It is no secret that one of the hardest hit groups in the economic decline of the United States is unemployed seniors. I heard an interview with a a 55-year-old woman who asked, “What are we supposed to do? Move in with our 90-year old parents?”
One of the challenges facing my age group is that the tricks we learned to survive are no longer in demand and we can’t seem to learn some new ones. My “trick” – that which I was good enough at to warrant being hired and paid pretty decent money was grant writing. My specialty was large federal grants, mostly for government agencies. I liked doing this because it involved a lot of creativity, bringing people together, identifying community needs and resources, and coming up with a plan and a budget. And in a few years you could see all the good the money had done.
While government agencies are still offering grants (mostly in the areas of veterans and health care), the local government agencies don’t seem to be willing to pay someone (at least me) to write grant applications for them. Maybe it’s because they are facing their own budget woes and can’t spare the funds to hire someone on the chance that they might bring in a grant.
Also, there are plenty of laid off workers from many of these agencies who are competing for these grant writing gigs.
So, time to learn a new trick, retrain, and start over at ripe old age of 62. My idea is to establish a publishing company to publish and/or advice people who are interested in publishing their novels, memoirs, business or personal advice.
The NY Times said that six out of the top 10 books bestselling books on Amazon were self-published. There is money to be made if you find your audience.
To this end, I’ve been immersing myself in Photoshop, Indesign, and Dreamweaver. I’m learning how to layout books and magazine articles, design book covers, make videos, and build web sites.
What had turned out to be the most difficult so far, even more so that making videos and writing the backing music tracks, is web design. Back a few years ago, there were programs I used (GoLive) that made it fairly simple to build a web site. I think that with so many different size screens you need to have text and images that flow. Perhaps the software designers couldn’t put all those tools into a simple program and the later versions of HTML require more skills to build a decent web site.
Again, I have to give all praise to YouTube. I’ve been able to find a very easy to follow, step-by-step description of how to build a website from “start-to-finish.” You have to know how to design in Photoshop (easy); then chop it up and tell your design what to do and how to do it in CSS (hard so far).
I designed and built my first crude site using Dreamweaver. But it is so messed up, I’ve decided that tomorrow, I’m going to start over.
It all reminds me of learning Algebra and French. Those first months in class were like wtf, but if you stayed with it, slowly it all started to make sense. At least I hope that’s what happens with me and Dreamweaver.