Planning, Conducting or Just Letting, " It All Hang Out"

There are a lot of people out there in the real world that feel abandoned by our current business culture.  When the baby boomers started out, most of us were looking for a career that would help us make a living and have at the end some form of retirement that would help us continue our lifestyles as we aged.  What can I say about the businesses today?  They use people as short term workers and do not feel that they need to protect them day to day let alone for a career.  I am not sure of the exact details, but I think there is generally a three to five year turn around in most industries for their employees. 

Incase you are wondering about where the hell I am taking this in this blog, strap yourself in and see. I think that a lot of people are afraid to plan where they want to go because they fear that the failure of those plans could reflect badly on them.  I would say to them, try to plan on a future but remain flexible just in case.  Kind of the sentiment that Ron Reagan said when he said, "Trust but verify." Plan but be prepared to remain vigilant and watch the future trends. 

One of the fine examples I like to use is me.  Barbara wanted me to finish my degree when I got out of the Army.  I thought that my natural talents would lead me to a management job somewhere. OK, it probably would have been a shift leader at a McDonald's, but I had high aspirations.  I did chose to graduate with a business degree because I knew that it was flexible enough to apply to a lot of career fields.  In 1966, I was drafted into the Army and because of the plans to expand the "Boots on the ground" to 500,000 in 1968, they let me go to OCS without a degree.  I knew that it was a good thing to have on my resume but without a degree, when the war slowed down I would find myself on the outside again.  We planned as soon as my obligation ended to return to school.  I did and I moved on to where I thought I would be for a career.  General Motors called and I went there for 17 of the worst months of my life.  Remember, I spent a year in a combat zone and GM was worse by a factor of two. 

While I swore to never wear green again as I drove out of the main gate at Fort Carson, I did join the National Guard to help pay the bills as I went back to school.  I found the stability of the Guard to be great and there wasn't the annual move the Regular Army had.  I met and served with a bunch of great people in the Guard. It was so great, that when I left GM, and a final touch up on my degree from KU I found a full time job with the Guard.  I changed my plans and moved down that path to retirement.

I could have asked myself if not loving  GM was a failure or move on smartly.  I took the Guard job and added the military career steps in my plan.

The second person I love to include is my brother Rick.  Rick had worked himself up to a good position in an aircraft parts mfg. company and decided that the wear and tear on his body was not what he could do for the rest of working life.  He stopped, lifted and shifted his career plans to get a degree and then Masters Degree in Occupational Therapy.  Was he a failure in the old career path?  Nope, he changed his plans and is working his new career.  I know all of his sisters and I could not be more proud of his efforts. 
I guess I want to say in closing that a good plan to achieve your plans is important but not to the point that you can't change if things don't work out. 

The corollary to all of this is that my wife, Barbara, had her plans from the first time we met and she stayed the course almost to the exact end she envisioned.  She takes a while to get totally committed to a path, but when she does, don't get in her way. 


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