Category: politics, culture, society

speaking my mind on social, cultural, and political issues.


Guns, Schools, Kids, Safety, and the Human Predator

There’s a LOT of hyperbole, a lot of emotion, a lot of tears and cries of anguish. But the sides involved aren’t communicating with each other effectively. In fact, they aren’t even talking, just pointing fingers and screaming back and forth, filled to the brim with emotion about keeping kids safe by banning certain kinds of weaponry. Why am I hearing, I wonder, about guns? Shouldn’t I be hearing about BANNING VIOLENCE?

You know, there are disturbed children. There are born sociopaths. And there are damaged children, some of whom will never become undamaged. And, truth be told, there are just some people who are born mean-spirited. The fact is you cannot legislate safety and you cannot protect people from predation until and unless you somehow identify those who potentially could become predators …which, because we are human, the super-predator, is everyone. The problem with trying to outlaw tools of predation is that other tools then become employed, tools with equally unpleasant consequences.

Everyone wants to live in safety, but humans are, by nature, a very cruel and vicious creature. Heck, most of you don’t think twice about killing a spider that has walked across your path, even when you’re in that spider’s garden.

Let’s look at the rabidity of the factions involved in even this debate. It’s practically torches and pitch forks, no dialogue, no seeking common ground, no attempt to understand each other’s concerns.

I was the kid who was bullied when stuck in a public school. I was a kid who was shunned as ‘different’, not because I was a sociopath and mean, but because I was an outsider. No one befriended me. Nobody protected me from being beaten with chains by my school mates, this in high school.

I can fully understand why a bullied child would turn a gun or a crossbow or a bomb on his classmates. I can understand them lacing candy with poison to retaliate. I never did it, never even thought about doing it, but I can certainly understand the motivation to ‘get even’. I have a broken spine in my back today from those chain beatings. But I was raised by a father who came from the Dutch Reform heritage — always taught to turn the other cheek and to forgive.

You all want safety for your kids and for yourselves. Great. Then you and all of us have to change the nature of human beings worldwide, a huge undertaking with the understanding that not everyone wants peace and tranquility and safety. Some thrive on cruelty and mayhem, on butchery and terrorizing. But, to begin, we have to set an example and that begins with each one of us not engaging in name-calling, castigation, spurning, ostracizing, and condemning those who don’t share our perspectives.

That also means that, reality check, you and your kids have to be always prepared and always vigilant, capable of defending yourselves, even if it means the death of another at your hand.

Just my thoughts.


A Followup on ‘Dawn’s Hands’

The responses have been interesting and mostly positive and supportive. It’s heart-warming when you find out that putting yourself on-the-line, front and center, for public response, nets you a crop of PMs via your website contact forms from people, young and adult, to whom your message holds significance to their own situations.

I think I really had no idea just how much ‘what you look like doing it’ would garner retaliatory remarks from the self-defined ‘beautiful people’ out there, not until we began posting our music videos. I really had no idea how many others had been negatively affected by people responding to their videos.¬† (People say I don’t get out much, in the real world and on the Net, and, yes, I guess they’re right. ūüėÄ )¬†¬† Since I posted the “Dawn’s Hands” video and “My Hands” blog post, though, I’ve got a better grasp, I think. These are just a sampling of the positive ones I’ve received via various contact vehicles.

“You answering that flute [expletive removed] has given my daughter new determination to start sharing her flute videos, again. Thank you.”

“I quit posting to [removed] and [removed] because people made fun of me. I still don’t think I will share anymore, but I like that you spoke up for us.”

“I uploaded a video of me playing and it was like I painted hit me on my face. It made me cry. Even my friends sided with them. You made it okay. Thanks for doing that.”

There are a bunch more, but the best, so far, I think, is this one:

“You made me brave again. Maybe it’s okay to be me.”

This comes all because I responded publicly to one of the critical private communications I’ve received about our music videos. I responded because I wanted to address the sheer mean-heartedness. I never wanted to do videos of us playing. That was my husband’s desire. I just enjoyed playing, again. But it all happened. And the Net being what it is, the negativity was bound to come, bringing the desire to retreat back to my safe, text-and-image-only world.

But, why should I be ashamed of me and the parts of me that has brought me success and joy in life? Why should anyone? So I responded, publicly. I wanted it known that, no matter the criticism, nobody, not me, nor anyone else, has to quit just because somebody’s mean. And, on the Net, you can very effectively respond in a way that calls the criticism out without getting into a private flame war and without publicly embarrassing the mean-spirited in front of others. Their anonymity is preserved, but their actions are front and center with public opinion, come what may, to the negative or positive, rendering judgement upon the situation.

I put myself on the line with my My Hands post and its corresponding video, and I’m happy to say that, yes, I think my goal is achieved. That these youngsters as well as the adults who have PM’d to say that my post and video has given them the reinforcement they need to be unashamed of themselves, despite negative feedback, makes it worthwhile.

And, to the person who said, “You’ve got a lot of chutzpah,” yes, I guess I do, and that’s a good thing, I think. ūüėÄ


Monday Postponed Till Tuesday in N. Idaho.

Went to bed Sunday night with the Internet sort of on. Internet connectivity has been ‘sort of’ for several weeks, an off and on again experience, sometimes normal, sometimes sludge slow, sometimes not at all, but there. Hey! This is N. Idaho, just a few miles shy of the Canadian border. We’re still on braided copper wire up here. Some folks are lucky if they get 56k (kilobits-per-second) dial-up modem speeds. Remember those?

Monday morning, couldn’t get to anything but Facebook and reddit. (Yes, both of those work at dial-up modem speeds.) A call to Frontier netted me knowledge that the whole area from south of Sandpoint all the way to the Canadian border was out. No estimated time for a fix. (So that’s where all those Frontier trucks were racing off to when I dropped husband at his truck.)

Did I get out my Verizon hotspot? …No. I had things to do in the real world and wanted to wipe my slate clean.

Since Monday was already compromised, the best part of the day spent getting husband off to Canada in his big rig, it was a good day to get real world projects completed. When you can’t work on the Net, it’s a great, even awesome day to spend doing everything you’ve put off for just such an opportune moment.

My old friend Lloyd always warned, “Get your work done before noon, or it don’t get done,” and I’ve always found that to be pretty darned true. I had two hours to get done what needed doing before that noon deadline.

Now, I do as much work as possible via the Net, via the telephone, or, less favored, by old-fashioned USPS mail. Physically having to go to the bank, the lawyer’s, the insurance agent’s, the treasurer’s office… is always a pain-in-the-keister. (For those unfamiliar, ‘keister’ is an old word for ‘buttocks’.) First up, at the top of the list, was the bank, since everything else hinged on that. I needed some more checks — yes, checks — those rectangles of paper upon which you fill in the date, to whom, the amount, both numerically and written out in words, add the account and bill number for which the amount is to be credited on the memo line, then sign. Land taxes are due, and electronic payments are not to be trusted for things so crucial. When it comes to land taxes, I walk my payments in, getting a nice stamp of PAID from the county treasurer’s office.

I parked and hit — quite literally — the door to the bank — locked.

…Frowned.

Went to the other door — the one most people use. (Hey, I never walk the popular trail.) Locked, too, but this one had a notice on it. “Closed. Intenet down. Use ATM for cash.”

WTF?!

A peer into the windows showed bodies, the bank manager standing there wringing her hands — not normal.

…Grumbled. Frowned more, steam building up in my brain as I got back in the car.

Noticed the drive-up window was open and got in line behind a battered old red pick-up.

I recognized the ‘codger’ in the pick-up. Silver-haired and in his eighties, he’s notoriously cantankerous and a self-made multi-millionaire, North Idaho style. He’s a great guy …when you’re not on the wrong side of his temper (kinda like me, only the male variety). As I sat there, he’s pulling out pieces of paper, waving them at the unlucky woman at the drive-up.

I roll down my window. Yep. He’s giving her a piece of his mind, wanting the bank manager (the one standing on the other side of the building, wringing her hands). I keep hearing, “I’m sorry. The Internet is down.”

Other cars — Caddy SUVs, a BMW, a Porsche, another battered Ford PU, a Mercedes… pull in, go through the ATM, then circle the building to pull in line behind me, so many that, as I wait, the string of them curves out of sight around the building. Every one of them, like me, patiently waits for their turn. What’s our beef? BANKS SHOULD NOT CLOSE SIMPLY BECAUSE THE INTERNET GOES DOWN, NOT IN NORTH IDAHO, NOT ANYWHERE!!! Heck, Walmart was open, doing business. So was Home Depot. So, in fact were the Mom and Pop shops. Despite no Internet. (Maybe, like me, they have a back-up system that uses satellite, not wire, no guarantee, but at least it’s something. When that goes down, it’s pen and paper. Got it?)

Want to piss off a bunch of us mostly pretty highly educated, but, likewise, extremely, even cussedly, independent North Idaho ‘yokels’? Deny us access to what is ours, especially our money, for no good reason, and the Internet being out is NOT a good reason, sorry. Your bad.

After finally getting up to ask some very pointed questions of the window woman — no, they don’t keep a local back-up; they can’t even access the banking interface, which is run from the cloud — I drove over and marched into another bank. Their doors were open. They were doing business. I quizzed the friendly girl who offered herself up to my stormy countenance. Yes. They have a locally resident program and a resident backup database, so they can keep going when the Internet goes belly up, a regular happening here.

“Good. I’ll be back.”

It’s going to be a huge hassle, changing banks. We do a lot of direct deposit, but change banks I will. So will a lot of other folks. You want to stay in business? You don’t do it by locking your doors on a business day, and denying people access to their money and your services. For something as critical as banking, you have to have a back-up plan for eventualities or suffer the consequences of our bad attitudes. That’s why you get to use our money. Fail that, and you lose that privilege.


What’s Important?

A friend of mine — a best friend of mine (Anita Lewis) — spoke today about gratitude on Infinite Matters. She just came through Hurricane Irma. Having survived what I consider to be more than my fair share of life’s critical emergencies and traumas, I could totally relate. And, of course, as with everything, relating brought analysis and conclusions based on my own experiences with a forest fire-storm, numerous tornadoes, proximal lightning strikes, floods, being under siege because of armed federal fugitives with the resulting response of county, state, and federal law enforcement and their (thankful) invasion of my farm. Worst of all, brutal, physical assault that completely changed my life.

There seems to be a real disconnect in a solid majority of everyday people between what’s really important and what, lacking experience with real danger and disaster, only seems to be important, so much so that what is actually important doesn’t ever really hit home with most people until they face extreme crisis, catastrophe, trauma, unbearable pain, and, yes, death. That disconnect is, I think, what separates war veterans, military and civilian, from those of us who have never experienced war firsthand. It’s what separates law enforcement from the rest of us. Mostly, especially today, it’s what separates cultural combatants from reason.

When the biggest issue in your life is whether you’re going to make the mortgage payment or the rent, get to work on time, earn that promotion, or, even more trite, going to be able to get that limited edition iPhone, your nails or cornrows done by your favorite beautician, catch a date with some hotty, or be able to walk around publicly flaunting some aspect of yourself without criticism, then cultural issues can, for some, seem really significant. When faced with true hardship and trauma, though, everything pales, except what really is important: love, life, health, safety, sustenance, shelter, and freedom from terror and from physical pain for you and your loved ones and kin, maybe even, at least for some of us, extending that, too, for your kith, and your neighbors, near and far.

I think a solid majority of the well-off — and, no, I’m not speaking ‘financially’, but, rather, those who, regardless of circumstance, have love, life, health, safety, sustenance, some sort of shelter, and freedom from terror and from physical pain — need a hard wake-up call, a lesson in what’s really important, a hands-on experience that nails them in the forehead and dumps them into survival crisis. Maybe then they’d realize that all this fuss about varying cultural and political differences is, in fact, a luxury allowed them because they are not having to focus on base survival.

My husband, Forrest, has it quite right, I think. Are you willing to give up everything for it? Even your life and the lives of your loved ones? If the answer is no, then, no, it isn’t important. If the answer is yes, then, yes, it’s truly important.


The Future is Theirs

An artist friend recently reconnected with me on FacePlant. His art, which is very 21st century, is perfect for adorning large, post-modern edifices and large spaces. But gaining traction in the art market is completely dependent upon being socio-politically well-connected. Else, plan on selling your work for .87 cents a copy for digital and maybe a gross profit of $5 as (or on) a tangible product. And the same is true for all the humanities. Just like art, music and writing have also all taken nose-dives as viable means of earning a living for all but the most lucky few.

You say you want to grow up to be a writer? A musician? An artist? I’ll nod and smile, but, inside, I’m thinking that you’d be better served, at least in the near future, by focusing on STEM careers, that is, science/technology/engineering/mathematics. I say ‘short term’ because, honestly, AI will supersede humans at those as well in, probably, no more than twenty years as any enterprise will be better, more efficiently served and performed by AI-run/enhanced robots, including every job imaginable — yes, even wiping grandma’s bum, rocket science, and brain surgery.

You are forewarned.

 

 


Trump, Raul Labrador, & the USPS

I blame Trump …or Raul Labrador. I have no proof that it is Trump and his policies that caused this, but I can’t think of any other reason why, suddenly, my mother who has lived at the same address since the last third of the twentieth century and gotten her mail at a post office box in town for the same amount of time should suddenly have to prove to the USPS that she is, in fact, an Idaho resident who actually lives at a residence in the state of Idaho by providing such proof with, not just an official photo ID, but a rental receipt/lease contract/mortgage payment receipt/deed of trust/deed. Ah…really?!

And, yes, that’s what they were demanding! Got this form in the mail demanding this or they would shut down her P.O. Box.

Pissed me off.

I called the post mistress at 8:30 am when the place opened, and we’re such a small post office that it was the post mistress herself who answered the phone.

Quizzing her, she admitted that, yes, this was a demand for record updates for people who had applied and continued to use their post office boxes for decades. “At the time when the application was filled out, everybody knew everybody else and the forms didn’t have all the identification requirements they have now. It’s no fun for us, either,” she told me. “We’ve got over 200 of these to process, and a lot of them are people like your mom who are elderly and have lived here all their lives. Nobody’s pleased about this hardship, but we have to do it. We have to update our records.”

Why now? Why, after all these years of payment upon payment to the USPS by check for the post office box on a yearly basis? Why all of a sudden, with the threat of denying Mom access to her decades upon decades mailing address?

Trumpkin — that’s my guess. And what’s he trying to do? Maybe find out:

a. who owns what assets,

b, who is a transient, and/or,

c. who isn’t a legitimate U.S. citizen.

Now, the post office no longer has chairs or benches provided to sit upon…which they got rid of a while back. (They also got rid of garbage cans, and, on the weekend, when I go get the mail, they also take out the giant junk mail recycle bin, too! How effing thoughtful.)¬† Back to the lack of chairs, though.¬† If Mom were to go in, which they require, mind you–in person–she would have nowhere to sit. Mom, who can’t stand for very long, would be in dire straits unless I loaded her into her wheelchair, something she’s never keen on, preferring to walk with her cane.

Call me ticked off.

Well, I got the legal documentation required, not that supposedly required by the USPS form, but by LAW, after researching it and checking with a lawyer. A utility bill would function, along with her state ID card. I sent a utility bill and her ID with her and her friend Patrick off to the post office. I sent her with Patrick because he’s one of those people who keeps a cool head and always manages to say the politically correct thing, where I’m more apt to tell them all what I really think.¬† It worked. They didn’t even whimper. They did not require Mom to go into the post office, but allowed her to sit in the truck to sign the form after accepting the picture ID and the utility bill as proof of residency–not a whimper.

Whoever thinks that they have a right to look at our deeds, or any other private asset papers can go stuff their heads up their rectal orifice and suck hard. And whoever thinks that a U.S. citizen shouldn’t have the right to a mailing address, even if they’re homeless, ought to be gutted with a dull antler and left to suffer until dead.


What’s Important? Not That, For Sure.

Animals and people, both, are starving, in pain, suffering needlessly. Wild places, native habitat, even whole countries (Syria, for instance) are being consumed by varied disruptive forces, be it climate change, greed-driven destruction, or war, leaving nowhere for those displaced–animals, plant, and human–to survive. And what do I come across this morning? An article decrying the ‘bra tax’. Really?! And I countered, what about pharmaceuticals? That’s more critical, for sure, isn’t it? What about food, clean water, clean air, health care, safety from warring factions?

I am constantly faced with just how ludicrous is the furor and foment over non-critical issues. Reminds me of the airhead decrying her broken acrylic nail and another whose favorite salon girl was sick and couldn’t lavish skilled hands on her tresses. Then there’s the upset over, of all things, Oscar night or who won the Stupid Bowl. Really?!

Oh, my. How very insulated and trite.

“Omigod. I don’t have any cell phone signal.” I know, I know–the sky is falling, the sky is falling, you can’t text your bff, is that it? Gee. Really tough, ain’t it! Meanwhile, your grandmother can’t afford the medications that keep her alive. But you don’t care. You’ve got to TEXT. You’ll just DIE if you can’t!

You know, there are certain times when I just want that Big Daddy in the Sky you all so fervently believe in to wipe the slate clean, and, no, I’d say to him, please don’t try again. It’s hopeless, a bad model, a worse idea. Intelligent design, my ass.


Now, There’s More Hate, Less Tolerance!

So, this morning, the first thing that comes in on my feed is…a rant about hating Baby Boomers. And, along with that social media post, comes a blast of support from a whole bunch of other haters. I move on, but there’s more, a whole wave of rants about everyone from liberals to conservatives to Bernie supporters to ‘deplorables’ to….

And that’s just the US feeds. Next comes in the UKers and the AUers and the NZers and the…and it’s all hate, hate, hate.¬† The indigenous and other POC hate the whites, the nationalists despise the immigrants, the young hate anyone beyond their generation, the middle-aged blame the young adults, and so it goes.

I sit back, blink, think, send out a quickly scripted bot to mine, for just thirty minutes, the trends around the main interactive communication net spheres–Faceplant. G-, Mediocre, Twitchirp…. I go down for coffee, walk the dogs, again, then come back.

Sure enough, today’s Internet theme to the posts and comments, even to innocuous posts completely unrelated, generate streams of venomous remarks concerning anyone and everyone the contributor blames for:

  • the state of the world political situation;
  • the state of the environment;
  • lack of jobs;
  • taxes;
  • …you name it, and there are lots of ‘it’s.

Millennials and, what are they, Gen Zers?, hate anyone they classify as a Baby Boomer, within which they lump the very aged WWII Gen, the true BBers, the Gen-Y and the Gen-Xers, too, blaming anyone older than them for everything they find wrong with the world and life. For example: lack of protectionism and slowing globalization, simultaneously. (Ok-aaaaay. Hmmm. There’s consistency all rolled up in one pulpy, irrational burp.) Or the millennial raging on about having to support all the aging previous generations on her dime paying into social security. (They paid a lot more than you did into social security. Honest. You haven’t been working long enough to significantly contribute. And it is something they are entitled to, because they contributed every week, every month, every year, their entire working lives for that benefit. Same thing with Medicare.)

There’s the diehard Clinton supporters blaming everyone else for Hillary losing…except the DNC and the liberal elite, labeling everyone except themselves as bigots and calling for their eradication from the population. (Really!)

And the Blacks–excuse me, African-Americans–blame the whites, calling everyone not sharing both their skin color and their sentiments a bigot, even other Blacks.¬† Meanwhile, the white supremacists are busy raving against anyone not sharing their intolerances, and the same applies, just swap out pigmentation genes.

The rich blame the poor and the poor blame the rich, while rural points at city and city derides rural, never mind it’s where their food comes from.

The Christians blame anyone not of their faith, especially condemning the atheists, while the atheists blame religion for all the ills in the world.

And so it goes.

Wow. Just wow.

I grew to majority (look up the idiom, if you don’t understand it) prior to the rise of the Internet. By the time the Internet became available for public consumption and, yes, abuse, I had lived all over the world, all over the U.S., as well, and gone to schools located in both the¬† ghetto and in privileged communities. Do you know what? Never, and I mean never, have I experienced the kind of hate, bigotry, and intolerance I now find saturating our cultural landscape. Never.

You know what else? I tolerate bigots. I had to learn to growing up, because, honestly, they were nice people, except for their prejudices. And, once they got to know me, they got over those prejudices (most of them did, anyway).

And I embrace the tolerant, because they demonstrate the finest art of living in their open-minded, unbiased forbearance. They demonstrate charity. (Definition of charity in this use: kindness and tolerance in judging others, usually number 3 on the list of definitions in common dictionaries.)

I tolerate those who hate me because

  • they think I’m white, they think I’m Asian, they think I’m Native,
  • and those who think, because of how I dress and wear my hair, that I’m a lesbian, even lesbians, then hate me because I’m not,
  • those who hate me because I’m female,
  • because I’m older than twenty-something,
  • those who hate me just because they can….

And I embrace those who put aside their skepticism, their fear, their suspicions ingrained from bad experiences, their crowd-sourced brainwashing, and discover me for who I really am and love me for it, learning tolerance…because that’s how I love others.

In point of fact, I’ve never met anyone, one on one, I couldn’t love for who they are. I may not like how they act–their cruelties, their bigotry, their hate–but, still, when laying that aside, when getting to know them for what they cherish, there is gold there. Everything else is just a product of their negative experiences and conditioning.

I’m sorry to live in a world, in a nation–the U.S.–where those younger than me want me dead and gone, every trace of who I am eradicated from memory, where those a different flavor want me enslaved or at least subjugated to their benefit, where those of different ideology want me silenced. And, when you get your wish, through your own actions, instigation, or through legislating my de-existence, maybe then you’ll find it in you to tolerate and even love those who come after you who condemn you for who they THINK you are and for all the ills they claim you have perpetuated by your existence, even when you were, like I was, fighting for the same causes for which, now, they claim as theirs.

 

 


Stirring the Hornet’s Nest

On 9/11/2001, terrorists attacked the U.S. I was at work when it happened. I watched the men and women around me–rugged men and women–truckers, ranchers, farmers, mechanics, loggers, construction contractors–every one a patriot–walk around in stunned silence. And all of us were feeling the same exact thing. We were, all of us Westerners, thinking the same thing.

I knew it in my bones in that moment that the world had changed, because, I, too, mostly a liberal, felt it inside me. Those terrorists hadn’t struck a blow so much at the U.S., as they had struck a blow to themselves.¬† Their actions had awoken a terribly powerful nation of patriots who are, even me, unafraid of death and who will stand forever uncowed in the face of tyranny. Americans–the Americans I know and love (and we are multitude, if mostly silent)–are, in fact, rugged individualists and freedom-lovers. We are, by nature, forgiving and pacifists–we mind our own lives and our own business. But, stir us at your peril, because, once stirred, we are unyielding in our response.

Fast forward to 2016: A bunch of loud-mouthed, fuzzy-brained SJWs coupled with a government and two stupid political parties incapable of comprehending that Americans don’t like the direction globalization is taking us leads to a complete rout of the Democratic party from power, even though we know that Republicans are oligarchs. But, for Americans, better the oligarch, than the tyrant, because that’s what the left now stands for–social and economic tyranny, with preferential treatment their standard, not unpreferential equality, fairness, and justice. And Americans believe in equality, fairness, and justice–we do.

To this day, even this day, though, Democrats just don’t get it, even after losing the Senate, the House, and the White House, even after losing control of the greater majority of states in the union. So, here it is for you, Democrats, in a nutshell: Americans would rather battle it out with the oligarchs than suffer tyranny. We’d rather go it alone than suffer our nation become part of some global collective beehive, our liberties and voices denied for fear of giving offense.¬† Hell, it’s our RIGHT to be offensive if we so choose, so, in other words, fuck you if you think we’re going to tow your party line. We won’t. Get used to it, get over it, or go live in the EU while their collective beehive lasts, which probably won’t be for long.

But are the Republicans any better? Well, they mostly don’t get it, either–them with their hands in every cookie jar–but I think they have a real sense of self-preservation and at least are getting the idea that they probably ought to keep their ear to the ground and hear the thunder. I think they’re beginning to realize that missteps, now, will mean being pounded into bloody pulp under the feet of men and women who aren’t afraid to say, ‘HELL, NO!’

Don’t Tread on Me is no longer the assimilated property of the Tea Party. It’s the sentiment of the real American silent majority.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Contingency Employment Planning

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Most American citizens are members of one¬†of two¬†groups–the employer or the employee–usually, the latter. ¬†Simplistically, as an employee, you are answerable to your employer; as an employer, you are answerable to yourself.

Again simplistically:

  • As an employee working for¬†someone else, you may have seeming autonomy in some jobs and in some positions, but, actually, you have no autonomy. You have a job to do and often changeable definitions of what that job entails. ¬†You earn according to what the business owner¬†deems¬†you’re worth, and, when that worth increases or diminishes, so may¬†your compensation and, sometimes, even employability.
  • When you are the employer, which includes the self-employed sole proprietor, you earn according to the success of the business and what you deem prudent to maintain continuing business success. (Failure to properly limit your ‘take’ can¬†lead to business failure.)

Are you one of the few who are perpetually employable? Will automation and technology never threaten your job? Will your job never be outsourced? Will every¬†birthday you have once you hit thirty-six years¬†of age (thirty-five for women) have no effect or¬†decrease your employability? Few in the U.S. can honestly say that, and, unless you have some sort of alternative financial support,¬†you might be in trouble, especially once you hit forty, because, no matter how good you are, that’s when employers start looking to fill positions with younger workers. In fact, it’s encouraged,¬†http://fortune.com/2016/05/30/firing-loyal-employee/¬†(Article has been edited from its original) , as was noted quite pointedly in Bob Sullivan’s article in MSN Money:¬†http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/other/is-it-okay-%E2%80%94-or-even-legal-%E2%80%94-to-fire-longtime-employees/ar-BBtLziB¬†.

In the U.S. since¬†somewhere in the mid 1970s, but especially during the 1990s,¬†employment models dramatically changed. (Alternative PDF:¬†how-the-relationship-between-employers-and-workers-changed-latimes¬†). Lifetime employment became, for the most part, a thing of the past as companies sought to maximize profits and minimize labor expenses. Aging workers became¬†especially subject to termination, and, today, an older worker is classified¬†as anyone reaching thirty-five or thirty-six, and, by forty, you’ve definitely reached¬†that category. (http://www.aol.com/article/2013/12/24/fighting-age-discrimination/20794477/,¬†http://www.forbes.com/sites/deborahljacobs/2013/11/03/11-sneaky-ways-companies-get-rid-of-older-workers/)¬†Between automation, technology, a flooded labor market, and maximizing profits for stock holders, jobs are harder and harder to find and keep, no matter your education and skills.

Seeing the handwriting on the wall, some of us, including me, decided that self-dependency–self-employment–was preferable to the ever-increasing climate of job instability. I left a corporate position¬†where I was highly valued, the CEO actually visiting my home to demand my continued¬†employment with the company after I gave notice and resigned. ¬†Working for myself¬†was frightening, but it proved out, despite having to work longer hours, despite having no¬†guarantee of a dependable, stable income. ¬†But, honestly, when you’re employed by someone else, there is no actual guarantee of that next paycheck. ( http://www.rd.com/advice/work-career/13-things-hr-wont-tell-you-about-keeping-your-job/ ) Everything from outsourced, downsizing, department reorganization, and automation to a fire in the building, a tornado, or an earthquake can put you out of work either temporarily or permanently. In fact, keeping a job long term is tough unless you’re a key employee or ‘keyman‘. ¬†Unemployment compensation is a painful substitute. ¬†I’ve been a ‘key employee’. It’s still no guarantee of retention when a business gets sold or assimilated by another company.

Because of today’s unstable employment climate, anyone in their thirties who isn’t independently well off needs an employment back-up plan, including the potential of having to self-employ. Ongoing education and increasing your skill set are key to retaining a place in someone’s employment roster, but, even then, your job security is not a sure thing. Your best option is to plan for the eventuality that you will have to employ yourself and/or seek alternative income strategies to maintain a comfortable income level from your forties onward. Build toward that while you are gainfully employed. Don’t wait till you get that¬†pink slip and are escorted out of the building.

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