Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Changing Face of the Hunter

For the record, my retirement in March 2009 was never meant to be permanent. I intended to take a sabbatical from work. Alright, I wanted a good long vacation. There were, however, many things on my To Do List. It doesn’t really matter that most of those items are still on my list to be done, I have accomplished a great deal. For one thing, I’m nearly through seasons 1 through 7 of Stargate SG-1 on I’d love to write a testimonial for them. Oh, wait. I guess I just did.

Actually, I planned my summer for several events. I wanted to be one of the male support leaders for the church’s young women’s camp. I planned on doing the same for Boy Scout summer camp, but my Eagle Scout son decided he would rather not sleep in a hot dusty, camp with a host of dusty, smelly guys. With no job, it was a simple matter to plan a trip over the river and through the woods to visit my parents, siblings and cousins at the ever famous family reunion. I went fishing, kayaking and made a second trip to visit my parents.

As far as summers go, I had a pretty decent one. Just as bills in the mail follow Christmas, so did reality come after the summer vacations. Bills still have to be paid and groceries need to be bought. With no excuses and plenty of reasons, I started my job search again. It would help if I knew what I wanted to be when I grow up, but there are an abundance of postings for employment even though it is true that it appears that a majority of the jobs require special degrees or certifications.

Some of the opportunities for someone seeking employment are job fairs. The term fair seems an appropriate term as employers set up booths hawking their wares which, in this case, are jobs of every type imaginable. Step right up. Throw your resume’ at a targeted job and see if it sticks. For your consolation prize you can walk away with a variety of trinkets including pens, candy, calendars etc.

As I peer into the sea of faces and posters, the background turns to a haze and the multitude of voices mingle in such a way as to appear to be nothing more than ocean waves or seagulls. For me the task of picking a business is quite easy. I walk past the companies that don’t appeal. In fact, the entire experience lasts only about fifteen minutes. Usually I am only looking for certain companies and it’s easy to dismiss the rest as so much clutter.

I attended my latest job fair yesterday, but saw something I don’t remember as numerous as the previous experience. There were many gray haired individuals scattered throughout the flocks of those seeking gainful employment. While conversing with others I found that some, like me, have either retired from a career or are contemplating doing so. Others have been the results of downsizing. Still more are discouraged entrepreneurs whose businesses have failed in a less than stellar economy.

Retirement is just not what it used to be anymore. The government is currently suspending the cost of living increase for social security recipients. What used to be a reasonable retirement income no longer covers rising health costs, utility bills or increasing taxes. Greater numbers of seasoned citizens than ever are supplementing their income with credit cards and loans. Even the government has increased their debt many times over prior years.

I have been advising my children to get as good an education as possible. I have counseled them to find a job where they can work for at least thirty-five years. They need to avoid debt and create savings accounts and retirement accounts in addition to any retirement plan their employers may have. I encourage any who listen to be financially prudent in all that they do. This will hopefully help them avoid becoming the face of the modern job hunters who are graying around the temples with wrinkles around once smooth eyes. After all, if we do not plan to take care of our “golden years” who will.

"If you always do what you've always done, then you'll always get what you always got."

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