Who Else Wants to Be Like Otto von Bismarck?: The Origins of “Plan B”
Many Americans have never heard of Otto von Bismarck. More people are probably familiar with the World War II battleship Germany named after him. In Germany, he is regarded as a national hero.
In fact, Otto von Bismarck was one of the most famous politicians in history and a critical historical figure in the formation of Germany and Europe, as we know it today.
In the mid-1800’s, Germany didn’t exist. Instead, what is now Germany was a hodgepodge of states surrounded by (then) powerhouses Russia, France, England & Austria. Bismarck is credited with the unification of Germany into a country of equal power with its neighbors.
Bismarck was a brilliant negotiator who carefully planned all his strategies well in advance. Through clever diplomacy and tactics, he methodically convinced each of the small German states that it would be in their best interest to unite to “balance the power” of Europe.
Most importantly, he always crafted detailed contingency plans in case his original approach was unsuccessful. Bismarck had to appease dozens of rival parties, usually with conflicting interests. His contingency plans resulted in achieving his ultimate goals for that specific situation.
He became so famous for his clever contingencies that the concept of backup plans became known as “The Bismarck Plan”, and ultimately “Plan B”.
So why should you care about all of this?
It would be wise for you to manage your career like Bismarck handled his negotiations.
Let me explain…
If you are like many people, you have a full time job. You rely completely on your full time job for income, health care benefits, and retirement plans. Most people do not want to face the possibility of losing their job.
The reality is people are losing their jobs at an alarming rate. And this isn’t a new problem. This has always been a problem. Companies are not loyal to their employees. If you expect loyalty, you could be bitterly disappointed.
In my family alone:
- My great grandfather was fired after 29 years, 11 months, and three weeks of employment so his company wouldn’t have to pay him a pension he would have received after 30 years
- My grandfather’s own brother-in-law squeezed him out of their partnership in a local business he owned for over 15 years
- My mom missed out on lifetime healthcare benefits because she was let go weeks before the twenty year milestone
- My wife was dismissed from her company after 19 years because she exposed her boss committing fraud
- I have been laid off twice because of mergers and acquisitions
These events did not just occur during a “bad economy”. These events can occur at any time. And when the economy is bad, like it is now, there is a greater likelihood they will occur.
I’m not telling you this to get your sympathy. You can probably recite dozens of similar cases of friends and family that you know who have experienced the same fates.
I’m telling you this because you need to always have a Plan B.
No matter how rosy your situation is right now, you always need a Plan B.
You need to stop right now and think about that.
You have insurance for your life.
You have insurance for your car.
You have insurance for your home or the stuff you own in your apartment (I hope).
Do you have insurance for your career? What if something should happen to your job?
It’s not something you can ignore.
Face it head on and deal with it.
There is an old axiom: “The best time to create a Plan B is when you don’t need a Plan B.” I can’t agree more!
If you have a job now, the best time to start a part time job, home business, or create additional streams of income is now. Do not wait until it is too late. Do not be lulled into complacency.
When you buy life insurance, its much cheaper to buy when you are younger and have a low probability of actually needing it. If you wait until you are a senior citizen, the cost of life insurance skyrockets. If you want until you have an incurable disease, you won’t be able to afford insurance.
Take action now!
Start thinking about implementing a Plan B now for career insurance. It’s a lot cheaper and less stressful than waiting until you really need it.
The reality is, you can’t afford NOT to have career insurance. So don’t wait. Do it now.
Your family will thank you for having “career insurance”. You’ll be able to rest easy at night. And Otto would be proud of you!
- Murray Beleulie