I wish someone had told me at age seven that life is a game.

I would have started preparing, learning the rules to ensure that I would win because I hate losing at anything! As a result, I am persistent and willing to put in the long hours to learn what it takes to attain my goals. But I came from a family that values hard work and education. I was told that is what brings success.

I came from a family that drilled the message in my head that if you work hard and get an education you will be successful.

Therefore, I got the education and worked the long hours but still struggled in regards to networking and navigating the corporate environment. The rules of the game get muddy when you realize that people who suck up to the boss, behave unethically, have low work ethics get recognized and promoted.

Are education and hard work no longer valued?

This was the topic of a conversation with my neighbor this morning. He is an IT expert who worked for a Fortune 500 company for 20 years. But one year ago he was laid off. At age 58 he’s struggling to find a job, his house is in foreclosure he’s depressed and his marriage is falling apart. He is broke, insecure, becoming introverted, and suffering from anxiety.

With his wealth of experience and knowledge in the field, you would think he would be considered an asset, but he explained to me that because of his age, he is seen as a liability.  He gave twenty years of my life to this company, now what? He is starting over at fifty-eight years old.

The struggle is real.

Educated and hardworking people who spent the first half of their lives as experts in their field and committed to their employers are spending the second half of their lives transitioning— with no one around to help pick up the pieces.

When they try everything and nothing seems to be working — what are they supposed to do?

Especially those folks who are reaching retirement age and are forced out of the workforce? They want to care for themselves and their families but are unable to meet those simple needs. It is happening right here in my backyard.

I have invested so much money and time into my education — in a few years, I will be a doctor. But will I be a doctor without a job? I am scared shitless to find out. I encourage others to get an education because it’s the one thing that no one can take away from you. But now I realize that the opportunities, even for those highly educated, are not readily available. Yes, everyone should manage their careers, but that preparation cannot overcome the fear of not having a family or job.This game of life is brutal! And it seems that no matter how educated and hardworking you are, you are not immune from joblessness and poverty. you prepare, shit happens that will throw you off track. I count my blessings over and over again, but I feel so helpless when I see and hear the stories of the helplessness of others.

This game of life is brutal! And it seems that no matter how educated and hardworking you are, you are not immune from joblessness and poverty.

Therefore we cannot succumb to the struggle, instead, count our blessings, encourage each other, show kindness to those who need help navigating this game of life.

 

 

 

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