Archive for April 14th, 2010

14th April
2010
written by Susan

Welcome to The Bridge to Somewhere.

This is the site for those of us searching to find our place in this crazy economy or as we fondly refer to it – the New Economy.

We need a BRIDGE because we’re in transition. Plus, bridges are also a means of connection – which is what we hope this site will be.

And going SOMEWHERE is so much better than going Nowhere!

Of course, it’s no secret that this economy has hurt a lot of good people. For many, the process of trying to understand what happened and what to do next is confounding. Despite our best efforts, it’s easy to feel like you’re getting nowhere – fast! Since we’re on the path to discover a new direction ourselves, it makes sense to document our progress. Why not share what we’re learning?

Experience transformed into thoughts, words, and deeds is power. This moment in time is precious and we choose to use it in pursuit of finding the way forward.  

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Let’s start by telling the story as we’ve lived it.

Once upon a time (over most of the last 25 years) nearly everyone who wanted to work was working. Opportunity was abundant and most of us could enter or change career direction through education, training and or through individual efforts like proving yourself. “Making a living” was a course to be charted and a process to be followed; that’s probably why many of us referred to it as a career path. We took the process of work seriously and we even allowed it to define who we were in the world.

Our commitment to work helped build an economy. In return, the economy generated work. And in our paradigm, work and the economy became the YIN and YANG of economic PROSPERITY.

The evidence of prosperity – in terms of opportunity and growth – was everywhere! And no matter the circumstances in which you were working, it was possible to achieve your chosen definition and degree of prosperity.

But somewhere along the way things started to change. The tested and true strategies for overcoming obstacles, achieving success, and generating prosperity stopped producing.

We found ourselves in various forms of transition; we were being squeezed out of good positions or downsized, passed over for promotion, working for greatly reduced commissions or on straight commission, and even working for FREE (on the promise of future revenue). In addition, the abundant opportunities of the past (new positions, new projects, contract work, startups) were becoming scarcer.

It’s hard to say if it was the economy or the work side of the equation that broke down first. Perhaps both were eroding simultaneously. What we would later come to realize, is that things really hadn’t been what they seemed to be! Our beliefs about our security in the world of work and the reality we were facing were two completely different things. It was one of those shocking “pay no attention to that man behind the curtain” moments.

Unfortunately, we never took the time to fully understand the economy/economic/financial side of the equation.  It’s accurate to admit we took it for granted. Consequently, we were not prepared for the crash (October 2008). This final event forced us into some heavy soul-searching…

The truth is that what we had created and sustained was an illusion of prosperity. “Prosperity” had been (and is being) nurtured and supported through unsound practices – fancy financial manipulation – bubbles and debt – with help from Wall Street, The FED, Uncle Sam, Congress, unions, a corporate-owned media, and corporate-sponsored lobbyists. Sadly, the working people of America are bearing the burden for the combined failures of the entities and institutions listed here. The loss of equity – in everything from our careers, our home values and retirement/savings, and in our lives – is unprecedented.

We were living “The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs” story all along and didn’t know it. Or if we did suspect that things weren’t right, we didn’t or couldn’t do anything about it. Yes, we “goosed” the economy to death. For what, exactly?

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We know that the world of work, the economy, and one’s economic prosperity are intrinsically linked. That’s why there are so many talented, experienced, hard-working folks finding themselves in the following categories.

  1. Employed Under Stress.In a situation where layoffs have decimated work groups and everyone must do more with less. The impact is felt in real terms such as permanent pay cuts and a decrease and or elimination of benefits like paid vacations, 401K’s, healthcare benefits and insurance. Add the constant fear of losing your job, and for a few – guilt that you’re still employed – and you have the new normal at work.
  2. Underemployed.
  3. Unemployed.

Check. Check. Check. We’ve been there too.

And when/why did so many of the things we believed in and could count on stop working for us? 

  • I’ve always been able to make a good living.
  • If I apply myself and work hard, I create financial success/security for myself and my family.
  • If I did want to change jobs, or if I found myself in a search of a new job, my experience would produce options – a choice of where I go and what I do.
  • You can do meaningful work in the world and make a living.
  • You can reach key contacts and prospects by phone during work hours.
  • A great resume will help you get noticed.
  • I can sell the house in 3 months and move out of state for that new position.
  • The contractors and or consultants (1099 employees) are making all the money and having all the fun.
  • Teachers and Government workers don’t do as well financially as those of us in the private sector.
  • We’ll be better off financially than our parents.
  • The free market rewards those who play by the rules.
  • The system rewards those who produce positive results.
  • Performance and pay go hand-in-hand.
  • You are never too good or too big to fail.
  • If we don’t buy a home now we’ll be priced out of the market.
  • Taking personal responsibility for our mistakes is a virtue.  
  • The fundamentals of the economy are strong.
  • Excuses (“We didn’t see it coming!”) are always a cover-up.

If any or even all of the above are no longer true…than this blog is for you. If any or all of these are still true we want to hear from you too.

Here’s what we’ve learned from our experiences:

  1. The old ways and the old rules (at work and in the economy) – NO LONGER APPLY. They won’t/can’t get us where we are going next.
  2.  The work/jobs (as we knew them) are never coming back.
  3. More for less is the new normal in the workplace. More work, more hours, more responsibility, more stress, more fear (of losing your job). All with less people and for less compensation (measured in both wages and benefits)!
  4. There are lots of great folks out there who want to work, to contribute and who are finding the marketplace unbelievably challenging and inhospitable.
  5. The way forward is not understood and or well-known.

So, how did we get here? Where are we headed? How do we get from here to there? Which path do we take?

We believe that getting from here to there will require a major transition. Like you, we’re not sure exactly where we’re headed or what the final destination will be. But hey, we’re optimistic! We’ve got faith that wherever it is – all will be well.

That’s why we’re building The Bridge to Somewhere - to the land of what’s next. Our intention is to share our experiences. To let others know they are not alone. (And NO! You are NOT a loser!!). We’re not just walking this path…we’re living it!

Here’s what we believe in:

  1.  Prosperity. For those who choose it. For those who create it, collaborate, and contribute to it.
  2.  We create value and build equity by giving more than we take.
  3. It’s up to us to develop a plan, find our next steps and get moving in the New Economy.
  4. There’s a place for everyone who wants to “play” in the New Economy.
  5. Together we can create a world where cooperation, harmony, and generosity leads to success, abundance, and prosperity for all.

We know all of us are going to have to readjust. To redefine our goals, dreams, expectations, and values as they relate to work, the economy and our prosperity.

The future may be a little foggy…but with some focused effort and collaboration we can find ourselves heading in a positive new direction!

 Are you in?