Get What You Can, While You Can!

Courtesy of StockVault

Courtesy of StockVault

Yesterday, I attended the funeral of Ms. Amanda Lloyd — my husband’s grandmother. As funerals would go, it began and ended with a mostly somber and reflective undertone. Even though she reached 90 years of age, and had suffered from several medical issues in most recent years, it was still difficult to see her be laid to rest and to say “farewell,” particularly among immediate family members.

We had to travel about three hours to attend the funeral. As the day ended, my husband and I, along with our one-year-old daughter, packed up the car and prepared to head back home. As we were doing so, relatives stood outside to grab another hug and kiss from our daughter, and to see us off.

As we drove away, my husband stuck his head and arm out the window and bellowed,  “In the words of Amanda Lloyd: “Get what you can, while you can!” Everyone outside laughed (and I told him how corny he was!).

But then, as a I reflected on Grandma Amanda’s favorite phrase, I thought about how meaningful that expression is in today’s society. Some would take that phrase and translate it as badge of selfishness or selfish ambition, others would see it as a lesson in working hard and seizing opportunities when they arise. I view it as the latter.

It reminds me of something my dad would often say as well. He’d tell me to “work hard while you’re young.” And as I grow older each year, I am totally seeing the importance in that statement as well.

When youth and vigor are still on your side, you’re able to take on more responsibility, void of the possible physical and mental strain that could occur if you’re up in age. Not only that, when you’re younger you tend to hold on to your dreams a little tighter because the weight of the world and increasing responsibilities haven’t gotten the best of you.

Well, one thing’s for sure. Whether you’re old or young, or in-between, opportunities still abound and are ripe for the taking. Although the seemingly dead-end job market makes for a bleak outlook in terms of opportunity, it is those opportunities that have not yet been created that are waiting to be seized.

In a recent webinar that I attended, I discovered that a number of engineering jobs that exist today didn’t even exist a few years ago. Thanks to a global economy and innovative technological advances, new jobs and careers are being created left and right.

Think about it: who would’ve thought that social networking tools such as Facebook, Linked In, Twitter and MySpace would have the staying and marketing power that they command today? But a few geniuses (actually, probably just some average Joe’s) created a platform based on their own interests and expertise. Little did they realize they’d start a movement.

And so the question for you is, what are you waiting for? What can you “get” now that you won’t be able to “get” when you’ve moved on to the “after-life”? What are you life-long dreams — that thing you feel you are meant to be and do in this life? What’s hindering you from pursuing your goals at this moment in your life?

As I’ve mentioned in several posts before today’s, tomorrow is not promised. It shouldn’t take a family member’s passing to get you thinking about how you can make the most of your life. Choose today to harness the power of your talents, your personal drive and your life-work experience. And if you don’t have any of those . . . go get ‘em.

Keep the Discussion Going

Take a few moments, perhaps about 15 minutes, to reflect on where you currently are in your life. Are you completely satisfied with where you are? There’s nothing wrong with maintaining a little dissatisfaction in your life, so long as you’re constantly working to improve who and where you are. But if the disdain is so overwhelming that you feel like you just can’t take it anymore, then it’s time to reassess and possibly make some life-altering decisions.

Career growth is a process. Don’t let Hollywood fool you, success does NOT happen overnight. Life’s a marathon, not a sprint. Therefore, enjoy every step of the way. And, again, “get what you can, while you can!”

This post is in memory of Amanda Lloyd

Sunrise: June 20, 1919
Sunset: October 22, 2009

About the Author

Emily Brown is the key contributor and creator of, a blog that delivers articles and posts about job industry trends; plus motivational, retrospective stories about career exploration and discovering one’s passion. A former business journalist at Bloomberg News, her work has also appeared in  The Wall Street Journal,  The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and others. Emily lives and works in Washington, DC. She can easily be reached at Feel free to drop her a line to say “hello,” seek advice, suggest an opportunity or story idea, or provide news of your own.



  • Shala

    Thanks for the post. I’ve taken that mentality of getting what I can while I can (i.e., do grad school before the kids come) but in an effort to do all that I can while I can, I sometimes find myself burnt out and wanting to flat quit or just put things on an indefinite pause so I can pick my brain back up! I need balance. I need to figure out what can I really get without losing other valuable things that I already have, aka, peace of mind, time with my husband, etc.

    • Emily Brown

      Thanks for writing Shala! I totally agree that it can be extremely stressful, and a heavy burden to bear when considering taking on more than what we think we can’t handle. To that point, I’ve also learned that it’s a matter of time management, and mind over will in a lot of ways, when tackling several goals at once.
      But you also raise the point that in everything we must strive to strike a balance between what’s important in our careers with what’s important to our lives (and our sanity and overall well-being). At the end of the day, only we in and of ourselves can make the necessary decisions to strike that balance. Hang in there! And thanks again!