Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Spending Vs. Investing

Last night as I was sitting in the movie theatre I thought about a woman I recently met. She's the mother of five children, ages 7, 4, 2, and  3-month-old twins, who has no relatives nearby to help during the hours her husband is at work. While I was enjoying a light-hearted movie, she was probably feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. 

From there my thoughts went to a recent presentation I saw at a women's conference. A young college graduate shared her experience with volunteering for an international organization that rescues slaves of human trafficking and child labor. She spoke with fervor as she related her stories of well-planned and executed rescue missions in Africa and the Philippines.

Image result for spending timeAt this point instead of focusing on the movie I was thinking about how I spend my time. Although it was pleasurable to lean back in my comfortable seat and be entertained, I questioned if I would prefer to invest my time in something more important, more significant, and more meaningful.

For the first time in my life I have the fortune of discretionary time—perhaps my most valuable retirement gift. And how I choose to benefit from this gift comes down to a question of spending vs. investing. In retirement we talk a lot about spending and investing—it's part of building a secure financial portfolio. Perhaps we can apply the same planning to how we use our time in retirement.

It's not that I need to allocate all my hours to saving the world. The choice is about creating balance and being intentional. Going to the movies—spending. Volunteering to help a mother of 5 young children—investing. By consciously choosing to spend or invest, I'll create a diversified portfolio.

Copyright 2016 Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Create Your Own Job

I did a brave thing. I walked into a bakery, ordered an oatmeal raisin scone, and then asked about job opportunities that are listed on the bakery's website. When the cashier said he'd ask the manager, I put a crisp dollar in his tip jar. I waited patiently, browsing the café to see if I felt a connection to the place.

A few minutes later I believe it was the manager who looked around the corner to see who was interested in a baking job. I hoped I looked professional enough—more professional and responsible than their ordinary applicants. Surely I'd capture his attention and he'd be eager to discuss my interest in the position.

Or not. When the cashier returned he told me to fill out an application, online.


I decided in that moment that I'm not going to be at the mercy of a manager. I walked out knowing that I wasn't going to fill out an application and thinking, "I'll create my own job." I ate the scone, only to be provoked that my job inquiry cost me more calories than I want to know.

This brings me to the question: "Is it possible to create your own job in retirement?"

Answer: "Yes, if you can capture the essence of what you want in a job." This is where you have to get really clear about why you want a job.

My interest in baking isn't because I love getting up at 4:30 a.m. and working with people half my age who really want to be actors instead of bakers.  I want to bake because I love being part of a team, working in a creative environment, and having a place to go—on my schedule. Once I got clear about what I wanted in a job, I looked for other ways to create this environment.

I noticed that the café at my church sells donuts on Sunday mornings. The donuts are beautifully displayed in a pedestal cake stand but I've never seen anyone order a donut. What if I offered to bake nutritious cookies and bars to sell in the café? What if I asked if there are a few other people who are interested in joining me one or two mornings a week to bake?

Now I'm getting to the essence of why I'm interested in working in a bakery—and I don't have to get a manager to believe I'm the most qualified applicant for the position. Nor am I insulted by earning minimum wage. Instead I'm working for the love of it, something money can never buy.

If you're looking for the perfect job in retirement, this exercise will help you get to the essence of your job search.

Write in detail about the type of work that interests you. Be very specific. Describe the environment, what you're wearing, who you're working with, how you feel in the position, and who you get to be in this role.

Once you know what you want, brainstorm possible ways to capture the essence of this job. Be creative. Ask friends for ideas. Then act. Life rewards action. Even the slightest act, such as sending an email, will put the idea into motion. Then go shopping for the clothes you'll need for this new job!

Copyright 2016 Patrice Jenkins All Rights Reserved.