In a time of faster economic growth, the adage used to be: Those who die with the most toys win.
Now, in a time of economic struggle, the emerging measure of a man or a woman is how long they were able to keep working.
The heroes of American society are Warren Buffett and Rupert Murdoch. They are in their 80s. They still are in firm control of the businesses they founded and lead.
Also, as law-firm partners get pushed out, those who are able to hold onto their positions are the ones we analyze. How are they doing that? What can we do likewise?
There are many hoops to jump through to stay working.
One is, of course, the continually mutating economy, driven by globalization and technology. Any college kid or law student who ignores this factor in choosing what to study and where to intern may be doomed to the sustained inability to become and remain employed.
Another is age. A 59-year-old colleague had been laid off from a financial institution. His challenge is how to put himself out there for a job, contract assignments, or self-employment. If he succeeds, he will join the heroes of our time. Everyone will be asking his advice.
The third hoop to jump through is aligning one's resume with the skills required. To do this, yesterday I accepted a low-paying assignment in social media. My objective is to learn the emerging tactics.
Overall, like so many of my generation, I have decided never to retire. That state of being seems to render you in society as invisible. After all, America is the global headquarters for capitalism. If you aren't creating wealth, you are often perceived as less-than.