We all want to be happy, successful and wealthy.  Although we pursue them relentlessly, they often seem to evade us.  Is it because we do not know how to reach them?  Well, yes and no.  We know a lot.  It is not as if there is not enough material on these subjects.  In fact, whether you go on-line or walk into a bookstore, you will be overwhelmed by all the available advice and opinions.  So why do they so often elude us?

You don’t have to look very far to find some of the many, many quotes on happiness that exist.

But do you ever wonder how these quotes hold up when you consider the evidence? There’s nothing wrong with getting a quick mood boost from a quote—no matter how “accurate” it is—but if you’re like this author you always have the urge to dig a little deeper and see whether these statements hold water.

Choosing your career is one of the most important decisions you will make, yet you often hear people say that they are stuck in a career that an eighteen-year-old chose for them.  They are, of course, referring to themselves, when they were eighteen. 

They may say that, because of how different the careers they chose for themselves turned out to be from what they initially thought they would, but most likely they are expressing that they would have made a different choice, if they knew themselves then, the way they do now.

 At least six out of every ten first time employment seekers will not get employed.  And waiting for the situation to change, or hoping for you to be the lucky one, or jobs to be created is not the answer.  You will have to create your own opportunity.

Early last year the youth unemployment rate was 59% (1), the highest rate in over 16 years (2).  That means almost six out of every ten people between the ages of 18-34 were unemployed.  BusinessTech reported "Matric class of 2019 will struggle to find jobs" (2).  They reported that the "majority (81%) of employers said that they do not see any growth in employment over the period, while 8% said they are contemplating a decrease in employment."

And this was before the State of Emergency due to COVID-19 and the negative economic effect of the 2020 lockdown.  Since then, an additional 2,2 million jobs were lost only in the second quarter of 2020 alone (3).  Statistics SA also reported in September last year, that the unemployment rate dropped, but this has to do with the way unemployment is calculated.  If you are not actively seeking employment, you are considered a "discouraged work seeker", not unemployed.  So the drop in the unemployment rate was not due to more people being employed, but rather reflected the large amount that did not even bother to look for work, given the poor economic outlook and the low employment rate at the time.   By the end of 2020, existing debt, lack of cash reserves, outdated financials, no access to relief funding, and an inability to operate during the lockdown, forced the closure of 42.7% of small businesses (4).  Of the remaining businesses, only 32%, however, believe that they will be able to create new jobs – a significant alarm bell during an unprecedented unemployment crisis (4).

I am not sharing this economic outlook with you to discourage you.  I am doing it to encourage you to act, because you cannot afford to wait for the economy and the job market to improve.

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