Sunday, April 25, 2010

Eating some of my own dog food

There is a phrase heard in businesses that build credibility with customers by using their own products: “Eating our own dog food.”

I haven’t been eating much of my own dog food lately. I’m asking people to join in a conversation about reinvention and rebooting on this blog and I’ve been missing in action.

OK, an honest confession is good for the soul. Consider this my confession. Today I’m back and I intend to be more diligent and regular about posting my thoughts. Maybe some of them will actually be interesting.

One of my original ideas in starting was that there was going to be a flood of Baby Boomers retiring and looking to reinvent themselves, and that my website was where they were going to come to find resources and tell their stories. (I also wanted to reach people of any age who needed or wanted to reboot – and still do – but for now let’s just talk about retirees.) seemed like a good idea, until the Great Recession came along and sent the unemployment rate above 10%. There was a flood of people, all right, but they were the young and middle aged folks who lost their jobs when the economy tanked. For a retiree seeking a paying job in perhaps another field, or thinking about becoming a consultant in her or his career field, there was suddenly a crowd of people also looking for that same job. They were younger, hungrier, perhaps more talented or more current on the latest technology, more desperate to find gainful employment to feed their families and pay their bills. In other words, tough competition.

At the same time, the number of jobs shrank. Companies going bankrupt or falling on hard times did what they always do – they cut staff, eliminated positions, retrenched.

So the picture changed. Fewer jobs available for the potential rebooter, more people vying for those jobs.

I’ve thought about the whole arena of retiree reinvention a lot in the last couple of years and asked myself, what can be done? Is there a course of action the average retiree can take if he or she wants to keep working after retirement?

The main thing I’ve come up with is going back to school. Twice in my lifetime I’ve rebooted by going back to school. It worked both times. So I am going to do some research to find out if there has been any discernible uptick in retirees going back to school to upgrade their knowledge and skills since the recession came down on us like the proverbial ton of bricks.

If you’ve done this, know of someone who has, or (I wish) had any information or statistics on the subject, please post a response. I look forward to hearing from you.

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