Social capital is valuable. Now, while you’re still employed, rebuild and cultivate your personal network. Reconnect with your extended family and distant friends. Become more active in your church or a service organization or charity. And get involved in your community, whether that means attending PTA meetings or tending a community garden. It’s the social capital you build up in your personal life that will yield the best job opportunities in the future.
In this economy, things may be tough. But there is a silver lining. The age of the career was an illusion, and in our pursuit, we gave the rest of our lives short shrift. We spent more time on the job than we did with our family, our friends, or our community. To paraphrase the therapist’s cliché, we saw ourselves as humans working, rather than humans being.
The post-career world may contain real problems, but it can also contain real joys—if we shift our focus on to what really matters.
Stephen M. Pollan is a career and financial adviser in New York and the author of more than a dozen books, including Die Broke and Live Rich. Mark Levine, his collaborator for more than 20 years, lives in Ithaca, N.Y.