SOAPBOX SATURDAY - Reinventing Baby Boomers

Bringing Baby Boomers Out of the Old Fogey Closet
A Meme for the Young Minded Over Fifty Crowd

Balancing the Creaking Wheels of the Boomer Workforce

I have reinvented myself many times over the years. Not so much myself personally but certainly professionally. As an artist I have worked in many of the different fields of art over the years including illustration (the path I originally trained for), advertising design and graphic arts, as well as producing original fine art for sale through many avenues.

The art buying world is fickle; advertising is cutting edge - always looking for the newest look and youngest creative types, and illustration and fine art are as subject to trends as the high fashion and interior design worlds. This has kept me on my toes, challenged me and given me years of experience and expertise in a wide range of mediums and skills.

Even so, at age 58, I find myself again reinventing myself as an internet brand as the art market dries up with the economy and the ageism that permeates the work force narrows down my options. I went from being just plain Terri to PopArtDiva, the artist formerly known as Terri, lol!

This may all sound a little like a complaint, but it is not. It is actually a grateful reminder to myself that because I have been self-employed for many decades, because I have been frequently required to bring my skill and mind sets more current and cutting edge, and because I have never enjoyed the "security" of a paycheck, I am not frozen in fear at the prospect of rising unemployment. Because I know there is always some kind of work out there if you just know where to look. Though sometimes you have to really dig down into some unexpected holes!

My friend, Eileen of The Feisty Side of Fifty, in her post "Women Over Fifty—Reinvention All Over Again" speaks to the concept of knowing just what you have to offer, knowing your skills and salable qualities, as essential in today's job market for those of us over 50.

I would like to carry that a bit further. Knowing your skills and salable qualities is not only important to retain an existing job, or procure a new position, it could be the path to creating a new job tailored specifically to your skill sets! The skills and qualities you bring to the table for a salaried position, when coupled with your wisdom, life experience and years of working in the corporate or business world, are also just the things you can use to create a job tailored specifically to you!

Many people who have always worked for someone else find it hard to think outside the box when it comes to getting work. They are married to the idea of creating resumes, making appointments and applying for 9 to 5 jobs. They can't jump to the idea that you could actually look at a company, think what you have to offer it and go in and tell them they need to hire you! Why? Because you can save them time, money, mistakes and/or a myriad of other benefits that only you, with your background and experience, can bring to the table as a consultant, contract worker or independent contractor.

As an example, it occurred to me that in the current economic atmosphere, printers might be getting less contracts for work and this might cause them to cut their in-house graphics departments. They still need graphics done but they no longer have the means to keep an employee on staff. Guess what? This is an ideal time for free-lance graphic designers! I sent out my "particulars" to a few large print houses, explained I could quote a job, they could add 15% for their PROFIT, and I could easily work with their clients via e-mail, video chats and web conferences, no matter where they were physically located!
Guess what, I got jobs. Why? Because not only did I solve a problem (they still needed graphic design), I also gave them a new revenue stream (15% over my quotes) instead of a revenue drain (salaries, employee taxes, bookkeeping costs)!

In times like these it is the creative and aggressive that survive - the business world's "survival of the fittest" way of winnowing out the weak links. It is harsh, but it is the reality in hard economic times. In the fight for survival in the concrete jungle it is the fastest, smartest and most aggressive that will survive.

Just how hungry are you?

P.S. Thanks to my friend, Joyce from Hot Flashbacks, Cool Insights, I can give you the definition of a "meme" which I was too lazy to research and she wasn't! Along with this definition is her post contribution to the wonderful inaugural Saturday Soapbox last week, "Don't Act Like A Dinosaur"!

Don't miss last week's inaugural Saturday Soapbox
Are We Wasting The Resources of Our Elders?
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