By Jack J. Kelly
Statistics reflect that about 100 percent of people either break or fail to follow through with their New Year’s resolutions by April. The reason that this number is so extraordinarily high is because we not only neglect to accomplish our goals, but actually regress backwards. We promise ourselves that we will lose weight and then our diet lasts for less than one week. After eating salads, cottage cheese, and oatmeal for a few days, you become so ravenous that the rest of January becomes a gorge-fest on pizza, potato chips, and ice cream.
Of course, there are valid reasons why we were unable to fulfill our lofty goals.
I had the flu.
It’s still snowing outside.
I’m not a winter person and have Seasonal Affective Disorder.
If I go to the gym and come home all sweaty, I’ll catch a cold.
I was so busy with my college basketball brackets
I’d go for a run but afraid of being hit by a driverless car
I’m waiting for baseball season to kick-in and then I’ll get my act together
I was really freaked out about Facebook stealing all my stuff
I’m hiding from Russian troll bots.
Once Trump is out of office, then I’ll move on with my life.
I’m hiding in a bunker awaiting a nuclear strike from North Korea.
Those Netflix shows can’t watch themselves, can they?
The great thing about excuses is that they are easy to make and endless in possibilities. Most people lack creativity, except for the ability to come up with excuses not to do anything that requires hard work, effort, and dedication.
Instead of criticizing yourself for not achieving – or trying to achieve your New Year’s resolutions, let’s just say, “F*#k it!” and start over again. It may be April outside, but in your mind it could be January 1st and it’s not too late to restart your New Year’s resolutions. After all, it takes way too much time and energy to stay mad at yourself. Let it go and start fresh without all the baggage.
If you are in a job that you hate, then leave it. Life is too short. Work on finding a new job where you could find happiness and meaning. If you don’t want to quit, but feel that things are not going well at work, politely ask for a conversation with your boss. Ask for positive and constructive feedback on why he or she believes that you are such a moronic loser and how you can establish an action plan to suck a little less at your job each and every day, so eventually you will be almost, slightly adequate in his or her eyes.
We are experiencing a time period of rapid disruption in the workforce brought on by advancements in technology and globalization. Hundreds of billions of dollars are being raised by Silicon Valley venture capitalists to replace humans with technology. Technology will automatically debit your credit card without the need of cashiers or surly security guards waiting for the chance to tackle a shoplifter. Mostly everyone was excited about this concept. Sure, you can say, “Screw these minimum wage-making, gum-chewing, irritable, non-polite, throwing the eggs and bread at the bottom of the bag and smashing the cans on top of them clerks!”
You could also say, “I can’t wait for driverless cars, so I can spend even more time on my phone,” but what about all the millions of truck drivers, cab drivers, and delivery persons? Oh, right, screw them too? Just because they are blue collar guys or non-collegiate, probably immigrants, or down-on-their-luck Uber drivers, who cares about them? The Wall Street traders who earned hundreds of thousands to millions dollars (plus that), were replaced by trading software, algorithms, and artificial intelligence–to hell with those elitist fat-cats! Just wait, first they come for the cashiers, then drivers, then the Wall Street traders, and when they come for you, there will be nobody to help.
My long-winded rant could be summarized to this: add a career game plan that includes the possible destruction of your job.
In addition to the looming technology threat to your livelihood, your job could be outsourced to Poland, Ireland, India, or some other country. It may also be moved to cheaper locations within the United States. Either way, there will be extreme downward pressure placed on your salary. Why would a company pay you $150k in New York City when they can pay $45k in a cheaper U.S. city or $25k abroad? This does not even factor in the money companies save on taxes, insurance, benefits, and real estate.
Start preparing a Plan B in case you are confronted with this type of emergency. If possible, make sure you cultivate skills that either can’t be replicated by technology or could not be moved to a place where less experienced people can do the same work at a fraction of the cost. Perhaps, you should go to school at night to acquire an additional degree, certification, or accreditation.
Most importantly, put money aside for a potential future emergency. I know that you think you deserve two weeks on a tropical island beach, but take the $5k and invest it in a tax-deferred IRA. Use a simple S&P index fund. Do this every year and you will have a nice nest-egg as a cushion against future disruption of employment.
To make your life easier, if you are too lazy to come up with some ideas for 2018, here’s a quick cheat for your April New Year’s resolution:
Update your resume,
Beef-up the LinkedIn profile and engage with people,
Go offline to industry-specific conferences to meet real people in the real world,
Read blogs, like mine, to stay current and knowledgeable,
Purchase a new interview wardrobe,
Go to the gym, take long walks, ride a bicycle (if you are a Williamsburg, Brooklyn hipster and ride a unicycle, don’t, as I will run you off the road with my car) or take-up Yoga,
Be nice to your recruiter as he/she has feelings too (believe it or not, it’s true),
Have a healthy diet,
Read books (real ones without pictures),
Turn off the TV,
Put down the phone,
Pay attention to your family,
Listen to people when they talk,
Pet a dog,
Treat yourself with respect,
Get a good pair of comfortable shoes,
Be the person you aspire to become,
Find a mentor,
Mentor someone who needs help,
Get outside now that the weather is getting better and warmer,
Volunteer at a homeless shelter, and
Generally don’t be a di%k to others.
It’s just a start, feel free to add more. If you fail to do anything this month, don’t worry, I’ll do a follow-up reminder article in May.