I’ve written here before about the disincentive to work that many of us have experienced because of certain restrictive covenants that attatch to disability benefits. Now, I’d like to write about a benefit that may be sitting right in front of us. Please indulge me a bit, then I’ll hit you with the punchline.
If you’re like me, you’ve been out of work for some period of time, call it a few years. Your old job is a memory, and perhaps you miss it; maybe you like to work or enjoyed the work you did; perhaps you miss the conviviality or social interactions that develop when people share a common task or goal; maybe your job was a career and you were tearing-up the path earning more and more money and leading people.
Perhaps your old job was a nightmare; drudgery and mindless toil from when you punched-in or arrived until you could take a break; lunch was the highpoint of your day until quittin’ time. Maybe it was just a way to pay the bills.
Then BOOM! IT ALL STOPPED. What you had done for most of your life was gone. Good jobs or bad jobs became a cycle of days filled with pain. Today, you can’t even imagine a fun day at the beach, let alone your career.
Now, even though you suffer pain as I am suffering pain at this keyboard, you’re free. I’m free. My toes are burning. I’m cranking-up my neurostimulator, holding-off using any Fentanyl while the muscles in my shins twitch too fast for me to count and my butt is killing me from sitting…despite this…I’m having an okay time. I’m writing to you.
I wrote a lot in my old job, and I like to write. Unlike when I was working I write today about anything I want. I’m poking away at another blog, Alpha Drone, which is a tip sheet for people who would like to find a way to show themselves in a stronger light, or for people who are looking to land a job, stuff like that, but it’s a lot of work, so it’s a slow go; but I’ll get it off the ground.
What I’m doing is taking an old skill from my working days, and instead of doing it for someone else, I’m doing it for me. Try this: think of 10 things you love to do. Think of actions, not things; verbs not nouns: hobbies, sports, writing, photography, whatever. Long before I ever was paid to write a word, I wrote. It’s one of the things I love to do. That’s my first suggestion to you. Get a piece of paper and jot down ten things that you love to do. Here’s my list of 10 things I love to do:
- Listen to music
- Collect one of a kind things
Next, on that same piece of paper, write 10 things you love. Think of nouns, not verbs. Also, try to list categories, not people. So instead of listing, “Wife” or “Husband”, write instead “Love”, or “Lifelong loving relationships”. When you do this, try for ten different things that you really love. The less the items on your list have in common, the more useful your list will be. Here, I’ll try my ten. Next to some of my items, I’ll put some words that I might have used instead. See if you can figure-out why I chose a word that included in it’s meaning the words in parentheses.
- God (Jesus Christ, Holy Mother, Trinity, Faith, Belief, religion)
- Family (wife, parents, in-laws, children, grandparents, pet(?))
- Friends (enemies, long lost, bonding, conversation)
- Sports (Baseball, Football, Pro, College, HS, Little League)
- Business (Money, Industry, Careers, Development, Economics)
- Antiques (Furniture, Barn, Hand-made knives, tools, crockery, marbles)
- Books (First edition, collectibles, fiction, mystery, gambling)
- The Ocean (Ships, Whaling, Models, Fishing Industry, sailing)
- Philosophy (Scientific Theory, Mathematics, Ethics, Ontology)
- Psychology (Human behavior, habits, trends, Psychopharmacology)
Now, what happens if I combine items, say one from each of the two lists. Lets take “sell” from the list of things I love to do, and Ships from the list of things I love. Is the combination a job? Sell ships? The first thing that comes to mind is an image of a gigantic trans-oceanic oil tanker. Well, some company built it for another company that uses it, which means someone, somehow sold this tanker, but I can’t imagine me anywhere in that process. I’ll promise you this, there is a man or a woman who brought the user and the builder together, and no matter what the title of that person is, the ship was sold.
Think instead of ships, the vessels, a smaller version. Think of a ship model, then use another love of mine “hand-made” and add it to ship, and we’ve now created a job: selling hand made ship models. This is much closer to home; not only do I own 2 hand made model sailing ships, I also know who made them. I speak with him on the phone; I know a supplier. I also know buyers; I’ve met them at shows, chatted with them on websites, and talked with them on the phone.
I’m seconds away from creating a job that is something I already love to do, sell. Not only that, I already know the product upside-down, and inside-out because it’s a hobby of mine. I know the highly sought after craftsmen, and the craftsmen who are relatively unknown, but want to be represented to the collectors.
I can speak passionately and knowledgeably to both buyers and sellers. I know the market. I know collectors who would love to start building a collection of American Clipper ships, but don’t want to spend a fortune. On the other hand, I know collectors who are looking for specific models from specific times. Some people want the Titanic, others the Graf Spee…merchant and military, sail or steam, highly detailed museum quality or simply hand made, perhaps primitive. Some collect just hulls; some makers specialize in repairing damaged models.
I’ve got it!!! I’ll call 5 craftsmen who are stuck with a model that someone didn’t end-up taking, then either call collectors or publish a list of available models. I can either buy them myself, and sell them at a mark-up (oh! I won’t buy anything until I’ve got at least 3 interested collectors), or I’ll call the maker, tell him I’ve sold his model, and that I’ll give him the seller for a 20% commish. He’ll be happy to do it–he unloads inventory and raises the price of his ships.
Maybe I’ll build a web-site. I’ll buy what I know is a good value, put the pictures up and see if anyone comes. If not, I’ll try calling or displaying in a show, or giving them to a shop to display and make a consignment deal with the owner.
Look back at my list. Remember, it’s mine; your’s would be very different, but just as useful to you as mine is to me. Consider that I could add other items from either list to this idea.
Back when I was working, one of my responsibilities was hiring people new to finance. I was often lucky enough to find people who loved the markets, had demonstrated a great track record showing a good work ethic, and loved to challenge themselves. These hires were called TROPHY HIRES. As I recall, almost all of those hires became highly successful at a particular job, often making themselves wealthy in a relatively short period of time. Of this group, I loved handing them their paychecks which were often larger than mine. I kept in mind, and reminded them that I didn’t pay them a dime, they paid themselves; I just handed them their checks.
WHY BOTHER, WE’RE DISABLED?
The reason you should do this is that you may be abled to earn a certain amount of money without forfeiting your benefits!!! CHECK YOUR PLAN DOCUMENTS CAREFULLY! CALL YOUR PLAN ADMINISTRATOR AND ASK! GET THE ANSWER IN WRITING!
If you can earn a few bucks, and have a few good hours a day, then make the lists. Be scrupulously honest with yourself; the list is yours, you don’t have to share it with anyone. You may find that those few hours a day are great. You’ll look forward to doing the only a job you ever loved, because you created it. IF YOU NEED HELP, ASK! Drop me a line, I’ll help you in any way I can. Writing this blog is great for me. God bless you (and find something that’s great for you), Colin