On my way to the coffee shop tonight to do some work on my laptop, I was stopped by a brother who was at least around the corner from 50 years of age. He spoke, then stopped me to tell me that he and his family moved here from Mississippi and his wife and his young son were at the train station and they didnâ€™t have a place to stay. Of course the black cynic tried to nudge me and tell me to walk away. The black cynic also told me â€œthis fool is up to no good and heâ€™s gonna ask you for some money.â€ Nevertheless, something anchored my feet in place; I was interested in hearing more.
He went on to say that he found a place where his family could stay for $20.00 and he just got a temporary job but he would not be paid until Monday. The owner who had the house with the rooms, understandably, was not willing to allow yet another family to stay there based on a sob story and a promise to pay. As a landlord myself, I completely understand where the owner is coming from. People will come to you with the saddest stories to stay in your house, you let them in, then you have to put them out and they will leave your place in shambles. Iâ€™ve had it happen to me.
Before I could say anything he started to tear up, he lost control and this grown man started crying. He was in great pain. At first I was taken aback as the people who were walking by were looking at him oddly. He was able to compose himself and then he went on to tell his story as he continued to tear up. I have always been told that I am intuitive and I had no doubt in my mind that this man was sincere, not just for himself but for others whom he was trying to protect from being homeless. The ghetto cynic looked for all the signs of drug abuse and/or alcoholism and I didnâ€™t see any, which is what probably prompted me to stay and listen. Tonight, I came face to face with a man who was at the end of his rope. Who knows what his story was, how much money he once had or how he ended up here. He wasnâ€™t complaining about gas prices, or the economy or even his job at Radio One or Clear Channel. He was not even complaining about the very slow real estate market. He had one simple request: itâ€™s cold in Atlanta right now and he just simply wanted a place to stay.
Iâ€™m saying all this to say that as we get older we have to face the fact that the need for our services changes. Prospective employers might need your skills but they are not going to want to pay you your worth (a kind hint that they think you are too old). The key is in your ability to prepare and to DIVERSIFY. Throw pride out the window. Take a couple of night classes to work towards that degree and get another skill, do what you love part time and the money will STILL come. The industry is so incredibly uncertainâ€¦ donâ€™t be a damn fool and wait for it to go back to where it once wasâ€¦ create a few opportunities for YOURSELFâ€¦