I remember the day I “received” my first college degree.

The atmosphere was really cool on that May of 2008 evening.

Mind you, I had already graduated with my Associates Degree in December of 2007.

The community college system I had graduated from, holds one ceremony for all people who had graduated the previous fall, and those about to graduate in the spring and summer time.

For four years, I was working towards obtaining the first degree which led to me receiving my Bachelor’s Degree in 2009.

I had started college late at an age where most were already receiving their degrees.

I was so focused on getting the degree as quick as I could that I prolonged the process.

I had watched many people make money at their dream job thanks to the degree that they held.

It was standard for anyone who had a degree to obtain a great job with a great salary.

I was so ready to get out of the quote and quote part time job and join the workforce where I thought people were working at a “stable” job.

I was soaking it all in and realizing that I was one step closer to finally joining the workforce and being able to finally achieve financial independence.

As the graduation ceremony went on, the speaker, who was a professor at the community college system, spoke about the different reasons for having a college degree.

One of the reasons he gave was the fact that you had more “options.”

Now when I heard that, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

Sure, I already knew the importance of a college degree.

I spent time looking at all of the statistics of the earning potential of those who held a college degree.

Like this one by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2008 report via the American Radio Works.com website which stated that a person who held an associate degree had a median earning of $42,000 while a person who held a bachelor’s degree had median earnings of $55,700 dollars.

The same report indicated that a person with a Master’s Degree had an earning of $91,000 and a doctorate degree holder would have a median earning of $100,000.

With those numbers, I had felt that I had finally achieved the goal of earning a college degree.

And according to the professor who spoke about having more “options” because of the degree, I thought that I was very close to breaking out of the “unstable” part-time jobs.

Many did not foresee what was about to happen later in 2008.

Everyone was living the life because of the U.S. economy being stable.

The ones who were working in the stable jobs had the degrees and also seemingly had more options.

That statement of having more options with a college degree would not remain true thanks to the sudden “Great Recession” that took everyone by surprise.

The housing bubble burst.

Lehman Brothers went under.

Fannie Mae also went under.

Stocks dropped to a point that it caused panic on Wall Street.

The ones who were living the high life and were at their respective companies were suddenly out of work.

They did not see the sudden layoff coming.

The so-called “American Dream” of people having the stable job and the white picket fence was over.

Even with the stock market rebounding, companies are still not hiring.

That is leaving many to wonder when the “middle class” was going to return so that everything will return back to normal.

What they don’t realize is that we are in the “New Normal.*”

They don’t understand that the jobs are permanently gone because companies are shipping most of the jobs overseas because it is saving them money.

I can say for certain that I saw this first hand when a newspaper shut down the sports reporter position after the original person left.

They saw it as an efficient way to save the paper more money.

What many should be doing right now is to create their own work and be in control of their destiny.

According to this article by Vivian Giang of Business Insider.com, 40% of the American workforce will be freelancers by 2020.

So if they are at the stable job and are making a living, they should create a side business so when they do get laid off, they will have something to supplement their income.

Nick Loper, who runs Side Hustle Nation.com, certainly has done a lot of side-hustle work over the years.

He has been an editor for authors, interviewed other people who have created side businesses that eventually led to their full time entrepreneurial journey on his Side Hustle Nation podcast, have written 6 books including repurposing his last two books from his podcast, “The Side Hustle Path Parts 1 and 2,” etc.

You must create your own work, whether it is on the side or full time.

The reason is you will have more options when the sudden layoff hits you.

Are you prepared for the New Normal? Have you created a side business? You can leave a comment below.

*Term New Normal was first said I believe by Hank Blank

First appeared in Vallano Media