istock_000001275566xsmall-150x150I wanted to share insights C. Michael Reimringer recently shared with a networking group about how to cope and adapt to tough economic times. As he noted to me privately, many of these same actions were taken by our elders during the Great Depression. In 2008 our economy experienced similiar challenges and as you work your way back to getting on your feet, his comments may spark ways for you to adapt in your own life.

The new reality of jobs in the United States is we must adapt. Education, certificates, and accomplishments matter less as we get older (older than 21!!). Open our minds and explore all options. Reduce expenses wherever we live – when and if we find a job, it’s a bonus! Have fun cheaply!

All things we are already doing, however reluctantly, but now we actively plan and do deliberately now and forever more. Adapt to:

Less income by spending less:

  • Compare and reduce expenses depending on the options we choose,
  • Move to less expensive housing if feasible,
  • Cook and eat at home more,
  • Entertain by sharing a meal with friends and play cards or a board game or watch TV,
  • Exercise and eat healthy to reduce health care expenses,
  • Keep our current clothes, car(s), electronics, etc, working by repairs,
  • Buy used clothes, cars, and electronics rather than new or do with less,
  • Eat out for lunch once a week at a local restaurant rather than dinner,
  • Borrow movies and music from the local library rather than buying new,
  • Drive less to save gas and reduce car repairs by combining errands and shopping closer to home,
  • Explore new ways to reduce expenses and involve your family in the process if they are present.

Jobs reality by job hunting differently:

  • Talk with friends, family, current and former coworkers to find contract, part time, and full time jobs,
  • Job hunting by submitting electronic resumes usually does not work so don’t spend much time on it,
  • Job hunting depends on networking with people you know or meet and ask about jobs they may know of,
  • Jobs may be part time, contract, or full time,
  • Jobs may or may not be in work you want, enjoy, or have previous accomplishments and experience,
  • If you have a particular specialty, explore consulting or contracting in a different city or a different state,
  • Take advantage of RochesterWorks! and public libraries by using their resources,
  • Join one or two jobs networking groups, meet people, explore possibilities,
  • Move to a different city IF you receive a job offer, evaluate all options, and your family agrees it is viable,
  • Explore new possibilities (franchise?) and involve your family in the process if they are present.

Recognize and appreciate our own value and everyone around us regardless of money or job (if any):

  • Find joy in going out with family or friends to a park, picnic, or reduced price entertainment,
  • Find joy in belonging to a faith community or any other type of community and being active in the group,
  • Find joy by going for a walk every day even if our health only permits a 5 minute walk,
  • Find joy by talking with our health care provider and increasing our daily exercise gradually to 45 minutes,
  • Find joy by spending time with friends, family, and people we know,
  • Find joy by doing volunteer work with children in city schools to improve their reading and math skills,
  • Find joy by joining a choral group and singing at nursing homes and other locations,
  • Explore other things you have never tried and involve your family in the process if they are present.

As you face tough economic times, are there any tips that have worked for you?