There is a lot of insecurity about Social Security. No one need remind you the future of Social Security is in doubt. This is not good news for the 59 million who receive social Security benefits and the other 31 million who will join them by 2035.
How do you respond to the insecurity about Social Security? One option is to lay awake at night trembling at the thought. This passive option takes the position of helplessness. It recognizes you are not able to force Congress to pass a law to shore up Social Security. We ought to be afraid, according to this position, because it is out of our control.
But here’s a different approach: step up and create your own Social Security.
Rather than trembling in fear, it’s time to get proactive. It’s time to take matters into your own hands.
The question which helps you create your own Social Security is this, “What would I do if this government program went belly up at midnight tonight?” The Social Security Act wasn’t signed into law until August 14, 1935. What did your ancestors do prior to this? I guarantee they didn’t lay awake at night praying the government would rescue them.
There’s only one sure way to create your own security as you enter the retirement phase of life: keep on working.
Reading those last three words are as disturbing as Roseanne Barr singing the national anthem at a baseball game. It isn’t the answer you wanted to hear. But it is what you need to hear. Unless you have a large bankroll to tap into in retirement you need to keep working.
But this is not bad news. If you responded with horror to the idea, there is good news for you. I’m not suggesting you keep on working at the job you’ve grown to dislike. This is not about mustering the “umph” to keep on slogging through the same old routine.
Here’s the secret to working with joy until the day you die: find a way to make money using your passion and abilities.
Have you ever heard of someone who proclaimed they felt guilty for taking a paycheck because their work seemed like play? I assure you this is not an urban legend. This describes someone who has found a job which taps into their passion and abilities. This is what you must do.
If you are going to kill your insecurity about Social Security you must find a way to make money using your passions and skills. This job will feel like play. When you discover this dream job it will feel like you should be paying someone to do what you do. Is this really possible?
Three years ago I hit a brick wall in my career. I had been a minister for close to 30 years. My passion, energy, and focus were floundering like a lifeboat taking on water. I resigned. Quit. Said goodbye. I discovered freedom; and yet, I missed speaking. I took that passion and began to explore how I could use it to make money. Out of that experience I became an interim pastor who helps churches through transition. I go around the country speaking to churches and seeing the scenery. It is a dream job.
How can you find the dream job? Make a list of skills which have been honed during your years in the work force. Now make a list of what turns you on. Go through both lists and prioritize. Now match the priority items from the first list with the second. As you connect top skills with hot passion ask yourself, “What job can I do based on my skills and passions?” And if no job exists, create one.
You do not need to live in fear of the possibility of Social Security going away. Focus your attention on creating or finding your dream job. You will make money and feel as though you are playing in the sandbox of life. Every day will be a new adventure.
What does your perfect dream job look like?
(This article was originally submitted to and published in the Huffington Post.)