“If misery loves company, misery has company enough.” Henry David Thoreau
Not too long ago, I took a flight up to Hartford, CT. My daughter is a professor at a nearby school and wanted to get together with her, have some dinner and laughs and then high tail it out of Dodge.
Nothing against Connecticut’s capital city and it’s not that I don’t love my daughter. In fact, I like the town and love both my daughters. And, they know it.
It’s just that I believe in quick trips. I’d rather be an in-demand guest than considered the family blight.
Back in the late 60’s, I worked in Hartford at Boss Radio, WPOP. I was the Leader of Lasagna Land, The Prince of Pastrami People and The King of Kielbasa Country…. You get the idea. No one in life escapes some level of chagrin. (:
It was fun. And, now I was back in my old hunting grounds. I spent 2 years there-some great memories. Of course, the area has changed and that’s the point I’m getting to.
There was some time to kill before Chrissy was free of her daily professorial obligations so I started looking for one of my favorite New England stores, LL Bean, which had recently opened an outlet in the area.
I pulled into a gas station for directions and then got back in the rented car and on my way.
Now, here’s the thing. I live in Southern California and traffic is horrendous. You are always on your guard. Traffic is coming from all angles.
So, I did what most Angelenos do. I started the engine, looked to the left, looked to the right, looked to the left again, looked straight ahead, took a look through the rear view mirror and then, and then, it hit me!
It was the realization that I must have looked like a madman to the locals. They must have thought either I had a severe “case of the strange” or involved in some arcane, bizarre ritual; better to be dealt with by local authorities and detained for overnight observation or driven to the county line with instructions to never again enter the jurisdiction.
You see, there was no traffic. None whatsoever! A car hadn’t passed by the whole time I was there.
It’s what I call “Constipation Anticipation.”
Now, this piece has absolutely nothing to do with internal plumbing nor with auto safety. Sure, obey da rules of da road; got it. That’s not what I’m talking about.
Recently, I held a 2 day workshop in Hollywood called “The Most Effective Strategies to Getting the Job You Want Right Now.”
It was geared to the 50 Plus Adult that was looking for positive change in their work-life. It targeted people who were dissatisfied with their current position, under-employed or unemployed.
I shot straight with them and let them know I’ve been there, done that and have experienced the accompanying hopelessness, uncertainty and despair. But, more importantly, I pointed out promise, achievable expectations and real opportunity.
It’s a whole new ballgame and there are new rules to learn and follow.
It was a Bad News/Good News scenario that I presented with a positive message of hope and change.
Right off, I told them if you are over the age of 50, you will NEVER get another job……BUT…………
BUT, that doesn’t mean you won’t ever find employment. You can get hired IF you know and abide by the rules.
Again, the game has changed.
There are very few 9-5 jobs anymore. Today, it is all about projects. People are hired as consultants. People are considered resources and service providers. People are hired for temporary positions that last anywhere from 6 to 18 months.
The secret is once hired, start looking for the next project.
This is the new model. It’s based on the life-styles of younger demographics. They want work to be fun. Work and Play are the same thing. It’s a life style. As soon as work gets boring, they move on to the next fun thing.
However, that’s not the goal of most Adults over the age of 50.
We look for some semblance of balance in work and life.
The bad news is this Work/Life Style balance doesn’t exist anymore.
Now, dealing with Human Resources, in most cases, is an exercise in total futility. Today, HR people just fill out boxes. That’s all they do. They don’t care. And, if a candidate appears to be over the age of 30, they’re considered ancient.
Unfortunately, that’s the truth about the Job market for the over 50 crowd.
Then, I zeroed in on how to find employment, how to position and brand yourself, how and where to find work, what to do and how to best present yourself as a package in today’s changing working environment.
I thought I did well explaining it all and then, during a break, a woman in the audience came up to me and asked, “you mean, I’ll never get another job”?
Hearing this from the woman broke my heart. It confirmed what I’ve discussed in previous pieces that “people hear what they want to hear and only hear what they need to hear when they are ready to hear what they heard.”
And, it reminded me of my “lack of traffic” episode in Hartford. I was so conditioned to SoCal roadways. It had become such an integral part of my driving habit; a habit that had no application to my experience in Connecticut.
And, it reaffirmed my conviction that most people are predisposed to Anticipation Constipation.
Luckily, I had the chance to explain again to the woman what I said versus what she heard. She wasn’t deaf. She was blind to what was said.
Unfortunately, the old saw about “no news is good news” is so true. Let me explain-
It’s been my experience that all too many people get so fixated on the negative-either out of habit, fear or capitulation-that they are enslaved by their preconceived notions.
They can’t get out of their own way.
It’s like a circus elephant. As a baby, they are conditioned to go no further than the chain wrapped around their leg allows.
That memory stays with them forever. Even fully-grown, they will rarely attempt to challenge that which binds them.
We are what we believe and all too often, what we see is what we expect. And, during these extremely tough times, the negative is all we see and all we get. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Sure, it’s rough out there. And, we all have setbacks. We run out of steam and don’t know what to do, where to go, how to re-ignite enthusiasm and how to reactivate positivity.
Yes, it’s a bitch. But who wants to be indebted to the dour? Where is the payback?
As with most things in life, the cycle of adversity comes with an expiration date. We all know that to be true but sometimes we find a perverse pleasure in wallowing in dejection.
Don’t honor the negative nor provide it maintenance.
Help others. Volunteer. Walk. Workout. Stay away from constant complainers. Read.
You have to position yourself as a physician. Your job is to heal what ails your patients.
With that attitude, it is not about you, it’s about the person in need.
You become a commodity, a necessity.
This is work. So, do it. Staying active is the best invitation for looming opportunity. You never know.
It’s been my life long belief that when you least expect things to happen, that’s when they usually do.
That is why Action is an attractor. It is a magnet. It broadens the spectrum of movement and chance.
Plus, it keeps the mind busy. There is nothing worse than lack of preparation, not being “up to speed” when favorable circumstances arise.
Anticipation Constipation. Who needs it?