Looking For Work In Your 50’s And 60’s


Aging is of course a natural process we all go through. Whether we live a brief or long time on this planet, we start aging right from the moment we’re conceived. When we’re very young, we don’t think all that much about aging, but we do record the passage of time by the grade we’re in at school, the birthdays we celebrate with our family and friends, being old enough to date.

Into our teens we may actually look forward to getting older so we can drive a car, finish high school, perhaps come of legal drinking age. Soon we’re marking time by our College / University graduation dates, entering the world of employment full-time, maybe starting a family, setting up our first home away from mom and dad.

Now time is measured by the quality of our lives. We assess how we’re doing with our careers and our relationships. We contemplate how to make it better, and for the first time many actually start thinking of Registered Retirement Savings Plans, getting our wills together. We’re no longer whispering about doing things while we’re young enough, because we’re hearing it everywhere we go. If we feel the grass is greener, we change employers, maybe even return to school or take some courses to put ourselves in stead to take on new challenges in completely different lines of work.

We eventually settle in somewhat, start evaluating where we’ve been and what might lie ahead. We still might not know exactly how our lives will play out, but there’s more time behind us than in front of us for the first time. Maybe that sobering thought spurs us on or puts us in cruise control; it depends .

Suddenly advancing age is becoming an issue. Jobs have come and gone over our lives; we’ve had six or seven perhaps significant in nature. If we’re fortunate, we ride off into retirement with some pats on the back and kind words from our co-workers, and the next chapter of our lives begins. Or on the other hand, we find ourselves unemployed, still wanting to be productive and work – both for the necessary income and to be productive. Suddenly our age is a problem.

Now yesterday, in a class of unemployed job seekers, I asked those in attendance to tell me about themselves; answering as they would in an interview setting. One gentleman in his 60’s, as part of his answer said that he was in good shape for his age.

Let’s look at that for a moment. If we go with the interview scenario, his résumé must have been good enough to be considered for employment or he wouldn’t have reached the interview in the first place. The interview is an opportunity to meet, market yourself in person and confirm all the information you’ve provided. By saying he is in good shape for his age, he unnecessarily draws attention to his age. Yes the interviewer isn’t blind and can readily see he’s a mature person, but when it can be a barrier to employment, the less said the better. Best to leave it at, “I’m in excellent shape and up to the demands of the job.”

A subtle but significant change in the answer can either detract or add to your potential value to the employer considering bringing you on board.

Older applicants bring a wealth of experience – both in the world of work and generally in life itself. Life experience should never be underestimated and has real benefit in the workforce. An older person generally has maturity; enough wisdom to know how to react and deal with situations as they arise because they’ve dealt with similar situations before. What a 30ish or 40ish person might find overwhelming and cause drama in the workplace over, a 50ish or even 60ish person has both seen and done. They have the coping skills and adaptive skills to ride through change and come out on top.

Yes older workers tend to have increasing health-related issues that younger workers haven’t experienced yet, but it would be a mistake to intentionally weed out all older applicants based on age alone. A lot of extremely good people who would add productivity to an organization would be missed.

If you are an older person yourself, what is you’ve done – or do now – that you’ve found works to offset or counter this age discrimination or bias? Did you change your approach in some way as you went about looking for work that got better results?

One small piece of advice I’d like to give you is to make sure your voice has energy. I can’t tell you how often I’ve helped people in their 50’s and 60’s who lack not just volume as they speak, but genuine energy or passion. You’re interviewing for a job after all and not sitting back on a front porch having a casual conversation. This interview will need some attention to posture, presentation and the energy you put out has to convey that you’ve still got a lot in the tank left to give.

Now, I’d like to turn things over to you in your 50’s and 60’s who know this phase of life best. You’re the experts out there. What’s been your experience in terms of what’s worked for you – whether it’s to get a job or keep the one you’ve got now?

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Lost Trust In Others?


Many people I meet with trust issues, at one time were extremely trusting in others, however someone took their trust and abused it. Others shared their secrets, failed to respect their confidential and shared information; eventually hurting the person in such a profound way that they’ve never really fully trusted again. So here they are, not only distrusting others, but no longer trusting in their own ability to assess whom to trust.

Being taken advantage of, now the person doubts their judgement in trusting anyone, which lowers their self-esteem – and all in acts of self-protection. Consequently, they never fully trust those around them, doubt themselves and miss out on a lot of good things in life.

Wow! That’s some pretty significant negative consequences, all stemming from being a trustworthy person in the first place (a great personal quality). Can you imagine how a person must feel who goes through this world, never trusting anyone completely; always expecting they’ll be let down and taken advantage of again? Believing the best way to safeguard your personal thoughts, deepest feelings and the things you struggle with is to keep them all to yourself. Is that healthy? Not really.

No, keeping everything to yourself and never trusting others for fear of being exposed and taken advantage of can severely limit great experiences, rich relationships and it’s these that can work wonders on your own self-image. I’m not saying we should all be sharing absolutely everything with all the people around us. No, personal, private thoughts, feelings and problems are often kept exactly that way – internalized and private. Sometimes we can work through our issues entirely within ourselves.

However, there are many times in our lives when an empathetic or even sympathetic ear could be helpful. Someone to hear us out, a kind of sounding board for the things we’re thinking about, struggling to deal with, being weighed down by. When we share the big things with someone, our burden is often lighter, even when they just listen. Of course if we want advice, possible options for dealing with whatever is weighing on us, a trusted opinion from someone who has our best interests at heart can be wonderful.

This kind of person usually isn’t found in the workplace but rather in our personal lives. It’s a close friend perhaps, someone you confide in who takes what you say, doesn’t get alarmed and tell you what to think or what not to think, but simply hears you out and shares what’s important to you just by being there. Workmates we trust in typically hear us talk about working conditions, things specifically related to our jobs like the boss, co-worker relationships, workloads and job satisfaction. Sometimes we might even confide in someone about our plans to look elsewhere for a job without letting the boss know.

If you’ve ever told a co-worker something in confidence and found they’ve gone and made your secrets known to others, you would likely lower your trust in that person, or perhaps rule them out completely with anything significant in the future.

Sometimes of course, the person who breaks your trust does so with your own best interests at heart. They might be conflicted if for example you shared something that would cause financial loss to the employer, or if you were in danger of hurting yourself or another person. Their moral dilemma between keeping your trust versus the safety of others or employer loyalty might cause them great distress.

Some are just naturally better at earning, keeping and returning trust than others. It’s a skill after all; not something we are equally good at. When someone breaks trust, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are inherently bad, or will break trust in the future, but it makes it hard to extend trust a second time.

Now, the sad thing about people who have had their trust misplaced in the past, is that they exist in the present wary of trusting now. Without someone to confide in, they are left to work out their problems and issues all on their own. When trustworthy people do come into contact with the person, the person may miss opportunities that could help them move forward with less stress and much quicker. That fear of perhaps misjudging someone again and having their trust misplaced is greater than the perceived benefit of trusting, so they don’t.

I suppose the greater the fallout from misplaced trust in the past, the more a person withholds their trust in the present; insisting to themselves that they get to know someone over a long time and gauge how they handle small bits of information before ever contemplating sharing deeper issues. Having one’s trust broken is like having an internal scar that only you can see and it can run deep, flaring up when you’re thinking of trusting again – just as a reminder.

When someone does trust you with their feelings and struggles, it’s a wonderful gift. It’s a measure of the value they place in you; both for hearing them out and for what you’ll do with what you hear. You show respect for what you hear and more importantly for the person themselves when you hold that trust firm.

Trusting in others is a good quality to have. My hope is that if you’ve lost the ability to trust, you eventually rediscover the tremendous benefits of confiding in someone, and that your trust in them is rewarded.

Bitterness; It’s Expensive To Carry


If a link to this article landed in your Inbox, or if it’s been printed and left anonymously on your desk, it could be that someone working close to you is taking the rather bold step of drawing your bitterness to your attention. Don’t get angry, don’t throw this immediately in the trash or click close on your browser. You can do either of those things in a few minutes. Could be they are trying to do you a favour without having to face you openly.

Bitterness is something that everyone feels once in a while. Call it extreme disappointment; maybe feeling robbed of some person or some thing we had counted on to be there for us. Perhaps you lost a loved one or you were passed over in the end for a promotion or a new job that had been yours for the taking or even promised you.

The thing is, extreme disappointment or bitterness isn’t supposed to last. It’s supposed to have an expiry period. Oh sure you will always recall the disappointment or even the heartache of whatever you feel was denied you. However, carrying that disappointment and allowing it to fester and grow, carrying it around with you like a badge of honour, is highly unattractive. It’s so unattractive in fact that not only does it show yourself in a negative light, it can be denying you many good things in life; opportunities you may or may not even know are being passed by as you get passed over.

You have to ask yourself, ‘What does carrying around my bitterness and making sure everyone I meet gets a taste of it do for me?’ Imagine if you will a straight line; on the extreme left you’ve got Joy, Elation, Excitement etc. Way over on the extreme right you’ve got Bitterness, Anger, Loathing. Somewhere in the middle  there’s a midpoint of the two. What appears to have happened in your case is that some event or a series of events, has moved you way over to the extreme right and you never recovered your center; you’re grounded somewhere it’s unnatural to be, but it’s become your every day experience; and unfortunately it’s become what others who interact with you see as your dominant trait. No one was ever meant to stay in that extreme end position; unfortunately it seems you have.

If you’ve ever heard someone say things like, “Hey lighten up”, “What’s your problem?”, “It wouldn’t kill you to smile you know” etc., these are others ways of trying to get you to move on that scale. No one expects you to do a complete 180 and be joyous, excited and elated all the time. No, that would be unnatural for your disposition. At the same time, where you are permanently is where people were only meant to be periodically, and it’s not natural.

So maybe you’re not a people-person; or maybe it’s not that so much as you’d rather do things solo more often than you do at the moment. Could be the role you have in your work life isn’t a natural fit; that the job requires interpersonal skills and a general attitude that differs significantly from your own. If this is the case, one obvious sign is that when you’re away from work – say in your personal life and at home, you’re a changed person. Yes, if you feel your face gets set in a concrete grimace and lines of stress, furrowed eyebrows and a scowl start appearing on your commute to the workplace, this could be the reason.

However, if this bitterness persists beyond the workplace and is your reality both at work and every other place you go, it’s not just work that’s the problem. In such a case, you may find yourself more isolated from people in general no matter what the circumstances. I suppose you have to ask yourself, “Am I happy – really happy – with things the way they are.” If you think the world has to give you some reasons to feel less bitter before you make any conscious effort to drop the bitterness, it’s likely not going to work out that way. It always starts with you.

Look, whomever brought this to your attention is likely concerned about you and FOR you. Sure they’d rather interact with a happier you, but in truth, they probably are more focused on helping you become what they know could be a better you for your own sake.

Bitterness grows if you feed it. So you might have the experience, education and skills to deserve a promotion. However, your bitterness which comes across as brooding and biting is extremely concerning to those making the hiring decision. They aren’t going to promote you and give you added responsibility when this position you want is one of influence. No, it’s costing you dearly, and so as you get passed over again and again, your bitterness grows and gets reinforced.

Some need professional help to face where the bitterness stems from and help learning how to leave it behind. Not all, but some. You’ll also get massive support from anyone you talk to and ask for their help as you attempt to change what has become so ingrained in how you go about things.

It’s your life of course to live as you choose. Just don’t underestimate the cost of holding on to the bitterness.

 

Thinking Of A Return To School?


So the job search has become a long, frustrating experience of being rejected over and over. You’re over-qualified for some jobs, told you’re not who they are looking for others, and then there’s the ones where they say you were great but they decided to go with someone else. In the end, it’s all the same – no job. So now you’re so frustrated with the entire job search process, you’re thinking of going back to school instead.

A return to school would give you current academic credentials; a big upgrade on your mid-1980’s degree or diploma. Surely some current education and your life experience would be a winning combination! Well the short answer is yes. However, it’s important to consider a number of factors when you’re weighing the option of upgrading your education.

First of all, are you going back to upgrade your education in the field you’ve worked in all along or are you venturing into another field altogether? If it’s something new to you, think now – before you pay any tuition, if and how what you’ve done in the past can in any way be leveraged to help strengthen your job interviews after you graduate. So if you graduate with a Police Foundations Degree, how will your 15 years of Engineering work help? Will you be able to draw on transferable skills or will you have a different kind of answer when they ask why you’re taking this U-turn after looking at your work history?

There’s nothing wrong with changing direction in your life. It is a wise and courageous person indeed who isn’t afraid to stop pursuing work they can no longer do or be hired to do, and venture out in some new occupation. It can be invigorating and liberating to learn a new profession and it can fuel you with energy and enthusiasm if you’ve felt stuck in a rut. Pity the poor person who has come to no longer find joy in their line of work but who pursues it because it’s all they know and they feel they can’t risk going back to school and taking on more debt.

Ah yes debt. That’s one way to look at things of course; going back to school and graduating with a degree, diploma or certificate that costs you tens of thousands of dollars. You might be reasoning that while your out of a job now, at least you don’t have the added burden of all that debt on top.

There’s another way of looking at the money part however, and I always encourage people to see any costs associated with returning to school as an investment. An investment in what though? The answer is yourself. And what can you invest in that is of greater importance and benefit than yourself? Whatever you learn in school, you’ll take with you for the rest of your life. Oh sure you won’t recall some specifics, but you’ll emerge changed and better educated. School changes how you view things, and if you’re like many, you’ll use what you learn in school daily. It’s not so much that you apply a formula to a problem, remember some passage in a book or quote some theory. It’s more about how you think with a broader perspective and interact with the world in a different way when you graduate.

Now if you’re going back to learn a trade, I applaud you. People who have experience and recent education in the trades are not only in short supply, you’ll pick up skills you can use not only in your professional life, but your personal one as well perhaps. When you don’t have to call an electrician or auto mechanic for minor repairs, you’ll save money and feel empowered too.

School isn’t for everyone granted. What is? This doesn’t mean however that because you heard from a friend that it didn’t work for them that it won’t work for you. It can be a welcomed change to a frustrating job search to be connected with other people in a classroom who are interested in what is being taught just like you. You’re also likely to find that it isn’t as bad as you first imagined either. You wake up and you’ve got somewhere to be, at a certain time, and it’s motivating you to get into a good routine. You’re likely to apply your earlier work and life experience in the classroom too, and your marks might just be higher than you ever thought possible.

When you do finish school, you’ll emerge with something new and something current to stick on that résumé of yours. You’ll feel confidence like you haven’t in some time too because your education was rather dated prior to school. Now if you did your homework before you even started by asking some questions, you picked a course of education that has an upswing in employment. There are jobs out there and you’ll feel optimistic about your chances.

Oh and should you be deciding to upgrade your current education in your field, how can that do anything but help you? Now you’ve got extensive experience and learning of best practices, latest trends and you’ve got credentials once more.  Remember, education is never a bad thing, and the investment you choose to make in yourself will stay with you, unlike a purchase you make in a car that loses its value the second you drive off the lot.

Looking For Work?


Not long ago, I was watching this fellow staring at the jobs on a board. I watched him scan the jobs for about 3 or 4 minutes and then he took one down and made a photocopy of it. Curious, I asked him what job he had selected and why that one.

He had to look at the posting and read me the job title. His reason for choosing this one was – and I quote – “I dunno. Why not? It’s as good as any other; there’ll all the same.” He then took his résumé and sent it to the email as requested by the employer. The whole process was about 10 minutes from first finding the job to having applied.

If your own job search is similar to this fellow’s, my guess is you’ve had a hard time finding truly satisfying work; a job or career that’s a great fit.

Here’s some factors to consider in the hunt for your next job:

  1. Know the purpose of the work you’ll do. This is more than just reading what you’ll do in a job posting. Look into why you’ll be doing the job and how what you’ll be doing contributes to the overall organization. When you understand the purpose of your work, your own value rises; successful people always know the purpose of what they do.
  2. Know your own work values. If you don’t even understand this one, get some guidance from an Employment Counsellor or Coach and define the things that you hold as highly valued. When you go looking for work, you can then ask questions to find the things an employer values and see how these will fit with respect to your own. Find a good fit and the probability of a good match increases significantly.
  3. Find a job that plays to your strengths. You have to know yourself well enough to understand what your strengths are in the first place, and of all your strengths, know which ones you really want to use most in your next job. When you do more of the things you’re good at, the likelihood that you’ll do well increases.
  4. Work with a boss or supervisor whose style you can thrive with. Most job seekers never even remotely consider the management style of the boss they’ll work under next, or if they do, they just hope it works out. Even when they’ve had a poor experience with a terrible supervisor, not many think to look into the leadership style of the next person they’ll report to. Make some inquiries, ask questions of people they supervise now.
  5. Know your value. Sure we all would like to make a lot of money, but what’s your objective value in the marketplace? Your year’s of experience, level of education and how dated that education is are just some of the factors that will go into determining the level of salary you can reasonably expect.
  6. While it might sound odd and a waste of your time, know your philosophy as it pertains to work. If you think you don’t have one, let me tell you that you really do, you just haven’t put it into words. The things you value are excellent clues about what guides you in the work you do, the decisions you make, the way you view the world around you. Find a job where your work philosophy is a natural fit and you’ll be so much more satisfied. Ever had a job you just couldn’t continue with because you didn’t agree with the way the employer went about things? That was really a conflict between your philosophy and theirs.
  7. As for your weak areas – and it’s natural to have them – don’t choose to work in a job where your weaknesses will expose you to being fired. If you’re not a people person, don’t work in Customer Relations! While working on improving yourself in areas you know you’re not strong is good, you’ll do best if the job plays more to your strengths.
  8. Know what motivates you. This next job is one you’ll be at presumably 7 or more hours a day and maybe 35 or more hours a week. The things that motivate you both personally and professionally should align in some way with this new job. Are you motivated by time with family? Then don’t choose a career or job that takes you away from them excessively such as on weekends and nights. You won’t last. If you’re motivated by money or security, look at the salary; the potential salary and is the length of your stay fixed at the start or in your own hands to determine based on your performance?
  9. Look at the commute. How are you going to get to this job? If you rely on transit, don’t waste many people’s time applying for jobs you’ll turn down or quit after two days because of distance. This might sound obvious, but many people suddenly realize things are too hard to get to. Take a trip before applying and imagine it 5 days a week.
  10. Find a fit with co-workers. Certain jobs, certain fields of work, attract people of similar beliefs, interests and personalities. Know what makes you tick, the things you like and don’t like in how you interact with co-workers. These are much more important than you might now believe.

Not a complete list for sure, but factors to think about. Comments?

 

Teamwork As A Valued Trait


Looking at job postings these days, teamwork is one qualification that shows up fairly consistently; the ability to work cooperatively and productively with others. It’s a highly valued commodity; an essential quality that employer’s want more and more in the people they bring in from the outside to join their existing workforces.

It’s more though than simply getting along with others. When you work as a member of a team, you’ve got to understand and act differently than you would if you were working independently. A member of a team comes to rely on others and at the same time be relied upon by them to complete assigned work. Good teams trust each person to show up when scheduled, pull their own weight and go about their work in such a way that fits the other employees. When you’re the new hire, you’re being assessed by the employer and your new co-workers to see how you’ll fit in with the existing workforce; everyone is hoping you’ll contribute in such a way that doesn’t disrupt the way things are. This is true unless of course you’re part of an overhaul of how things have been done and the company wants to shift the culture from the way things have been to something different.

Long ago, many job applicants had similar skills and backgrounds. When an employer advertised an opening, they found that the people applying shared common work histories; people didn’t tend to move around much, and people were interchangeable without much need for teams to adapt to new people. These days, things have changed. Because it’s easier to move around the globe, often employees are showing up not just from different parts of the community, they’re coming from different countries altogether; sometimes from different continents, speaking different languages and having different ways of doing similar work. People aren’t as interchangeable as they once were, and now need much more orientation to local methods, specific procedures and company practices.

You find too that friction is inevitable for some when bringing in new people. Whereas in the past the new hire had to assimilate themselves into the culture of the teams they joined, now you find that many existing workers have to gain an awareness and sensitivity to the needs of the person hired as well. This is a good thing, but it requires effort on the part of the existing team in a way that long ago wasn’t such a priority. Employers too have learned to be culturally sensitive to the needs of their individual workforce members. They go out of their way now to train people on how to work better together – and by better, they ultimately mean be more productive.

Many workers are now cross-trained; they learn not just how to do the job they were initially hired for, but they also learn how to do the job of others. When a person is cross-trained, they become more adaptable, can work in two or three different roles if need be, they become more valuable to the employer. For the person, they are increasing their own skills and doing everything they can to stay hired.

Communication skills are essential when working together. It’s more than just being able to talk and write clearly though. It’s all the non-verbal interaction that’s going on too. Even when working side-by-side with someone, it’s anticipating what they’ll do next, knowing when they’ll need to interact with you and knowing when you’ll be interacting with the next person on your team. Doing your work and being counted on by your teammates to be reliable and dependable goes a long way to fitting in.

The thing about a team environment is that each member should understand and buy in to the same end goals. These can be quotas and targets to hit on a daily basis for example, or they can be how a product is delivered to the customers or end-users. Many teams take a lot of pride in what they do, and if someone – a new hire in this case, threatens that mood or feeling, it will need to be addressed.

Sometimes an organization will actually hire more employees than they plan on keeping. What they are doing in fact is having an internal competition to see who among the new employees will fit with the existing chemistry the best. Or said another way, they are determining who is the most disruptive, performing more independently than gelling with others, and who then to let go.

In a job interview, it’s not enough to say you’re a team player. Too many other people are making the same claims. What is absolutely critical is to give clear examples from your past or current work experiences where you’ve thrived working cooperatively with others and been highly productive. When you show or prove you’ve worked effectively as a valued team member, you make it easier for the interviewers to envision you performing similarly for them. This is where many applicants fail miserably; they make statements with nothing to back up their claims.

Teamwork is about recognizing the strengths of each person and putting everyone in a position to contribute towards the common end goal. If you don’t know what your teams purpose is, this is something you should immediately ask. And while you don’t need to be best friends with your team, show some interest in them.

Success? Here’s What It Is


Success to me is being able to seize opportunities now because your past decisions placed you in a position to take advantage of them. Future success is having the decisions you make in your present put you in position to take advantage of opportunities in your future.

Let’s be honest here, we can’t know with absolute certainty, exactly what our futures hold. Furthermore, the further we gaze into the future, the odds continue to get lower and lower that what we imagine, guess, hypothesize, or yes – even plan for – will actually turn into our reality.

So if this is true, some people would take this to mean why plan anything? Indeed, why plan at all if what we do in the future can’t be predicted with absolute certainty? I found myself cooking hamburgers last evening instead of chicken breasts, rice and vegetables. Why? Because just as it was time to start preparing the evening meal, my wife had a change in what she wanted and having both options available, she surprised me and opted for burgers. What I’d planned at 11:30a.m when out shopping wasn’t what I started preparing at 6:00p.m.

Now yes, it is only dinner. But what about the big stuff? You know, choosing courses in high school that lead to College or University? What about planning on graduating and getting a job instead of post secondary education? These choices to be made and more importantly, decisions to be made, have consequences years down the road. I wish I had a dollar for every time someone said, “I wish I’d stayed in school”, or, “I wish I had my degree.” Then again, less often but now and then, I also hear, “I wish I’d just got a job after my degree instead of getting my Masters.” Additional schooling isn’t always the right choice.

Yes, we can’t know with any certainty that Life (with a capital, ‘L’) will turn out exactly like we envision it will when we look ahead. That being said, I don’t advocate just throwing up your arms in submission and winging it until you die. We’ll all have regrets in the end; choices we made that we wish in retrospect we could go back and alter. Some of our regrets will be larger than others, and I suppose the best we can hope for is that our regrets tend to be minor and not major ones.

As good as the burgers were, I’d rather have had the chicken. However, as I bought both when out shopping, I still get the chicken tonight; a day later than I had planned, but I can only do so because I had the foresight to buy both. A minor delay in getting what I want most. However, we can’t always have it so. No, some of the choices we make send us down roads that never seem to have a U-turn; and there’s no going back. That person you should have told how you felt but never had the guts to do so moved away, married someone else, and you just wonder ever so often, ‘what if…?’

Education is a great example of this whole concept of putting yourself in a position to succeed further ahead in life. While you’re only in your early teens now perhaps, school officials are on you to choose your courses – the university or college stream. The choices you make either keep both doors open or close the university option. Sure you can always go back and upgrade courses later in life as a mature adult, it just means you take a longer route to get to University.

Keeping doors open sounds like a reasonably smart thing to do though, especially when you can be influenced by so many things between now and when high school is done. By the time you’ve finished with school and you’re in your late 20’s, you’ll either be happy or disappointed with the choices you’re being asked to make now in your early teens re. those course selections. The jobs you are considering in your 20’s require some level of education. If you opted for the degree, you have more options than the college diploma; the college diploma more options than the high school diploma and the high school diploma more options than dropping out without finishing high school.

Now some make a wonderful life without having finished high school. The jobs they hold and enjoy doing don’t require post secondary education, so let’s acknowledge them. However, many more people are happy they stayed in school, graduated and went on to get a degree or diploma, and a lot of people wish they had. Even the ones who lie on their resumes and say they have their high school when they don’t are demonstrating they know it is an advantage to have it.

Whether we’re talking education, volunteering, working or relationships etc., the principle is exactly the same; the decisions we’ve made in our past either allow us to take advantage of opportunities in the present or they don’t. The thing is, our past decisions can’t be altered.

What we can do is think about the decisions we make today and moving forward. It’s these decisions that will put ourselves in position to seize opportunities in the future; some of which we can’t possibly even imagine now. The good decisions keep the doors open.