Welcome to Big Old Goofy World . . . a place where I can share my thoughts, hopes, and dreams about this rock that we live on and call home.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Another Day Older and Deeper in Debt

You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store
According to statistics the average person spends approximately 4.1 years in a job.  With this the average person will work seven to ten different jobs over a lifetime.  Having already reached and passed the half-way point in life (50 years old, if you were wondering), I figure I am way behind on meeting the average requirement at this point.  I'm only thirty percent of the way there and unless I work and switch jobs at least seven more times by the time I am 80 years old--I'm not going make the average!  Yet, at the same time, the way that our nation's retirement plan (Social Security) keeps upping the retirement age, I figure I have a pretty good shot at making the average.  I've got about 26 years to accomplish this!  It is going to be close!

Since jumping into the full-time work force I have basically spent the majority of the past 30-plus years as a minister.  In 2013 it will have been 30 years that I have served as a minister.  Here and there I did dabble in a few other occupations--primarily mental health counseling as a Certified Professional Counselor for a few years and now as a program coordinator for the Montana Center on Disabilities at Montana State University Billings.  I still am working in a small rural church too.  As you can see I am way, way behind the average on this one and it has got me concerned--what is a middle-aged guy, with little experience outside of the religion going to do?

Well, thanks to a recent story by CNBC and reported by MSN.com I do have some choices.  The story listed ten of the best possible careers for people to start after the age of 55.  TEN!  There is still hope for me yet.  I figure that if I pick out at least seven of the jobs--work them for a couple of years--I can become just like everyone else.  The only problem . . . well, it was the jobs that they listed.

Each of the jobs/careers that the story listed were prefaced with the fact that those over the age of fifty have several things going for them that make them desirable for these specific jobs/careers.  People over the age of fifty are wise, stable, dependable, and have experience in life.  I guess they don't know any of my friends . . . but it is nice to be considered those things just because there is a little grey in the hair. 

Here is the list of jobs: (1) Career Coach--I guess if I am in my fifties, in my seventh or eighth career, I should be able to help someone else keep a career.  Yeah, that is the sort of person I want helping me get a career--a job-hopper.  Outside of the ministry I don't think I can be of much help with this one.  Besides, it sounds like a job where I would have to wear a suit and tie--yuck!  (2) Medical Assistant--yeah right, needles scare me . . . blood doesn't thrill me . . . and I look stupid in scrubs.  Nope, that one is off the list too.  (3) Custom Garment Maker: If it isn't a tee shirt and jeans, or a sweat shirt and jeans--solid colors--no fashion sense--no flare, which pretty much describes my wardrobe, it ain't going to happen.  It is another job that involves needles too and I have this nightmare about getting my hand stuck in the sewing machine.  Nope, another one bites the dust!

(4) Assisted Living Facility Professional: Yeah, right!  My children are already planning to put me in one of those facilities next year!  Why in the world would I want to assist someone else in living his or her life when I have a difficult time living my own life.  Maybe my children are right--I'm the one who needs assistance!  Mark that one off the list.  (5) Financial Advisor: Have you seen my finances?  Enough said--mark that one off the list.  A person doesn't make much off of keeping his money under the mattress and I should know.  (6) Tour Guide: Hmmmm . . . this one sounded like it had potential until I figured out that it was a expensive day care for those who afford to take fancy trips to far away exotic places.  I raised my children once and I sure do not want to do it again with a bunch of middle-aged adults re-living spring break.

Now, number seven sounded like it could be fun . . . (7) Private Investigator: I have been told that I can be a bit nosy from time to time--a skill I imagine would be necessary to be a good "private eye".  I would probably be able to endure wearing a crumbled suit and helping mysterious desperate women needing assistance.  Yet, I don't think the wife would go for that one, so it is probably out of the mix too.  But, I have been called a "dick" once or twice and that is half-way there to being a private investigator.  (8) Sustainability Coordinator: Since I did not even know what a Sustainability Coordinator is . . . nor have I ever "sustained" much of anything . . . and I am definitely not "coordinated" in any manner of the word . . . yeah, you got it--off the list!

(9) Ghostwriter: I like writing, but I don't really care to corner myself with one topic like "ghosts"--oh, never mind!  To be a ghost writer one has to be willing to let someone else take the credit for work that he or she does.  If I'm going to do the work, I'm going to take the credit and the BIG paycheck.  If you have heard or read one of my sermons you probably understand why I am not a professional writer.  Hey, come on!  I only have 13 followers of this blog--writing?  I don't think so!  Mark that one off the list!  And, (10) Home Care Assistant: See number four--same old, same old.  Ain't going to happen.

As you can see, it looks kind of bleak for me when it comes to being "average" by the time I reach retirement.  If there is nothing on the "top ten" list of potential careers for those over fifty that I am willing or able to do--what am I going to do?  When my father retired from a career in the Air Force he wanted to have one of those jobs mowing lawns on a base somewhere where the grass stays green all year long.  I didn't see that listed on the CNBC list.  So what am I going to do? 

Someone created a chart about what is on the minds of most 50 year old men.  Having looked at it it made sense to me.  According to the chart, only ten percent of the time is about work--apparently sleep is the most important thought men have after the age of fifty. Here is the chart:

What do you think?  Maybe I should quit worrying about future careers and worry about whether or not I will have any hair on my head to replace that hair that has migrated to other parts of my body--usually parts of the body one does not want extra hair.  Places like the ears and back.  Maybe I should spend more time worrying about my bodily functions--a little extra fiber should take care of that.  Maybe I should just follow the suggestions in the chart and just quit worrying about it.

Yeah, that is what I should do--quit worrying about it.  I should just focus on what I have right now.  The university work is good and for the most part I enjoy it.  The ministry is where I have spent most of my life and I enjoy it.  Don't know much else.  So I think I will just stick to what I have, enjoy the ride, and see how far I get down the road.  In the meantime, I will keep my eyes open for a job doing lawns on a riding mower.  As ol' Tennessee Ernie Ford used to sing: "Another day older and deeper in debt."  I understand that--been doing that most of my life!  Sing it, Ernie!

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