Recession watch: The best time for career planning

My PhD reads psychology, not economics, so I won't bet the house on the Bush stimulus package's chances of preventing or softening a recession.

But I have counseled and coached many who were outright terminated, downsized out, or who feared a pink slip in their next pay envelope. The conversations typically move from money to the things that more fundamentally bring us fulfillment -- or that should. The menu usually includes priority setting and value re-ordering, with a healthy side of blessing counting.

Fear of job loss or not, times like these are ripe for thinking ahead to how we'll feel, and what we'll do when we retire, and the regular paycheck stops. (Yes, there are Social Security checks, pension benefits and annuity streams. But trust me, none of these feel as "earned" as a paycheck.)