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What's Your Plan C?

2011 is almost at an end. Our current economic status is still shaken up and there are ongoing discussions about how many jobs have gone away and how many more will disappear with lower demand or better technology—both of which have made it possible to take away entire departments! While it may not apply to all of us but with more defaults, layoffs and cuts, we have entered the new norm of stagnation in some areas and slow growth in others for the most part. We constantly speak and hear of scaling down. We tell our kids about being more competitive and learning more to jump more barriers. 
A few years ago, while changing professions, I read that a Plan B formula can be best described as the best you make of a worst-case scenario. But what is a plan C? A plan C is a step up in reinvention, improvisation and creativity, all of which are clearly necessary requirements of today’s world. But even more so, plan C is mostly about fulfilling your dreams.
Aligning goals
The goal of Plan C undoubtedly means rethinking priorities, finding stopgap measures, and/or finding ways to create more savings by earning more or conserving more. But finding fulfillment is a key goal—doing what gives you added satisfaction. A few examples that sound familiar would be like the cashier who sells cupcakes on weekends, or a marketing manager who designs websites for clients at night or an attorney who teaches piano after work. These people are not exceptions. They have all found a Plan C for now. Bob Small says, “Today I drive a used pickup truck. I used to drive a nice BMW, and thought I would upgrade to an Audi in 2009.” Mr. Small used to work from his own office with eight employees. He enjoyed weekly golf and fishing trips. Things have changed in the construction industry. Now, he works seven days a week from a home office, works more niche projects, but is thankful that working more and scaling back has kept him going. He says, “We are very careful spenders and don’t take vacations.”
  • Each plan is unique
  • Thinking about Plan C is part of life across the board today. There are some who have placed their ambitions on hold and are just happy to have a job. But layoffs are so commonplace that if you don’t have a Plan C, you are the minority. Don’t wait, get started!
  • Identify Your Existing Options: Identify what would happen if your paycheck gets downsized or goes away and you have a hoard of bills to pay. 
  • Identify Your Hobbies: List all the saleable skills you have and write them down; then evaluate how and what they can produce for you. Do you see yourself pursuing a hobby in a professional manner? Think of the investment banker who left his full time career to become a professional soccer coach.
  • Upgrade Your Skills: Think of courses you can benefit from to upgrade your skills in certain areas. Maybe a few extra skills can create a part time or start up venture.
  • Be Conservative: Pay off all existing debt and then live with less so you can invest anything extra into savings further improvement.
  • Be Flexible: A Plan C relies heavily on improvisation. Many people have accepted relocations to lower cost cities or invested their savings into a business that provides a side income such as consulting.
Everyone is unique. There are some who need to hedge themselves and there are others who simply want to do more with their life and make an impact around them. Wherever you stand in the spectrum, one thing is inevitable—that one thing is change. As Jack Welch has said “Change before you have to.”
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