Career Trajectory at Fifty-Five

Let’s talk about some of old adages we use to accept as truth, but not so much any longer.

  Age before beauty
  Practice makes perfect
  Experience is the mother of wisdom

What has changed you ask? Better, what exactly am I referring to when I say these are no longer truths within our culture?

These I think are more apropos for today:

  Hype and arrogance trumps experience
  Blame the other guy or circumstances beyond your control for your failure
  Two in the bush for half as much makes perfect cents

Why do I think this, it is a fair question. Honestly, this is about career progression and how those of us who have not been fortunate in our bonus checks, must navigate the ever-increasing rough waters we find ourselves in as we age up and out of our career relevancy.

My career and educational path was not a straight line, by the time that sheepskin was in my hand, the shine was slightly tarnished and I had a few years of work behind me. What that first degree gave me was the burnish I needed to move up the ladder, be taken more seriously and yes, be paid a little more for the work I was already doing.

As a woman in the world of business, you may move up, usually more slowly than men; this will depend on your willingness to throw others under the bus in your climb to the top, including your friends and family. My rise

The difference truly men are willing to go to great lengths

through the managerial ranks was impeded only by lack of corporate / political sophistication; encumbered by my failure to identify my enemies and my belief that ethics and quality outweighed arrogance and a penis. It didn’t, not even once.

In my thirties I was handed a gift, a career opportunity that would change my trajectory and open doors that might not have opened otherwise. I walked through those doors; I also walked through University doors once again and pursued a Masters to polish my credentials, one more time. This gift didn’t come without sacrifice, including playing in an entirely new sandbox with much different, bigger and more aggressive dogs. There were pros and cons to this career gift such as:

PROS

  • Challenging work
  • Fascinating, always new experiences
  • Travel, national and international
  • Education, lots of it
  • Decent income and decent opportunity for women, myself included, initially

CONS

  • Long hours, 70 hour weeks were the norm
  • Long weeks away from home, it wasn’t unknown to be away two to three weeks at a time
  • Dog-eat-dog mentality within the industry
  • Ten years ago the industry was outsourced badly

Career Relevance and Age

I don’t think of myself as old, irrelevant or outdated. Truth be told, I think of myself as damned near in my prime. I am experienced, knowledgeable and unencumbered by many of the outside influences others might still have. I no longer want to move up the career ladder, been there done that and found I didn’t all that much enjoy some of the jobs I landed in. Now I know the jobs I enjoy and am happy when I am doing them. I love challenging work and love to produce quality results, whether for an employer or a client.

I have worked as both an employee of consulting firms and as an Independent Consultant. There are clearly pros and cons of both. The problem with independence is the market is no longer geared toward individuals and their

How it feels, stop and all

capabilities or past references. In fact it is rare to find an opportunity that isn’t through one or many off-shore farms that advertise on the boards, set the rates (low) and nine times out of ten will rarely talk to you if you are (1) a woman; (2) American.

Does the above statement sound bitter? It is not bitter; it is simply the truth of what has happened in our market today.

What is happening?

I did not think at fifty-five my future would be no-future or at least as frightening as it is. I didn’t think that all my work my 70 hour weeks, my time away from hearth and home, my investment in certifications and additional

degrees would result in nothing. Just a career that came to a screeching halt in my prime. What I thought was I would do my consulting time, I would learn my craft and prove myself (I did this in some of the most difficult

environments there are) and then I would go to work for the last fifteen or twenty years of my career in some capacity as a full-time employee. I would earn a decent living, with benefits no less. I would mentor younger members of an enthusiastic team. I would write books about my experiences. I would be a visiting lecturer at local universities about quality, ethics in business and values, how to do things right.

What I didn’t realize is at fifty-five I am old and perhaps the best I can hope for is Wal-Mart Greeter.

Welcome to the Revolution

“For Negroes are not the only victims. How many white children have gone uneducated, how many white families have lived in stark poverty, how many white lives have been scarred by fear, because we have wasted our energy and our substance to maintain the barriers of hatred and terror?

So I say to all of you here, and to all in the Nation tonight, that those who appeal to you to hold on to the past do so at the cost of denying you your future.

This great, rich, restless country can offer opportunity and education and hope to all: black and white, North and South, sharecropper and city dweller. These are the enemies: poverty, ignorance, disease. They are the enemies and not our fellow man, not our neighbor. And these enemies too, poverty, disease and ignorance, we shall overcome.”

Where did we go wrong? I am inclined to believe complacency plays a large role but more than this is the determined actions of those shadow and moneyed figures who have for nearly 60 years worked aggressively to turn back the hands of time.

Some believe this is a dial back to the 1950’s; a time when the little woman met hubby at the door with a Martini and dinner was on the table at exactly six pm. Dysfunction hidden behind a wall of smiles and silence, everyone in agreement to speak softly and pass the mashed potatoes. Children, bright and shiny faces smile up at their teachers and learn by rote their ‘A,B,C’ and who the enemy is, the big bad Communist behind the brick and razor wire www.sitcomonline.comwall.

It is the world of Beaver and Wally Cleaver.

The fifties were a time many look back on with great affection, considering this the idyllic time in our nation’s history, but was it? What is it about the era that is so attractive to so many; shall we explore the difference sixty year’s makes in the history of a nation and our memories.

  • Taxes – could it be we had a lower marginal tax rate during the idyllic 1950’s? Is this what the attraction is? No, this isn’t it, the average top marginal tax for those wonderful ‘job creators’ during this time was 85%, that’s right one of the highest rates in our history; of course back then we didn’t call them job creators, we called them wealthy and expected them to contribute to the health of our national coffers for the good of the nation.
  • Jobs – we had them back then, at least some of us did. Minorities weren’t in the workforce in any meaningful way, certainly not as a threat to the “American” way of life! Women? Well we have put awww.squiddo.com real dent in things! Our numbers have grown since the 50’s by 394%. We have girded our dainty loins for battle and skipped blithely into every single arena of high crimes, chicanery and flimflam and demanded our seat at the table! I suppose this does cause angst, the competition likely makes many uncomfortable.
  • While we are talking about jobs – we should look at the other reason we had jobs, fair trade policy and practices! That is right, since the 1950’s our borders for trade have sprung wide open. While this prying loose of trade polices began after WWII, the grease was applied by the Lord of Free Trade, President Ronald Reagan with GATT and applied even more liberally by his predecessors in trickery, right up through present day WTO trade agreements. These agreements keep import Tariffs at all-time lows while doing nothing to address trade imbalance with those nefarious ‘Favored Nations’ and slips through the cracks the idea that Americans are ill prepared, to stupid even to fill the jobs available in the market those requiring on-going infusions in the tens of thousands from other, smarter temporary forces of resources who will work for half as much while Americans languish.
  • Civil Rights – perhaps the most reprehensible problems of the time machine bunch. Why you ask? What we are seeing today is a return to the policies and programs of that time, a return to a time of Jim Crow and Plessy v. Ferguson; a time when it was legal to separate, abuse even kill a man or woman based solely on the color of their skin. Segregation, voter suppression and separate but equal were all at play and fully supported by the courts and those elected to offices both high and low.
  • Now we have the issue of SEX, that’s right SEX. Blue laws throughout the land controlled who had it and with whom it was legal to have it with, even in some cases in what position it was legal to have it in and on what does of the week. But it wasn’t just sex it was the purpose of sex and women were the receptacles, the bearers of children! Both contraception and abortion were illegal in all cases. In most states so was pre-marital sex but only women were ever prosecuted as lewd women. Men? Well they were just being men.

“ I pledge allegiance to my flag and the republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Recognize the above? No? It is the original Pledge of Allegiance written by Francis Bellamy (1855-1931), a Christian Socialist who frankly would be rolling in his grave were he to know that his simply pledge of commitment to the Flag and Country has become such a historical point of contention. The Pledge of Allegiance was said in schoolrooms throughout the nation daily by schoolchildren from Kindergarten Wikipediathrough High School, with exactly the words above.  It was not until June 14, 1954 by Joint Resolution of Congress after being introduced by President Eisenhower the words ‘One Nation Under God’ were added to the Pledge, hardly historical and certainly not the intent of our Founding Fathers.

So let’s do a quick synopsis, shall we? What do these historians want to return to?

  1. Higher taxes
  2. Jim Crow
  3. Voter Suppression
  4. Segregation / Separate but Equal
  5. Protectionism, return of tariffs
  6. Blue Laws, criminalization of Abortion and contraception
  7. Removal of God from Public sector including money and Pledge of Allegiance

No, I don’t think they want the list above. They want a selected set of the list above. Clearly, we are moving on a fast track toward achieving some of these. I think President Johnson had it dead to rights in his Civil Rights speech of 1965; the enemy is poverty, ignorance and disease. It is truly unfortunate today we have all these running rampant and even being promoted.

What think you?

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