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Who should you hire?

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Everywhere you look today there are “Help Wanted” signs. But lately not enough people are willing to go back to work. Maybe it is time to rethink who we are seeking for our workforce. Are you looking for high-velocity jackrabbits or proven achievers? Drag racers or Cruiser Class?

I grew up in the automobile era. As a baby boomer I remember that everything cool was about cars (or motorcycles). If you had a good car, you just had to customize it to express your own personality. My first car (in 1963) was a 1950 Plymouth Special Deluxe four door. It’s factory color was tan and it had a 97 horsepower flat-head six-cylinder engine with a standard shift on the steering column. “Three on the Tree.”

As a teenager I was thrilled to have my own car but disgusted with how un-cool it looked. To make matters worse the floorboards were rusted through and the driver’s door had been heavily dented in a collision. But it was mine! I spent weeks on end in the driveway with Dad replacing the old parts and renewing the car. We painted it “midnight metallic blue”, reupholstered the interior in “Naugahyde” (leather-like vinyl) and put cool hubcaps on it. I got a Corvette shift knob to put onto the column shift lever and added a boastful warning sign to the dashboard: “Do not exceed speeds of over 100 miles per hour for more than five hours under normal conditions.” (Remember now, I was a teenager and had no idea how dumb that seemed.)

I named the car “The Heap” and painted a 3 inch square cartoon of a wrecked car just under its name “The Heap” on my left front fender. (Again, you’ve got to remember, this was a time when we thought it was cool to roll up your T-shirt sleeves, grease your hair, roll up your jeans to show off your white socks and hang a cigarette cynically out of your mouth.)

The engine was very old technology and it had barely enough horsepower to ascend all the hilly streets in western Little Rock, Arkansas. It burned about as much oil as gas too. I’d almost always have to add a quart of oil with each fill up. Luckily prices were comparatively low. Now for the important metric: its speed from a standing start up to sixty miles per hour, known as “zero to sixty”. That was the prime measure of a car’s power and competitive potential. “Take Off” was where the power was measured. Above 60mph is considered “Cruising Speed” and is much more efficient and enjoyable, but take off is where the noise is made, tires are worn out and fuel gets burned up fast. The same is true for an aircraft; its fuel is often used up more for takeoff than for the rest of the journey.

Those were the days of drag racing. (See the James Dean movie “Rebel without a Cause” for details. Or read old copies of the #1 auto magazine of the day “Hot Rod”.) Well, my old heap would barely do sixty on the same day that the race started so it didn’t see any competitive action. But it looked cool to me!

Now, are you ready for the big segue? Stay with me. Here it comes. In the 1960s cars that could cover a quarter mile in under 20 seconds and could go zero to sixty in under 10 seconds were considered fast. My buddy Jimmy Stevens had a car that would do 0 to 60 in 6.4 seconds, and I remember dragsters that did a quarter mile in 9 seconds from a standing start! Today those numbers are considered mild. If you wanted to impress someone you’d spin your tires and race through the gears up to about sixty miles per hour.

But there is another category where the 0 to 60 measure often applies with equal levels of prejudice, (Here comes the transition…..) Age.

In the past people who were between zero and sixty years old were considered good investments and those over sixty were “old.” Nobody took 61+ people’s advice or considered them to be in touch with the real world anymore. Remember the hippie slogan “Never trust anyone over thirty”? Well today those 78 million Baby Boomers are turning 70+ at the rate of tens of thousands every single day! Including me. I was born on the first year of the boom, 1946, and graduated high school in its last year, 1964.

Along with this demographic shift there is a corresponding economic shift. We have seen the youth of the baby boom become the leaders of the world. George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and I were all born in 1946. Joe Biden is older by about 4 years. Paul McCartney is just a bit older than me. Bill Gates is younger. Hillary is about my age and Barack Obama is younger. But the vast majority of our nation’s wealth and power is vested in people who are no longer between zero and sixty.

Today the reframing of life to include 60 to 100 is an important consideration.

Highly functional life expectancy is now well above 75 and some folks are still productive well into their 80s. If you reach “retirement” age and still have 20+ years of viable life ahead, you start looking for your next career. No more do we simply seek a part time job to supplement our pension. Today people are seeking bold new challenges and reasons to stay active and involved. Check the findings of Age Wave and its founder Ken Dychtwald. We will see tens of thousands of former retirees re-entering the workforce with vigor in the coming years. So, if you’re hiring, you might want to ask some impressive seniors for business advice and see if they fit with your vision and goals. A bonus is that these folks have an abundance of Common Sense. They don’t buy into the woke mentality or implied guilt and stain of sins committed before they were born.

The one thing that keeps life and health intact is Purpose.

We all need a challenge that is bigger than we are so that we can keep on growing. We need a sense of purpose in what we do. We must find meaning in our life and feel that we are truly necessary. This is much greater than just getting a secondary job. It is also important to recognize that once you’ve traveled the career path once you don’t have the same patience with wasted efforts during the second trip. Spending energy and time on things that don’t hold much value is seen as a waste and we quickly get bored and curious about new challenges. What we put up with in order to “pay our dues” the first time, we find to be depressingly meaningless on the second trip.

We want our efforts to matter and we want our voices to be heard. Challenge, contribution and meaning will be vital factors in Cruiser Class second careers. And there will be lots of job-hopping experimentation. We’ll be trying on second careers like new coats. If the fit isn’t near perfect, then we start searching again.

These Cruiser Class workers can be great assets. They have experience, maturity, wisdom, patience and insight that you would never find in their younger counterparts. They can truly advance your business and serve your community as well. Your existing structures and policies might need amendment though. They insist on having meaningful and fulfilling lives with plenty of extra time for the grandkids and their latest adventures. They want to enjoy life while making a difference.

So, don’t let the lure of GenX, GenY or Millenials occupy all of your attention. There is a sea of talent out there seeking to recommit to productivity. Let’s all put on our thinking caps and restructure our working world to make room for the Cruiser Class. Maybe the Hare should take a day off and watch the Tortoise show some wisdom.

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Jim Cathcart, CSP, CPAE is an Executive MBA Professor, Author of 20 books, Hall of Fame Professional Speaker, Top 1% TEDx video (2.4 million views), US Army veteran, Singer/Songwriter, and Lifelong Motorcyclist. He is known as "Your Virtual VP" for his advisory work with organizations worldwide. Based in Texas...and proud of it!



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Running up Huge Deficits: Bad for Nations and for Individuals

Deficits are risky, whether global, national, regional, state, local, or personal

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Joe Biden seeks to spend $6 trillion annually, for now. It could be higher thereafter, as our national debt climbs to staggering sums: $28.5 trillion, and $153.5 in unfunded liabilities. Has any nation in history that accumulated large deficits over a prolonged period of time and, lacking a concerted effort towards reducing them, sustained economic prosperity for its people?

Personal Deficits

Deficits are risky, whether global, national, regional, state, local, or personal. What are the deficits in your own life? For example, based on how many calories you’re consuming daily, are you running a deficit in the number of calories you need to burn to maintain a proper weight level? If so, you know that you face many health risks.

Do you have a financial deficit? For decades, tens of millions of Americans have accumulated personal debt via credit cards. Sustained deficit spending erodes one’s ability to prepare for the future and, worse, exploit current opportunities.

Is there a deficit in the time that you spend with relatives and loved ones? What about hobbies? Friends? Worthy causes?

Answers Appear

When you’re honest with yourself about your deficits, the answers to reducing them naturally appear:

* To reduce a weight deficit, plot your weight each morning for six months. Once you become vividly aware of the relationship between calories burned and weight reduction, watching your weight drop will further reinforce your ability to maintain balance in your caloric intake.

* To reduce a personal financial deficit, place a moratorium on spending – regardless of what items entice you – until all your credit cards have zero balances.

* If you have a deficit in the time spent with friends, on hobbies, or on worthy causes, devote one evening per week to such endeavors. Give up addictive news and information via web and TV that, in retrospect, might add little to your life while creating other time-related deficits. To spend more time with your children, involve them in activities you have traditionally done without them.

Here are two resources:

Debtors Anonymous: www.debtorsanonymous.org
Obsessive-Compulsive Anonymous: www.obsessivecompulsiveanonymous.org

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Your To-Do List: Unforeseen Events Will Arise

No matter how well we organize our lists and how productive we are in handling tasks, unexpected obligations and interruptions arise that could throw us off our plan.

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Each day you compose your to-do list and begin proceeding merrily down it, do you take into account what is likely to occur in the course of a day? No matter how well we organize our lists and how productive we are in handling the tasks, invariably, unexpected obligations, interruptions, and other developments arise that are going to throw us off our plan.

How do you react when you are humming along and, suddenly, you get an assignment from out of left field? Perhaps your boss has asked you to jump on something immediately. Maybe a client calls. Maybe something gets returned to you that you felt was complete.

If you are like most professionals, you immediately will become flustered. The intrusion on your time and your progress means that you are not going to accomplish all that you set out to before the end of the day. Is there a way to proceed and still feel good about all that you accomplish?

A Supplemental To-do List

I believe there is, and it involves making a miniature, supplemental to-do list that accurately and completely encapsulates the new task you now need to handle.

Why create this supplemental to-do list? It gives you focus and direction, reduces anxiety, and increases the probability that you will remain buoyant at the time of its completion and be able to turn back to what you were doing before the task was assigned.

If you don’t compose such a list, and simply plow headlong into the unexpected challenge that has come your way, you might not proceed effectively, and you might never get back to the to-do list on which you were working.

Unforeseen tasks that arise represent more than intrusions on our time; they represent intrusions on our mental and emotional state of being. Some people are naturally good at handling unexpected situations and often work as public servants, such as police officers and firefighters, or in health care, as nurses and orderlies.

Most of us, however, are not wired like this. Interruptions and intrusions take us off the path that we wanted to follow, and tend to be at least momentarily upsetting. Hereafter, when executing the items on your to-do list, proceed with the mindset that there will be an interruption of some sort. You don’t know when it is coming or how large it will be, but it will pull you off course.

Equanimity Reigns

The key question for you is: Can you develop the capacity to maintain balance and equanimity in the face of such disruptions? The good news is that you can, and it all starts with acknowledging that the situation is likely to happen, devising a supplemental checklist to handle the new task, and as deftly as possible, returning to what you were doing.

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