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By Greta Schraer

Each person reading this is in one of two places – either things are going well or they are not. And, not to be a “Debbie Downer”, but if things are going well now, guess what is in your future at some point? My grandma always told me to have a “rainy day fund”. As a kid, I thought she meant to have enough money on hand to see a movie if it rained. What I now understand is that she was prompting me to prepare now for the hard times because they will come.

So, more bad news, your job is going to end. Maybe not today or even this year, but change is inevitable. Whether it is your choice or not, at some point you will find yourself in that transition. Now, the good news. It is pretty simple to prepare for the future and advocate for your career long-term. By choosing well today, you will make it so much easier on yourself tomorrow.

5 Simple Ways To Prepare For The Future

1. Be Your Own CFO (Chief Financial Officer)
Every dollar you earn should have a purpose – to save, to spend, or to give. Dave Ramsey says that “personal finance is 80% behavior and only 20% knowledge”. Before your money comes in, there should be a plan on where it will go. Writing out a zero-based budget will allow you to allocate what percentage goes to a retirement account, a savings account, to housing, insurance, food, etc. Automate savings so you don’t find yourself with the choice to emotionally spend instead of responsibly save; pay yourself first. Be careful of spending money that you do not have – leaning into loans or credit cards. Make the choice to direct your money to work for you before you even earn it.

2. Have An Emergency Fund
By saving 3 to 6 months expenses, you are preparing for that rainy day. Have a separate account that you don’t touch and almost forget about and automate a transfer each time you get paid. When a job ends or life transitions, you won’t have to react in fear of when you will have another paycheck. You won’t have to say “yes” to a job that isn’t right but instead uses the time to grieve your loss and interview slow. Finding a new job is stressful enough, relieve that pressure by slowing that process.

3. Be Consistent With Professional Development

Keep your skills sharp. Be in a rhythm of learning new things and document as you go. Dig deeper into your professional passions. As you grow in years of experience also grow in years of education. Develop your niche’ and become an expert in at least one area; this will make you even more marketable. The best time to build to your resume is while you are in a job you love. Every person has more to learn; never stop challenging yourself.

4. Keep Relationships Current
In your professional relationships, treat others with respect (the way that you would want to be treated), even when they do not respond the same way to you. Always end a job in the most professional manner. Your network and community are also your references; they may be your most valuable resource when seeking a future position. Stay in connection with families and ask for letters of reference. Ask for a performance review at each year end, then date and save them in case your relationship ever changes. Document each position’s start and end date so that your resume is completely accurate. Keep in touch with the agency who took great care of you.

5. Be Accountable
Invite others into your plans and goals for the future. Ask if items are missing from your budget, if your resume reads well, and if they have ideas on where you can grow. We often have blind spots in our own life and work, so enlisting mentors who are a little farther along may save a lot of hardship.

 

Greta Schraer has been in the childcare industry for over 20 years as a youth minister, professional nanny, community builder, and agency owner.  Greta’s entrepreneurial drive and high standards for care have led her to be a national leader and advocate in the professional nanny world. In May of 2010, Greta was the recipient of the International Nanny Association Nanny of the Year award. She has served four years on the INA Board of Directors, currently on the executive board as the 1st Vice President. Her positive spirit, natural leadership, and simple admiration for children have left her a treasured coach to families and mentor to nannies. She seeks for CincyNanny to continue to set a standard for the nanny industry in Cincinnati and beyond. Greta is married to the love of her life, Doug, and they have 2 sweet boys. Greta is a life-long learner, adores travel, theology, accomplishing organization and creative projects, teaching swing dance, and most of all the simple moments of being wife and momma.

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