn’t quite right, and parts of the ceiling cracked and fell into the seating area prior to a baseball game (thankfully no one was hurt), the Kingdome was doomed.  Less than 24 years after it was opened the dome was famously imploded on live TV (check it out on YouTube). It wasn’t even paid for yet.

We’ve all heard the maxim that you can count on two things in life: death and taxes. I think the truth is that you can count on CHANGE.  Most say they don’t like change, grumbling like Marty Crane in the sitcom "Frasier" who refused to part with his ugly plaid recliner, yet living with change every day in ways unrecognized. We throw away computers, TV’s, phones; most of us trade cars every few years, and the average American moves 12 times in their lifetime (U.S. Census Bureau).  The business world has been on a bullet train moving at blazing speeds of change for decades. Think of the technological advancements since World War II.  I won’t bore us all with the list.  That is for some other blogger going over the last years of the CES shows in Vegas.  For us Baby Boomers and Generation X, I have talked to many who have lost great jobs; they've felt shoved aside for the younger generation. That is a tough change to take sitting down.  That particular bit of change hurts – bad.

Did this start with the recession starting in late 2007?  Did businesses see that they could shed expensive older workers and hire less expensive, though less experienced workers?  Did we get complacent in our jobs and not work hard enough and smart enough?  We always feel we have to blame someone, right? Some good advice comes from Maya Angelou who said, "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." I have to clean out my closet and find my attitude first. I'm not sure how I feel about all of this. Maybe it is like the $20 bill you find in the coat pocket you wore last year; it was there all along, just misplaced.

We had heard for some time now that “gone are the days of lifetime employment”.  The warnings were there.  Were we listening? Sarah Gardner wrote in Marketplace: “Corporations have quietly been shedding permanent employees for years. Not just through offshoring and technology. American business farms out a surprising amount of work that used to be done in-house, from HR to IT, from marketing to maintenance.” (follow Sarah on @RadioGardner).[1] She also shares statistics of workers that have gone to alternative work arrangements like: contract, temporary, on-call, and “gig” work. Some clearly have gotten the message and embraced the future of work by striking out and freelancing their way into a paycheck.

Being part of the Boomer/Gen-X group that was handed walking papers, I am now faced with the question of “now what?”.  Do I take my resume and hit the bricks finding another job that I probably won’t like?  I could make really good money and continue to feather the retirement nest egg. But at what cost?  The stress of the last job was brutal, enough to make one ill. Maybe it is time to step back and evaluate. I look at folks who work at less demanding jobs and sigh.  Wouldn’t it be nice to just throw on some jeans and a sweater and do that instead of the heavy lifting of the business world I left behind? What about the desperately seeking part of me that has wanted to do something I love for years?  How about the creative, right-brain that’s been tied up to a chair, held hostage to the left-brain?

When do they get to unite? Or, maybe the right-brain gets to take over?  That might be nice for a change!  That might be change I could really get behind.

[1] “Why careers are gone, and jobs are going next, Sarah Gardner”, June 16, 2016, Marketplace