‘Plan B’ Careers Help Insure Your Future

by Lynn Bulmahn
DIY Landscaping for Less photo

What would happen if you lost your job? Would you land on your feet? Find out how Plan B careers help insure your future in today’s uncertain job market.

Job security is largely a myth in today’s world.

You can toil as hard as you can, and be excellent at what you do. But in today’s global economy, a trade war, sellout, merger, bankruptcy or pandemic can throw you and dozens – or even hundreds – of your colleagues out of their jobs. Or your line of work can become outdated.

In such cases, how do you land on your feet?

Make sure you have a “Plan B.” Figure out how to supplement your income now, so that if necessary, you can expand it into a full time career.

Buddy’s ‘Plan B’ Career

For example, Buddy retired but soon discovered Social Security didn’t replace his preretirement income. He’s always loved to tinker with engines. So he made this into a career. He advertises on craigslist that he will buy “dead” lawnmowers. He also scours for them at garage sales. He buys cheap mowers. Those he can’t fix, he disassembles for parts.

He then again advertises on craigslist and in the “shopper” paper that he sells used, refurbished mowers with a 90-day guarantee. Customers pay about half of what a new one would cost, and Buddy makes a profit.

With his new-found income, Buddy buys a little house in the country. It has a big shed in back. He and his wife love living in the country because it’s nice and quiet, the taxes are low – and there are no city regulations against operating a home-based business.

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BJ’s ‘Plan B’ Career

Then, there’s BJ.

To see BJ in his battered pickup truck piled high with scrap metal and junked metal items, one would never suspect he’s wealthy. These days, BJ mows yards, paints, hauls junk, recycles metal and does odd jobs. He also owns rental houses and has investments.

He once earned six figures as a mainframe computer operator, but that career ended. “Companies don’t use mainframes anymore,” he said. “So I went from one company to the next.” As each one powered down its outdated mainframe, he’d switch jobs. But eventually all the firms modernized their operations.

Not to worry. BJ planned ahead. He wisely invested his large salary. Then, he started buying houses and rented them out. This not only helps him and his wife, but also could someday help his grown daughters.

BJ thinks all his sons-in-law are great husbands and fathers. “But I’ve lived long enough to know people can change,” he explained.

Should any of his daughters’ marriages end due to death or divorce, BJ already has a place for her and his grandchildren to live. “I have one rental house for each daughter – all are in good neighborhoods and good school districts,” he said. “I made sure my girls won’t ever have to struggle being single mothers because I can let them live in one of my houses for free. When I die, I’m leaving one house to each of my grown kids in my will. They can live there, rent it out or sell it, but they all will be provided for.”

Meanwhile, his “Plan B” – a combination of rent income, investments and odd jobs – provides a good living. “My daddy taught me to work,” BJ says proudly. “He came up in a world where there were few opportunities for us black folk. So we learned to make opportunities for ourselves.”

Mrs. Scott’s ‘Plan B’ Career

Like any teacher, “Mrs. Scott” had a stressful job. She relaxed by painting furniture. Even the ugliest, most battered items could be transformed with chalk paint and new hardware to look like they were “shabby chic” antiques from great-grandmother’s farm house. Mrs. Scott had a real talent for this hobby. After a while, she had enough furniture to stock a “booth” in an antique mall – a nice second income.

So when it became too dangerous to continue working at her inner-city school, Mrs. Scott simply resigned. She began painting furniture full time. Within months, her “Plan B” hobby-job was bringing in close to her teacher’s salary. Her stress went away, and her health improved.

In all of these cases, the people didn’t wait to find a job – they made a Plan B career for themselves. They fell back on “Plan B” when things got rough.

What “outside the job” opportunities can you think of to help secure your future?

Reviewed November 2021

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