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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.)

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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 21 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/Mentor work with organizations worldwide. Based in Texas...and proud of it!



 
 
 

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Business

Bite-Sized Motivation

The insights or wisdom we need to get us going often don’t have to be more than a few words

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I’ve spoken to 1075 audiences at conventions, conferences, and meetings, and have had the opportunity to hear probably 800 other speakers as well.

The insights, perspectives, or wisdom we need, to get us going often don’t have to be more than a few words. Here are 52 of my own six word “speeches,” drawn from my keynotes and breakout session on the topic of work-life balance. Some of these likely will resonate with you:

Choose from what you already have.
Everyone needs breathing space, especially you.
Information overload obscures meaning and relevance.
Deep breathes are essential for well-being.

Make every day an organized day.
Allow your natural rhythms to rule.
Stay confident and in control daily.
Manage your time, manage your life.

Slow down to plot your course.
Look for the best in others.
Make yourself indispensable on the job.
Compete with yourself, not with others.

Learn to take control of today.
Manage your time to make time.
Take control of your desk clutter.
You’re the best when you’re fresh.

Do something to take control now.
Major projects often require a jumpstart.
Methodically pare down your paper piles.
Don’t attempt too much at once.

Evaluate your situation and what’s important.
Narrow your priorities to stay focused.
Avoid making promises you can’t keep.
Learn to embrace your many talents.

Take the time to become organized.
Become aware of how you react.
Arrange your space; help isn’t coming.
Manage the flat surfaces in life.

Periodically challenge yourself to perform better.
Take long, deep breaths as needed.
Reclaim your places, spaces, and graces.
Start big projects well in advance.

Don’t rush the truly important things.
Make the best use of today.
Schedule accordingly: plan for your future.
Be kind, cut yourself some slack.

Opportunity knocks, but are you answering?
Conventional wisdom has diminishing value.
When practical, substitute time for money.
The market for top talent lives.

The self-reliant survive and thrive.
Leadership requires forethought and super-vision.
Learn from and capitalize on mistakes.
Firmly face the future with confidence.

“Now” holds a lot of opportunity.
Control but don’t curb your enthusiasm.
Treading water won’t propel you forward.
Have you ever really tested yourself?

Life goes on; do your best.
Continually seek out the higher ground.
Luck is distributed evenly, but disguised.
You must be doing something right.

 


 

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Business

Work-Life Balance in Your Life

It the ability to experience a sense of control and to stay productive and competitive at work while maintaining a happy, healthy home-life

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Work-life balance (WLB) is the ability to experience a sense of control and to stay productive and competitive at work while maintaining a happy, healthy home-life with sufficient leisure. WLB, also referred to by some as work-life harmony, work-life shift, work-life blend, work-life effectiveness, or work-life integration, requires focus and awareness despite seemingly endless tasks and activities competing for our time and attention.

Work-life balance entails having what I call “breathing space” for yourself each day, feeling a sense of accomplishment while not being consumed by work, and having an enjoyable domestic life without short-changing career obligations. WLB is rooted in whatever fulfillment means to you within the course of a day and a week, and however many years you have left in your life.

Supporting Disciplines

Several disciplines support work-life balance though, individually, none are synonymous with work-life balance:

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1) Self Management

Sufficiently managing one’s self can be challenging, particularly in getting proper sleep, exercise, and nutrition. Self-management is the recognition that effectively using the spaces in our lives is vital, and that life, time, and available resources are finite. It means becoming captain of our own ship; no one is coming to steer for us.

2) Time Management

Effective time management involves making optimal use of your day and the supporting resources that can be summoned – you can only keep pace when your resources match your challenges. Time management is enhanced through appropriate goals and discerning what is both important and urgent, versus important OR urgent. It entails understanding what you do best and when, and assembling the appropriate tools to accomplish specific tasks.

3) Stress Management

By nature, societies tend to become more complex over time. In the face of increasing complexity, stress on the individual is inevitable. More people, noise, and distractions, independent of one’s individual circumstances, require each of us to become more adept at maintaining tranquility and being able to work ourselves out of pressure-filled situations. Most forms of multi-tasking ultimately increase our stress, while focusing on one thing at a time helps decrease stress.

4) Change Management

In our fast-paced world, change is virtually the only constant. Continually adopting new methods, adapting old, and re-adapting all methods is vital to a successful career and a happy home life. Effective change management involves offering periodic and concerted efforts so that the volume and rate of change at work and at home does not overwhelm or defeat you.

5) Technology Management

Effectively managing technology requires ensuring that technology serves you, rather than abuses you. Technology has always been with us, since the first walking stick, spear, flint, and wheel. Today, the rate of technological change is accelerating, brought on by vendors seeking expanding market share. Often you have no choice but to keep up with the technological Joneses, but rule technology, don’t let it rule you.

6) Leisure Management

The most overlooked of the work-life balance supporting disciplines, leisure management acknowledges 1) the importance of rest and relaxation, 2) that “time off” is a vital component of the human experience, and 3) that one can’t indefinitely short-change leisure without repercussions. Curiously, too much of the same leisure activity, however enjoyable, can lead to monotony. Thus, effective leisure management requires varying one’s activities.

Entirely Achievable

Achieving work-life balance does not require radical changes in what you do. It is about developing fresh perspectives and sensible, actionable solutions that are appropriate for you. It is fully engaging in life with what you have, right where you are, smack dab in the ever-changing dynamics of your existence.

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