Improving One’s Lot

How does a person go about improving their lot in life? For some it might be attending college to get a degree or certificate in a course of study. The majority of people probably think it is related to finding the perfect job with the best pay possible (if there is such a thing). In this post I’m going to continue along the lines of my original opinion that jobs are available if people are willing to take what’s there and work their way up to something better.

I still firmly believe that if a person wants to work, there are jobs available for them. They may need to take the job that is available while looking for their ‘perfect job’. Michigan is supposed to be one of the worst states for unemployment, yet as I travel around cleaning windows for people, it’s common to see signs in windows that businesses are hiring.

One of our window customers told me a few years ago that her grandson graduated with a marketing degree, but it had already been six months and he hadn’t found anything he could do with his degree. He made a decision that if he didn’t find something within a certain amount of time that he would go back to a McDonald’s he had worked at before and possibly get his manager position back. He would then continue to look for something related to his degree, but he’d at least be earning a living while doing so.

I mentioned in my opinion paper that other than a couple of times, I never went more than a couple of weeks without work. This included travels to several different states in the course of an eight year period. In the late seventies I went to New Hampshire with my church to do a type of missionary program for one year. While there we were expected to work a morning shift and work about 20-30 hours per week. My shift began at seven am on the days that I worked, and I never worked past one in the afternoon.

I went from Ohio with several other individuals to share housing and expenses for the year. Our first priority when we arrived was to find housing. Once that was taken care of we all began the hunt for a job. Only one person had problems working consistently all year and to my remembrance that was because they were never happy with the work they were doing.

Then one of the girls I met in New Hampshire asked if I wanted to move to her home state which was North Carolina. Once I settled in with a group of girls I got a job at a 7-11. I worked there for two years, one and one half years as an employee and the other half as a manager.

During that last year there I knew that I wanted to attend my church’s leadership training program, which is a four year program, two years in a work/study program and the other two years on staff at one of the locations or on the field. I chose to stay ‘on the field’ by doing another missionary type program. I went to Connecticut with three other women who I had never met before to work part time and start a church in the home while there.

It took a little longer to find a house this time, so because of that it took longer to be able to begin job hunting, which was taken care of within a short amount of time after we found a place to live.

One thing that really helped during these years was living without debt. When you don’t have stress from debt weighing you down, any job will do for the short term.

I know someone that lives in the Detroit area. Within the past year or so his company downsized and without warning his job was no longer available. He was some kind of mechanical designer without a college degree, although he did attend some type of a trade school under his dad’s tutelage. (His dad was in a similar line of work). When this person first lost his job of about twenty-five years, he was in a bit of a funk, as anyone would be. Within several days or so, he came to himself knowing that wouldn’t help him find another job. He got his name and qualifications out in the proper places and continued to pray about it, expecting God to work it out.

Within one month, he had a  new job, better than the one he’d had before. He didn’t let fear get to him and continued to expect the best.

Something that employees and American citizenry in general should strive to do rather than searching for the ‘elusive’ higher wages trying to match their cost of living would be to get their spending habits under control. One place to start would be to eliminate all credit card debt. Once debt is eliminated another thing to work towards is living within a budget which would be the same as living within one’s means.

There would be several benefits to living this way. The major one would be that much of the stress most of us have become accustomed to would be eliminated. Another benefit would be that it would be easier to work on a savings plan and set money aside towards retirement. Finally, if any catastrophe hits, it would be easier to work through without dealing with debt.

If all age groups would strive towards living debt free and have several months worth of pay set aside in a savings account ( I think the suggested amount is six months worth), then if something major did happen like a job loss or medical situation, then the money would already be set aside to pay for those things and having the time to work out the necessary details without getting stressed out.

So, the best way to improve your lot in life is remain debt free or if you’ve already started to build up debt, then work towards paying it off. There are ways to build credit without getting into debt.

1003 wds

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. aliciamurphy27
    Dec 07, 2011 @ 16:17:45

    Marsha,
    I live in a small town and I have changed my job three different times. People act like there aren’t any jobs in this town but there is. They may not be jobs you like but who cares it’s a job! I was working at McDonald’s and I really didn’t want to but I had to and it was a job. Eventually I got a position at the bank, so I moved onto a better one and one that I would like more. I am just sick of hearing people complain. They are just lazy and don’t bother trying!

    Reply

    • marsha4852
      Dec 08, 2011 @ 03:37:55

      Alicia,
      Thanks for commenting. The interesting thing is that any job we work with there should be something that we can take away from it once we leave-something we’ve learned that we didn’t know before.

      It could be learning to work with others better, what not to do when working with others, many things can be learned. A job isn’t just a place to provide an income. I’m thankful that there are those that work at public restrooms in our parks around the state. Can you imagine what they would look like if no one cleaned them. Someone has to do those types of jobs, not something I’d want to do, but then again I’ve done something similar for a while.

      Sometimes I think it’s too bad our society doesn’t have everyone work every job sometime in their lifetime. Then folks might be more compassionate towards those that wait tables when things are harried, or similar situations when customers get out of hand when situations happen beyond anyone’s control.

      Reply

  2. Roz Weedman
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 19:01:55

    One book that still remains one of the very best on the world of work is the old Studs Terkel book, “Working.” Terkel interviewed people in virtually every walk of life and distilled their works into these interesting interviews. We all wouldn’t want every one of those jobs. But there is something to be learned from all of them.

    I find people are pretty unrealistic about starting pay in their intended fields. Not everyone but a lot of people are. This seems especially true of Business majors who somehow imagine getting rich right away. Most small business people work on a narrow margin and work very hard for that. The successful ones love their businesses and love the fact that they own it, and are realistic about the “getting rich” part.

    Most students I see do indeed work and most work hard. Part time jobs are always available. Full time work with a living wage — that’s a little harder to find. But one thing can lead to another.

    Reply

    • marsha4852
      Dec 12, 2011 @ 16:46:29

      I’ve never heard of that book before, I’ll have to look it up one day.

      I think a lot of people whether college grads or not have in the back of their heads the idea of a ‘get rich quick’ business. If no one was ever interested there wouldn’t be so many of them floating around. A lot of it gets back to wanting something for nothing, which I’ve seen before in the work place. People want the higher paycheck but aren’t willing to work towards getting it. That may be doing their current job duties to the best of their abilities or being patient until something better opens up. What people don’t realize is that most of the get rich quick’ ideas, businesses or schemes actually cost a lot of money to get started.

      While it is true that in order to have your own business and make money, many times you have to spend money, but a person shouldn’t get carried away with what they have to spend to get started, not knowing whether the rewards will be there to pay back the bank, a friend, or even their own savings account.

      Reply

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