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Exploring Womanhood > Heart of the Home > Family Finances > Career & the Workplace

21st Century Job Strategies: 10 Tips for Making Work Better
by Mary Lloyd, author of Supercharged Retirement: Ditch the Rocking Chair, Trash the Remote, and Do What You Love

A lot of what we look forward to as "retirement" belongs in our lives right now. The biggest pluses of "not working" are flexibility, a chance to do what you love, and less stress. Look for ways to build all that into your work because work is one of the most intrinsically satisfying things you can do. You can make your life better now and later by approaching your job differently.

  1. Stop believing work is bad. Most people enjoy the "extended vacation" of retirement for about a year. Then they start looking for something meaningful to fill their time-aka "work", even if it's not paid. Doing meaningful work keeps your world expanding, your mind sharp, and your sense of competence high.

  2. Take responsibility for your stress. It's the work situation that's the problem, and how you see that is your call. That's a bitter pill when stress is massive, but only you can find the right solution. Figure out what stresses you and stop letting it, either by changing the way you see it or by doing something different.

  3. Ditch the victim mentality. Seeing yourself as a victim of anything takes away your ability to improve the situation. Seeing yourself as a victim on your job makes hard work even harder. Don't do that!

  4. Replace work you dislike but do "for the benefits" as soon as possible. Continuing in a job you hate year after year is self-inflicted slavery. The stress of that is likely to make you sick more often. Do the job for now, but get going on finding something better. Be patient but persistent in moving toward what you really want to do.

  5. Focus on what's really satisfying in a job. Taking a job because of a lucrative salary is soooo last century. Money really isn't the best motivator. Work you enjoy with a schedule that gives you time for other things and being part of an enthusiastic team are more satisfying and a better platform for overall success.

  6. Do work you love. If you do what you love for that paycheck, you stay healthier now and your body (and mind and soul) will be in much better shape when you really are ready to retire. Even if it takes years to get into a job that makes your heart sing, it's worth the effort.

  7. Think beyond traditionally shaped jobs. Yes, most work still gets done that way, but as the economy improves, opportunities to do work when and where you want will grow. Take the time now to figure out what that looks like for you and prepare yourself to step into it when the opportunity appears.

  8. Stay positive. Working with positive, energized co-workers makes anything easier, but even if the office is full of Negative Nellies, be upbeat yourself. Negativity makes work drudgery. Avoid it even when it's dressed as "humor." Let go of "slights." Ignore sarcasm and jabs. Make this moment happy yourself.

  9. Forget the linear career path. Moving up the ladder with a given company worked well in the 1950's. Now, even the biggest companies might be gone tomorrow. Jumping between companies, using gaps between jobs to accomplish other goals, and moving into something totally new far into your work years are all good career strategies now.

  10. Don't wait for retirement to enjoy life. The right time to retire is unique for each of us. It may never come for you even if you live to 108. Assuming you won't work after a certain age is as silly as assuming you won't eat ice cream after a certain age. If you do work you love at a pace and on a schedule that works for you, retirement is unnecessary. And when you become eligible to retire, don't take advice from relatives and friends who loathe what they do for a living.
Working very hard now so you can retire later isn't all that smart. Being a slave to a job you hate in order to "succeed" can kill you--if not physically, emotionally. Give yourself better now instead of waiting for retirement.

Mary LloydAbout the Author:
Mary Lloyd is a consultant and speaker and author of Supercharged Retirement: Ditch the Rocking Chair, Trash the Remote, and Do What You Love. She founded Mining Silver LLC in 2007 to focus on using on the potential of those over 50 more effectively. For more, please visit her website http://www.mining-silver.com. She can be reached at mary@mining-silver.com.

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