The Best Time to Plan for the Future is Before It Happens

Good morning and happy Hump Day! I hope your day is off to a great start.

So, I woke up yesterday with the best of intentions to write something really intriguing and stunningly insightful. Okay, I wake up with that intention every day. But if you’ve been with me any time at all, you know that’s kinda like a baseball player stepping up to the plate. They always expect a hit, and some believe every swing will be a home run. But more often than not, they whiff.

In my defense, I had to get ready for an early morning job interview yesterday. It’s the same job I’m doing now, for the same people I work with today. Only difference is who will sign my paychecks. I assume pay will be involved. We haven’t discussed that part yet.

If you remember my post from Monday, my contract with this company had expired and I was working on faith that the contract would be extended. Well, that came through late in the day, so I’m good for another few months while they decide if they like me enough to keep me around on a more permanent basis. Notice I said, “more permanent.” In the corporate world, that means “at least for this week.”

In my business, I talk to people a lot about income stability. Once upon a time, you found a job, went to work every day, and after 40 years of loyal service, you were sent home with a gold watch and a monthly check. If you were lucky, you climbed the ladder along the way, but not always. My grandpa worked on the same assembly line almost 50 years.

But anybody born after 1925 knows those days are long gone. Jobs come and go, and companies change their market focus on a dime. Part of that is the natural evolution of business. Last time I checked, there are very few companies still making slide rules, and they’re not actively hiring designers to enhance their product. On the other hand, if you have one of those dinosaurs at home, it’s probably worth a lot.

Another uncomfortable fact is that we’re all replaceable, at least in the corporate world, and company loyalty is usually a one-way street. It’s not that employers don’t value us or our work. But we have to accept the fact that we are little more than tools to get a specific job done, and every day newer and better tools pop up. Unless you’re a hammer. Some things are as good as they’ll ever get.

Throw in the fact that every day brings challenges we never anticipated, and what we know today is never certain. Two years ago, I had brain surgery that could have ended my work career for good. Several years before that my wife was driving to work when another car crossed the centerline. She was back to work in two months, but it could have been much worse.

I’m not trying to be a downer here, but we all have to acknowledge the fact that the life we live today can change in an instant. Having a backup plan has never been more critical than it is today. And no, I’m not talking about the lottery. If your idea of investing in the future involves a weekly Powerball ticket, we need to talk.

Yet, how many of us go through life with that lottery mentality that says no matter how bad things are today, something will magically happen, and we’ll live happily ever after? Sure, I’m a glass-half-full kind of guy, and I tend to focus more on the positive. But if we’re just sitting around waiting for good things to happen, we may be waiting a long time.

If something happened today and you were suddenly no longer able to work or find employment in your career field, what would you do? Could you retire today if you had to? Could you live on whatever you and the government have set aside for your golden years? Or would you have to invoke a Plan B and try something different?

And if the answer to that question is that you’d have to scramble and try something new, let me ask an even more important question – what are you waiting for? I’m not suggesting you change careers on the off-chance you’ll find yourself unemployed, but there are literally dozens of things you can build on the side that could either supplement or replace your current income should the need arise.

We buy insurance in the hope we’ll never need it, and thank our lucky stars if that time ever comes. Life happens. Things change. And the best-laid plans go awry. The impact of those events will depend largely on what you’re doing to reduce that impact. Today. When it counts. Hopefully, you’ll never need the extra income. And if not, I bet you could find some fun ways to spend it.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

4 thoughts on “The Best Time to Plan for the Future is Before It Happens

  1. Thanks Dave, this cheered me up. I am watching my fellow citizens, MAGA supporters, storm our Capitol. Its a disgusting sight so I am glad for the distraction.

  2. This is so true. And to build upon this, I’d also like to say that the best time to do the things you need to do (such as your tasks), are before you need to do them.
    It sucks having to do the laundry or the dishes only when you need that t-shirt or cutlery. It also sucks filing your taxes when the deadline’s in an hour, versus doing it months earlier.
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Stuart. Those who have been reading these posts for a while know that one of my favorite quotes is “dig the well before you get thirsty.”
      There’s a lot of wisdom in those words.

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