Learn, Earn, Return 2.0

The Formula for A Life Well Lived Still Has the Same Elements, But the Order May Change


137890138_LERIt used to be that you learned what you needed for your career, entered the work force and earned a living that included a pension for retirement and then did what you could to return the favors that fate had bestowed on you, be it volunteering time or making financial contributions. In the current economic environment, for most of us that linear life path of “learn, earn, return” has encountered a few curves in the road. That is not to say it’s not the right direction to follow, it is. But in the 21st century, the order may change and some of the steps may repeat.

For example, in order to complete the “learn” step, you may have to take a break to “earn.”  Once you are out in the working world, if the field for which you trained is losing traction in the overall employment landscape, in order to retool for another career course, you may have to repeat the “learn” step right in the middle of the “earn” part of the journey.

As for “return,” that is becoming a step that people take throughout their lives. Some postpone “earn” after “learn” to “return” in exchange for a reduction of their student debt. And others who had thought they had left their “earn” years for a life devoted to “return,” have re-entered the workforce in a number of ways for any number of reasons, including economic and psychic.

The new course isn’t worse or better: just different, another example of the shifting paradigm.

Take Away:

These days the learn-earn-return life path may involve some repeated steps.


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