Think of Dear Ellie as your very own kitchen table, where you can discuss the things that are on your mind. Now that the boomers are turning 60 and those in the Greatest Generation are in their 70s, 80s, and 90s—we are all blazing new trails in the third third of life. So, have a cup of coffee and let’s talk about life: the past, the present, and the future. [Editor's note: Dr. Greenberg no longer contributes to Silver Planet, but we have made her archived blog entries available as a service to our readers.]
I have been trying to make it in my own business for a number of years, and I was doing OK until this economic downturn happened. Now, my clients have disappeared, and I have not been successful finding new ones. Do you think I should stop trying and just get a waitressing job until this blows over? I am 56 years old, divorced, with a grown son and daughter. My health is good. Sharon
There are no quick and good answers to issues of work in this economic climate. One thing is for sure: You must apply for unemployment benefits. Those funds may be your only steady source of income for a while. I surely hope that, as a self-employed person, you have been paying into the unemployment fund.
Since I do not know anything about your skills or your business, it’s hard for me to give you specific advice. But you just can’t wait until you get new clients or the former ones return. So try to think of this period of time as a transition and make some constructive use of the opportunity to learn some new things.
For example, if you have not had a career assessment in a long time—or ever—investigate the nearest public work center or community college in your county and find out if they have assessment services. If they do, by all means, take advantage of them. Also inquire if those agencies are offering workshops on job searching. If they do, sign up!
If you can get a waitressing job, and you have some experience doing that kind of work, try it for a while. You need to find ways to keep some money coming in as you negotiate this period of time. I’m not suggesting that you trade off your self-employment for a permanent waitressing job, but it would be good if you could pay some basic bills and save a little, even during this hard time.
The old standbys are also important: networking, meeting new people, watching the ads, applying for jobs, and talking to as many people as you can. This is not the time to hide at home and become depressed and lonely. Get out and get going! Ellie
By Elinor Miller Greenberg, EdD
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