Build a Portfolio Career

Building a Portfolio Career

Friday, December 24, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

This is the time of year when most of us make our New Year Resolutions. Will you be making a resolution? Maybe you want to lose weight or get fitter? Perhaps you're going to take up exercising at least 3 times a week? Some people in midlife (and elsewhere) will have serious decisions to make - for example:

  • Where will I find my new job? 
  • I must be honest with everyone and move on from my relationship
  • I'm going to 'come out' this year and tell that world that I'm proud to be gay
  • This is the year that I'm going to really sort my finances
Whatever resolutions you make, will you be able to stick to them? This is the key to success, whether it's getter fitter, losing weight or ending your unhappy relationship.

All take dedication, hard work, guts in many cases and a determination to succeed.

We can all do it, but do we all have the guts and willpower to see it through?

That, folks, is the difference between those who do, and those who want to do. We all know this too, don't we. So why aren't we all successful?

What is your New Year's Resolution?
Rob Horlock has established The Mid Life Opportunity (, a community for people in Midlife. Advice and Guidance is available from The Mid Life Coaching Panel. It’s free to join - click here

Friday, December 10, 2010

10 Ways to Secure your Midlife Career

Are you worried about losing your job? Many people have this fear and in the coming months, more and more people will be asking themselves the same question. If you are in this position, what should you do?
Firstly, ask yourself if this is a real fear or an unjustified reaction to the current economic climate. Most jobs, in fact, will not disappear and most people will remain in their current employment. You may be worrying unnecessarily. 
If your job security fears are grounded in reality, here are 10 ways that can help you to come out on top:
  • Make yourself indispensable
  • Do a SWOT on yourself – your Strengths and Weaknesses. What are the Threats to you and what are your Opportunities?
  • Take a Personality Test – understand what makes YOU tick
  • Research the market for your talents
  • Network 
  • Upskill
  • Understand your rights
  • Discuss the situation with your partner
  • Review your finances
  • Think what you really want to do with the rest of your life
Being made redundant in midlife is not the end of the world. It really can be the kick that you have needed to make the move and do what you really want to do with the rest of your life. You will never have a better opportunity to take the leap and give it a try. You don’t want to be going to your grave regretting that you wasted the best opportunity that you had!

Rob Horlock has established The Mid Life Opportunity (, a community for people in Midlife. Advice and Guidance is available from The Mid Life Coaching Panel. It’s free to join - click here

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Understand your Personality

It is self evident that we all have different personalities and if you are in midlife and looking for a new job or promotion, you need to be acutely aware of and understand your own characteristics. There are a number of online personality tests and techniques available to identify your own strengths and weaknesses.  Two of the most popular are Belbin and DISC.
Belbin will help you to identify your team roles – how you work within a team and the character traits that you display.  Are you a Leader or a Shaper, an Implementer or a Specialist? There are several other categorisations within the Belbin analysis. You can complete the online form yourself and receive a 5 page analysis of your character type. You can also ask friends and work colleagues to complete a different version of the form and this will give you a 360 degree view – how you see yourself and how others view you.
There is a small cost to use the Belbin analysis and details can be found here
DISC will help you to identify your own personality type.  The DISC profiling produces 3 graphs that highlight the following key information:
  • How you appear to other people
  • How you cope under pressure
  • How you see yourself
  • How does it work?
The profile is in the form of an online questionnaire that takes around 10 minutes to complete. The answers are then analysed and your personality profile is constructed and the output is turned into a 7-8 page report. 
If you complete these questionnaires and read the resultant analyses you will have a basic idea of your own character type. Some of this will be no surprise to you. Parts of it may lead you to question your own self-image. Regardless of your own characteristics, you must understand where you fit in. Leaders will always lead. If you are not a Leader type, will you ever be the boss? Realistically, if you are not a natural leader you are unlikely to rise right to the top. However, you can most certainly aspire to a senior role in an organisation, though you will need to work on those areas that require development.
Where are you most comfortable? Truly successful people move out of their comfort zone as a matter of course. They will push and stretch themselves to ensure that their character types are as rounded as they can be.
Your character type may surprise you. Can you change? Maybe, maybe not. The choice is yours and the experience may not be a smooth ride. If you are a Leader type, you may need to develop your ‘softer’ side in order to manage your teams as you progress through the organisation.
If you are not a Leader, you can change your character and become more authoritative, more directive and more persuasive. This will not be easy and certainly in the initial phase, you will feel as if you are not only outside of your comfort zone but that you have lost sight of it! But this is exactly what you must do to move forward. The great explorers who first charted the land masses of the world set sail and disappeared over the horizon at a time when the prevailing wisdom counseled that the Earth was flat and ships that sailed too far would fall off of the edge. These explorers were prepared to take the risk to find out the truth. In your own way, if you are determined to reach the top, you will also have to sail over the horizon from time to time to explore uncharted waters. Taking risks and being responsible for the outcome will seem daunting initially but once you have your first successes, moving forward will seem easier.
Certain character types are more suited to particular roles and departments than others. Frequently, departments are defined by this. For example, a typical Finance or IT department will contain fewer Leader types and Resource Investigators. They will contain more Team Workers and Completer Finishers than a typical Sales or Marketing department, where Leader types will compete for dominance.
Individuals who stand out are those that are comfortable and confident in their surroundings but who also have the exceptional extra characteristic. A Leader type will stand out in a Finance environment and a confident Completer Finisher will similarly shine in a Sales department. They will be confident, rounded individuals who can do their jobs and deputise for their boss when required. They have that something extra, which those who are less successful don’t exhibit.
If you haven’t completed a personality test previously, it will be a worthwhile investment for you to understand yourself in a more structured way and see how your are perceived by others.
Rob Horlock has established The Mid Life Opportunity (, a community for people in Midlife. Advice and Guidance is available from The Mid Life Coaching Panel. It’s free to join - click here

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Freedom of Expression

Freedom of expression is one of the basics of a democratic society. Today, more than ever before, the individual is able to express their views and opinions and broadcast their thoughts to a global audience. Social media enables all of us to air our views and ping them off to anyone and everyone who has an interest. So far, so good.

Moving the argument along a little, if we have this new found freedom to broadcast to the world, we also have a responsibility to think about what we are saying and doing. Whilst some extreme views or actions can be discounted, others may have far reaching consequences which we had never imagined.

A campaign on Twitter against an organisation or an individual may make us feel better, but what are the longer term consequences?

We might agree that Wikileaks has the moral right to broadcast secret government documents because the government shouldn’t be acting in such a covert manner. Really? Do the guys at Wilikeaks really understand what they are doing? Clearly they don’t. Being motivated by a need to expose people/governments may seem altruistic and desirable but they have completely overlooked The Law of Unintended Consequences (LUC).
In any society we have to have some order. We have to have people who lead and people who are led. We may not like or respect our leaders and we may wish to demonstrate against them but there has to be a limit to this.

Social media has allowed the individual to cross this line and the dangers are clearly visible. When launching a campaign or exposé we must ask WHY we are doing this. We must also ask ourselves WHAT we expect to happen as a result and we must never forget LUC.

We must take responsibility for our actions and understand the consequences. The alternative is anarchy and throughout history, anarchy has always ended in disaster …

Rob Horlock has established The Mid Life Opportunity (, a community for people in Midlife. Advice and Guidance is available from The Mid Life Coaching Panel. It’s free to join - click here

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Mid Life Guide

Are you interested in contributing to The Mid Life Opportunity and developing an ongoing passive income source for yourself? Yes? No?

Do you have a specific interest, skill or expertise in a particular area that would be of interest to people in midlife? Can you write 5,000 - 10,000 words of rich, insightful copy?

We are developing The Mid Life Guide, with a number of sections which will be contributed by experts in their own areas. These areas include:
  • Living your Second Half
  • Fitness without Pain
  • Healthy Eating
  • Relationships
  • Finding a new Job
  • Starting on Online Business
  • Starting an Affiliate Business
  • Looking towards Retirement
  • Being Positive
  • Overcoming Adversity
  • Your Health in Midlife
  • Money Making Opportunities for Midlifers
  • Others?
Several of the sections of the Guide are already taken and we can't accept competing copy. We are also happy to hear from you if you have something which you think will fit in with The Mid Life Guide but which isn't in the original list of sections. We're open to your suggestions :)

If you would like to contribute, please let us know by commenting below. Together, we can change the world - well, the midlife world ...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Midlife Careers

The number if people without jobs in the UK fell last month. This surprised pretty much everyone in the media and the city. The value of Sterling rose, as a result.

Every day we read and hear doom and gloom in the media – public sector jobs disappearing, the private sector can’t create enough jobs to make up the difference, the West is in decline, etc , etc.
This may all be true – the point is, though, that the media don’t seem to be getting the reality of the new economy. Jobs for life have gone. Generous pensions are a thing of the past. Retiring early is not an option for most of us. But the same ‘most of us’ are still surviving; many of us are doing very well. Virtually all of the doom and gloom mongers in the media are, themselves, doing very well. Plenty of companies are reporting increased profits (though, of course, there are plenty more companies who are struggling).

The negativity in the media is relentless, but totally overblown. How many people do you know who are really struggling to keep their heads above water? They might have cut back through fears of redundancy, they might be earning a bit less than they were but how many are really struggling?

The world of work is changing. More and more people have ‘portfolio careers’ – more than one part time job. Many midlifers, in particular, are following this career path, sometimes by necessity rather than design. Many of these are doing very well for themselves. They have more flexibility and can choose to work for 7 days in the week or take some time off.

These roles may be office based or home based. Increasingly they will involve the internet in some form. The www has provided unimaginable opportunities for people to build their own business and midlifers in particular have an opportunity to start the next phase of their careers building an online business.
This is the future, I have no doubt.

We all need to take more control over our own lives. Midlifers, with their mix of life experiences, wisdom and adaptability are uniquely placed to cash in on their past and start an interest based business to safeguard their future. To find out more - Mid Life Career
Rob Horlock has established The Mid Life Opportunity (, a community for people in Midlife. Advice and Guidance is available from The Mid Life Coaching Panel. It’s free to join - click here

Friday, November 12, 2010

10 Reasons Why We Underachieve in Midlife

Are you in Midlife – over 35 maybe (perhaps well over 35) with lots left to offer to the world? You’re keen to make your mark and leave something behind for future generations?
Many people in midlife genuinely want to do something great but most don’t manage to do it. Why is that? What holds them back?
Here are 10 reasons why midlifers might underachieve (feel free to add more below):
  • Fear of failure 
  • Lack of money 
  • Not wanting to step outside of their comfort zone 
  • Concern about feeling foolish 
  • Not sure about their idea 
  • Underestimating their own abilities 
  • Don’t know where to start 
  • Don’t know where to go for help 
  • Fear of starting but not finishing 
  • Not having enough time
Each of these reasons is a perfectly valid reason for our midlifer to stay where they are and carry on with their usual routine. They may be perfectly happy, but they will get to the end of their lives and wonder ‘what if?’
As Henry Ford said, ‘If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.’ (my favourite saying)
So what's holding you back? Write down your list of reasons why you are not making your mark. Start with the list above and add/subtract your own reasons until you have your own list.
Take each one ask WHY this is a problem. Write down the answer(s). Then ask WHY again to get more detail. Continue doing this until you really understand the reason for your underachievement. Repeat this for each of your reasons.
Once you have done this, you will be in a much better position to understand your motivations and have some concrete data to work with to plot your course for a more successful future. Try it, what have you got to lose?
You've got it in you, I'm sure!
Rob Horlock has established The Mid Life Opportunity (, a community for people in Midlife. Advice and Guidance is available from The Mid Life Coaching Panel. It’s free to join - click here

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Mid Life Campaign

As we move through the 21st century we all expect to live longer, more fulfilled lives. Longer life expectation causes problems for the government and the pensions industry and we are now required to work for more years before we qualify for a pension. The ‘statutory retirement age’ is being phased out and ‘retire when you want to’ is being phased in.

This may be welcomed by those who are in rewarding jobs and who don’t fell ready to leave. Those who don’t have a job and whose pension entitlement has been deferred for several years may feel differently.
It is one thing to remain in a job past 60 or 65 if you’ve been employed by the organisation for a number of years. But what if you were made redundant in your late 40s or early 50s and find that job openings for you are negligible to non-existent? How will you manage until you reach the new retirement age (or even the old one?)
Many Midlifers find themselves in this position, through no fault of their own. They are ‘over qualified’ (too old) for most jobs that they apply for even if they are willing to take a large cut in their salary expectations.

The government (all governments) seem unable or unwilling to recognise that Midlifers who aren’t employed in their 50s face a severe uphill struggle to gain meaningful employment for the remainder of their working lives. Maybe the government is just naïve and doesn’t believe that the ‘over qualified’ (too old) response from recruiters and employers is the reality of life. Why should they; they are so far removed from the coal face that they believe their own rhetoric.

People in midlife have little support. People of pensionable age have a whole raft of support. Young people, too, have a host of government initiatives aimed at helping them to find worthwhile work (these initiatives may or may not be succeeding but at least they focus on the issue). Midlifers have little or no support to find a new role for themselves. They fall down between the cracks in the floorboards of life and many are unable to find a way out.

Vast amounts of experience are being wasted as talented midlifers struggle to find an outlet for their expertise. They can’t fallback on ‘early retirement’ in most cases as their pension pots aren’t sufficient to cover their needs. Neither do they want to retire prematurely – most midlifers want to carry on in the world of work, earning their living and putting their experience to good use.

There is a ticking time bomb here that is largely unrecognised.

So what’s to be done?
The government must recognise this issue and understand the implications of their changes in working policies. The Mid Life Opportunity will shortly be launching a campaign to raise the profile of midlifers. If you would like to be part of this, please join The Mid Life Opportunity mailing list and make your voice heard! Join here: The Mid Life Opportunity
Rob Horlock has established The Mid Life Opportunity (, a community for people in Midlife. Advice and Guidance is available from The Mid Life Coaching Panel. It’s free to join - click here

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Explaining the Tax System for Rich and Poor

Suppose that every evening, 10 men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to 100. 
If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this: 

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay 1.
The sixth would pay 3.
The seventh would pay 7.
The eighth would pay 12.
The ninth would pay 18.
The tenth man (the Richest) would pay 59.

So, that's what they decided to do....... The 10 men drank in the bar every evening and were quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner said, "Since you are all such good customers, I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by 20". Drinks for the 10 men would now cost just 80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free.

But what about the other six men, the paying customers - how could they divide the 20 windfall so that everyone would get his fair share? They realised that 20 divided by six is 3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by a higher percentage the poorer he was, to follow the principle of the tax system they had been using, and he proceeded to work out the amounts he suggested that each should now pay.

Therefore, the fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing.
The sixth now paid 2 instead of 3 (33% saving).
The seventh now paid 5 instead of 7 (28% saving).
The eighth now paid 9 instead of 12 (25% saving).
The ninth now paid 14 instead of 18 (22% saving).
The tenth now paid 49 instead of 59 (16% saving). 

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But, once outside the bar, the men began to compare their savings.
"I only got a pound out of the 20 saving," declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man, "but he got 10!"
"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a pound too. It's unfair - he got 10 times more benefit than me!"
"That's true!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get 10 back, when I got only 2? The wealthy always win!
"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison, "we didn't get anything at all. This new tax system exploits the poor!"
The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had their beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists, labour unions and government ministers, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes will naturally get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas, where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D. Professor of Economics.

Rob Horlock has established The Mid Life Opportunity (, a community for people in Midlife. Advice and Guidance is available from The Mid Life Coaching Panel. It’s free to join - click here

Friday, October 22, 2010


Yesterday I met a very nice man called James who told me that he was a Mamil.

‘A Mamil?’ I said.

‘Yes,’ replied James, ‘I’ve become a Mamil – a Middle Aged Man in Lycra!’

James is a very keen cyclist, spending his weekends out in the country, lycra clad, cycling around the highways and byways, thinking nothing of riding 30 miles or more. Apparently, this is a growing trend.

Research by Mintel shows that there has been a surge in the number of middle aged men like James who are forsaking their ‘midlife crisis’ sports cars, designer jeans and younger women and buying a bicycle instead. According to Mintel, the past few years have seen the rise of the ultra techno, full carbon fibre, sexy looking road bike. The market for these bikes is expanding rapidly, helped in no small part by the Beijing Olympics and some smart marketing. And Mamils are leading the way.

It’s a very healthy option, I’m sure. Not an inexpensive one, though. James has spent nearly £4,000 on his bicycle and accessories - his new lycra wardrobe, cycling helmet, gloves etc have set him back another few hundred pounds. He loves the look and loves the freedom of the open air and mixing with other Mamils.

As a spokesperson for people in midlife, will I be joining James? Er, probably not. I think I’ll stick to riding my mountain bike to the pub occasionally, on sunny days and leave the lycra to the Mamils!
Rob Horlock has established The Mid Life Opportunity (, a community for people in Midlife. Advice and Guidance is available from The Mid Life Coaching Panel. It’s free to join - click here

Friday, October 15, 2010

A gift for people who like puzzles

Do you have a friend or relative who likes puzzles or brainteasers? They could be in midlife, a little older or a lot younger. Here is a great fun gift which is both practical and provides an amusing talking point - the mathematical clock. I have one of these and I can guarantee that people will be absorbed by it when they realise how it works.

Each number on the clock is represented by a mathematical equation - work out the equation to reveal the number. Of course, you know what the number will be by its position on the clock face - which makes it all the more frustrating when you know the answer but can't work out the equation! (hint: ask a 10 year old ...)

The clock comes in two styles - 'blackboard' and 'graph paper' - both of which are designed to complement the 'old school' theme.

If you're looking for something different to buy for one of those people that is difficult to buy for, perhaps The Mathematical Clock is the answer.

For more information, click here - a great fun gift for Birthdays or Christmas.
Rob Horlock has established The Mid Life Opportunity (, a community for people in Midlife. Advice and Guidance is available from The Mid Life Coaching Panel. It’s free to join - click here

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Law of Unintended Consequences - LUC

My previous post was about decision making and the gulf between those who make decisions and those who are impacted by the decisions. One of the main reasons that decisions can have unexpected results is that LUC is ignored. LUC is The Law of Unintended Consequences and almost always affects decisions, usually for the worse.

Here are some examples:

  • I live in The New Forest, which is famous for the ponies that roam free in the forest. There are many horse owners who live in the forest and who keep their animals in pony paddocks or stable yards, usually 2 or 3 fields. The forest recently became a National Park and new rules were proposed which were not well thought through. One of these was that ‘every horse must have at least one hectare (2.4 acres) of land to graze’. This was to prevent over crowding. So pony owners would have to have at least 4.8 acres to keep two ponies. Any horse owner will tell you that the amount of grass which would grow in one hectare during the summer would far exceed what the horse could eat - in fact, given that amount of grass, the horse would almost certainly go down with laminitis and possibly die. So the National Park’s decision to avoid overcrowding in pony paddocks would have had the (LUC) effect of killing off the very horses that were trying to encourage. Thanks to a local ‘uprising’ the policy was never implemented.
  • Aid is given to developing countries from western governments. This may or may not be effective. An example might be the provision of fishing nets for local people to allow them to catch fish. Very worthwhile, you may think. But this action puts the local supplier of fishing nets out of business and perhaps he moves away. What happens when the new fishing nets need to be mended or replaced? There is nobody to do it. LUC has played it’s part and the locals have gone from having some old fishing nets, to plenty of new fishing nets, to no fishing nets at all.
  • The welfare state was introduced to help people out of poverty. The founders little realised that LUC would ensure that millions of people now take welfare as an alternative to work.

These are all negative examples. There are positive examples too.

  • The Chilean miners that were trapped underground for nearly two months were rescued by drilling a rescue shaft. Whilst drilling this shaft, LUC came into play and previously unknown deposits of gold and silver were discovered. These may even cover the cost of the rescue, which was funded by the Chilean government.

So when you make decisions, don’t ignore LUC. It’s impossible to second guess every angle but don’t assume that things will work out the way that you always expect them to!
Rob Horlock has established The Mid Life Opportunity (, a community for people in Midlife. Advice and Guidance is available from The Mid Life Coaching Panel. It’s free to join - click here

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Decision Making

In every situation, people fall into one of two categories – the person making the decision or the person that is affected by the decision.
In every case, we hope that the person making the decision understands the implications and the consequences of that decision.
Sadly, in many instances, the person (or people) making the decision(s) doesn’t understand the situation properly and those affected suffer.
We see this at the macro level – decisions made by western governments to ‘aid’ people in developing countries or decisions made by our government which affect us directly. How often do we hear people saying ‘Why have they done this, they have no idea how ordinary people live?’
Too often this is true. Decisions are made by people in power whose lives are a million miles away from the day to day lives of all the people that the decision affects. They have very little idea how the consequences will pan out – they know what they think will happen, based on the advice that they receive from their advisors (many of whom are equally out of touch). The reality is often very different.
Those of us who are affected by these decisions are also, of course, making decisions of our own which affect other people. What about our decisions? Do we always know how the consequences will play out? How our decisions will affect our partners, our friends, our colleagues or our customers?
We can never be 100% sure of the consequences of our decisions (and neither should we – nothing would ever get done!) But perhaps we should pause sometimes and think more deeply about who will be affected and how they will be affected. Having a better understanding of this at the outset guarantees better results (for everyone) in the long term.
Next time – LUC, the Law of Unintended Consequences.
Rob Horlock has established The Mid Life Opportunity (, a community for people in Midlife. Advice and Guidance is available from The Mid Life Coaching Panel. It’s free to join - click here

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Views on The English Language

Most people agree that English is not the easiest language to learn. Apart from the fact that those of you in the US spell some words differently to those of us in the UK, there are so many grammatical rules, exceptions and irregularities that it amazes me how well non-English speaking people pick it up.

Signs provide a great source of examples of the ‘power’ of English and how it can be misused, abused or simply misunderstood. The ‘errant apostrophe’ is well documented – the greengrocer’s “Pea’s” or “it’s” used in the wrong context. But there are other examples that are more subtle. Here’s a couple that I’ve seen recently:

A sign in a local (very smart) pub: ‘We are looking for part time staff’. You feel like adding ‘If you see them, please send them home!’

Another sign in the toilets of a large hotel: ‘Smoking is prohibited in this hotel. If you observe anyone smoking, a complaint may be made to the management’. So if I see someone smoking, somebody might complain about me …

Have you seen any similar humorous examples?
Rob Horlock has established The Mid Life Opportunity (, a community for people in Midlife. Advice and Guidance is available from The Mid Life Coaching Panel. It’s free to join - click here

Friday, September 24, 2010

Seth Godin's View of the Recession

Seth Godin has recently identified that there are, in fact, two recessions going on. Here is what he had to say in a recent blog post:

There are two recessions going on.
One is gradually ending. This is the cyclical recession, we have them all the time, they come and they go. Not fun, but not permanent.
The other one, I fear, is here forever. This is the recession of the industrial age, the receding wave of bounty that workers and businesses got as a result of rising productivity but imperfect market communication.
In short: if you're local, we need to buy from you. If you work in town, we need to hire you. If you can do a craft, we can't replace you with a machine.
No longer.
The lowest price for any good worth pricing is now available to anyone, anywhere. Which makes the market for boring stuff a lot more perfect than it used to be.
Since the 'factory' work we did is now being mechanized, outsourced or eliminated, it's hard to pay extra for it. And since buyers have so many choices (and much more perfect information about pricing and availability) it's hard to charge extra.
Thus, middle class jobs that existed because companies had no choice are now gone.
Protectionism isn't going to fix this problem. Neither is stimulus of old factories or yelling in frustration and anger. No, the only useful response is to view this as an opportunity. To poorly paraphrase Clay Shirky, every revolution destroys the last thing before it turns a profit on a new thing.
The networked revolution is creating huge profits, significant opportunities and a lot of change. What it's not doing is providing millions of brain-dead, corner office, follow-the-manual middle class jobs. And it's not going to.
Fast, smart and flexible are embraced by the network. Linchpin behavior. People and companies we can't live without (because if I can live without you, I'm sure going to try if the alternative is to save money).
The sad irony is that everything we do to prop up the last economy (more obedience, more compliance, cheaper yet average) gets in the way of profiting from this one.

This view makes a lot of sense to me and is particularly relevant to people in midlife who are seeking their next role. What do you think?

Rob Horlock has established The Mid Life Opportunity (, a community for people in Midlife. Advice and Guidance is available from The Mid Life Coaching Panel. It’s free to join - click here

Monday, September 20, 2010

Overcoming Impossible Situations

Whilst on holiday recently, I was sitting on the bed working on my laptop. The bedroom was on the second floor of a lovely country hotel with views out over fields and moors to the north Devon coast.  It was very peaceful and I was easily able to concentrate on writing my website updates, which were due the following Saturday.

As I tapped away on the keyboard a noise at the window suddenly made me jump. I looked up to see a shape at the window. How was this possible, the window was 8 metres above the ground?

After my initial shock I realised what was making the noise. It was the window cleaner’s brush! He had one of those long poles and was standing on the path outside, washing each window with ‘pure water’. (Many window cleaners now use de-ionised water which leaves fewer smears on the window – today’s extra bit of knowledge thrown in for free …)

The window cleaner had been able to reach my window with his long pole. When I was sitting in my bedroom, I had no expectation of anything banging on my window to distract me. I hadn’t really thought about it, but if I had, I would have concluded that nobody would be able to climb in through my second storey window. I would have been correct in that assumption, but wrong to think that nobody or nothing could reach the window and affect what was inside (me!)

Do you ever make assumptions about aspects of your life? Do you think that something is impossible, then find that somebody else has found a way?

There would have been several ways for the window cleaner, or anyone else, to reach my window:
  • Use his pole
  • Use a ladder
  • Use a ‘cherry picker’
  • Stand on three other people’s shoulders
  • Build a lift
  • Pole vault
  • Bounce on springs
  • etc

 Do you get my drift? Edward de Bono called it Lateral Thinking. Marketing executives call it ‘thinking outside of the box’. Whatever term you choose to use, it’s all about thinking of alternatives to the obvious.

Before you write off opportunities as ‘impossible’ or ‘not for me’, spend a few minutes thinking of alternative ways of approaching the problem. Look at it from different angles, put yourself in someone else’s shoes or break down the issue into smaller chunks. Ask yourself what questions a child might ask.

You might be surprised by your own creativity! 
Rob Horlock has established The Mid Life Opportunity (, a community for people in Midlife. Advice and Guidance is available from The Mid Life Coaching Panel. It’s free to join - click here

Friday, September 17, 2010

Midlife crises and how to deal with them

Guest post by Udo Stadtsbuchler

In my work as a psychotherapist I have come across some causes for midlife crises, and one of the most common one was that men feel dissatisfied with what they had achieved and that they feel they can no longer rectify what "went wrong" in their lives.
Women main reasons for midlife crises were the onset of menopause and the empty nest syndrome, when the children had left home and no longer can be the focus point of motherly attention.
Oftentimes midlife crises for both sexes are temporary, and then life continues almost as before. But very often it has a very negative and lasting effect on the person and their families. These were the cases I mostly dealt with. Luckily all of them were resolved successfully. Here are some examples.
George (not his real name) is a typical example. He is in his early 50s, employed in middle management position in a "young" industry. His eldest son is on a similar dead end career path, his younger son works only occasionally whenever he feels like it. His wife is working in a very well paid and secure job. George buys himself a bike – you guessed it, it's a Harley Davidson – joins a biker club and now spends all of his spare time with his fellow club members. He completely neglects his wife and shows no interest in his sons. His wife endures this for many years. Only when she no longer just threatens with divorce but indeed files for it a few days short before his 64th birthday, can he be persuaded by her and the rest of the family to see me.
Hilda is in her mid 50s, with two grown up children no longer living with their parents. She is very unhappy in her marriage, unhappy with her life as a whole; but, for her more importantly, unhappy with her looks. She sees herself as being short (correct), fat (well, yes), frumpy (yes, it's true), and ugly (not true). She is incredibly jealous and is fearful that her husband has a girl friend (not true) and considers divorcing her (not true). She is insecure, has no confidence in herself, she is shy and withdrawn.
Bob and Mary both have been through their respective midlife crises, during which they went through emotional hell.  Bob's business had gone through a terrible slump and was close to going under; they both had formed other relationships and were about to getting divorced.  Now they both are in the 60+ years age group and they resolve to stay together. Business has improved dramatically, their respective other relationships ended. They decide to sell their house and the business, to retire and to move to Spain's Costa del Sol to have "a new start". What they did not know was that any form of change presents problems and challenges, and that a strong bond between the partners is needed to overcome these problems and to face up to the challenges. A strong bond gets even stronger under adverse circumstances; a weak bong gets weaker and can even break. Bob's and Mary's bond was still very weak.
What these examples have in common is that the individuals concerned experienced challenges, real or imagined, before they went into crisis mode. I suggest, therefore, that people do not go through midlife crises if they do not experience challenges, which can indeed be only imagined, and who are content or even happy with their life as a whole.
The best way of dealing with midlife crises and life's challenges is to follow my leitmotif, which is at the core of all my work: change the way you think and change your life.
In case of midlife crisis realize that this crisis is based on your feelings. Accept that you feel that way, do not deny it. Acceptance is the first step to change what you accept. Accept and resolve to make it better. And you make things better by changing the meaning of what is upsetting you. Reframe the circumstances that frustrate you. For example George, the chap in my first example, used his cognitive abilities – his intellect and his logic – to realize that he could not turn back the clock and become a youthful hell raiser again. He changed the meaning that he had given to his meaningless life as he saw it, to something positive and challenging. We created a new challenge for him, which he duly mastered and he runs now his own business with some 20 employees. He has shaved off his beard and sold his Harley.
The other examples that I presented - and many more - were resolved in similar manner. The sequences of how to go about it is accept, resolve, change meaning, and give yourself a meaningful challenge.
  Copyright ©2010 Udo Stadtsbuchler
Udo Stadtsbuchler is a retired psychotherapist and lives on Spain's Costa del Sol. He is the author of Happiness Discovered.
Read an excerpt of it or buy it at
For e-readers go to:
The Mid Life Opportunity ( is a community for people in Midlife. Advice and Guidance is available from The Mid Life Coaching Panel. It’s free to join - click here

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Midlife Knowledge Centre

What is the Mid Life Knowledge Centre? If you’re in midlife yourself then YOU are a midlife Knowledge Centre. The knowledge and experiences that you have built up over the years are unique to you – nobody else knows what you know! Nobody in the world has the same knowledge centre as you!

Think about what you have done during your life so far. Think about your education, the jobs that you’ve had, your hobbies, the places that you’ve visited, the people that you’ve met. Your background is unique to you and your knowledge centre is yours and yours only. Nobody can replace it.

So are you using your knowledge centre to the maximum?
If you’re in midlife and in work you have your knowledge and experience to draw on. You almost certainly know WHY something will or won’t work as well as HOW it works. You know that everything tends to be cyclical and you will have seen most of it before. You may have seen a new young brand manager join the team and immediately redesign the product’s packaging, to give the brand a ‘more contemporary identity’, perhaps. Do sales increase? Maybe, maybe not. To you, the new packaging looks very much like the packaging of ten years ago …

You’ll have seen a new team manager arrive and within weeks he/she will have re-organised the department (quite possibly back to how it looked two re-organisations previously). The new manager will have made other changes, looking for ‘quick wins’ (or, in consultantspeak, ‘Low Hanging Fruit’) to impress their boss. You will be able to guess the outcome, good or bad…
You will be using your knowledge centre to perform your role. Whether the organisation that you work for is using your knowledge centre to the maximum is another question entirely (answer – almost certainly not).

If you are currently without employment (and you’re too young to retire), then you are definitely not using your knowledge centre – or rather, you are not being allowed to use it!

Eastern civilisations understand that knowledge comes from experience and older people have an honoured role in the society. Whether it’s in the workplace, the family of the local community, the wisdom of older, more experienced, people is genuinely welcomed and acted upon.
This is not the case in western civilisations. In the west we tend to write off people in the workplace over 45 as being ‘too old’ or ‘too experienced’ (a euphemism for being too old …) The midlife knowledge centres of these people is being squandered, a terrible waste of years of experience. If 100,000 midlifers are seeking employment and they have worked, on average, for 25 years, that’s 2.5 million years of working experience going to waste!!!

So what’s to be done? People in midlife are probably the most under-supported demographic of all. Young people are offered help in many ways and any number of brands and publications focus on youth. Older people are offered support and assistance, though many are too proud to accept it. Midlifers, in the middle, are largely ignored! So, it’s up to you to use your own knowledge centre to make your mark.

Make a list of everything that you feel you know more about than the average person. It will be quite a long list if you think hard! Then consider what you really want to do with the rest of your life – career, lifestyle, relationships, etc. Then make a plan to go out and get it!

If it’s career, then start networking – online and offline – with previous colleagues and new contacts. If you’re looking for a new relationship, try online dating – it’s much easier than trying to meet someone at a club or an evening class. Try as a place to start.

Join The Mid Life Opportunity and add your voice to the midlife community – and make new friends along the way …
Nobody said that it would be easy but if you don’t start the process yourself, nobody is going to start it for you!
The Mid Life Opportunity ( is a community for people in Midlife. Advice and Guidance is available from The Mid Life Coaching Panel. It’s free to join - click here

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Resolve Your Mid Life Crisis Now!

Ever felt you are definitely having a midlife crisis but just don't know what to do?
Or, that everything could be fine if someone will just show you how?

Maybe you've already tried a number of things but they just haven't worked.
Or perhaps you just feel like giving up...

I recently came across a fantastic programme called “ How To Stop Your Midlife Crisis...Now!

Gwenn Clayton is the author and tells the story of her own midlife crisis in her introduction.
Gwenn gave up her own career as a very successful business and life coach to become a stay at home mum of two . But alongside giving up her career she also gave up a major part of her identity and her passion in life. Sometimes that's fine, but in her case it was not.

Longing for that missing part of her identity, she finally realised that many of the tools, resources and ideas that she had taught her clients she needed to apply to herself.

The result  was - 'How To Stop Your Midlife Crisis...Now !'  a 32 day step by step e-course. 

Not only did it help her find her way out of her own midlife crisis but it had a powerful effect on the lives of many of her friends too.....

'How to STOP your MIDLIFE CRISIS …NOW' is a powerful, 31 day, step - by - step program designed to help you turn around your own UNIQUE midlife challenges and create midlife success.

Gwen Clayton's program is designed so that you can work through it in the comfort of your own home. A program that will encourage you to take a look at your entire life now and improve the quality of your life overall.

To find out how this program can turn your life around Click Here!

Read how Gwen turned around her own life and how this experience can help you. If you have any kind of midlife crisis, this is the help that you have been seeking.

The Mid Life Opportunity ( is a community for people in Midlife. Advice and Guidance is available from The Mid Life Coaching Panel. It’s free to join - click here

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Midlife Women in September

Midlife is a time when everything changes and life is calling you to shed what no longer works and 
find what will work for your body and your mind.

Do you have a plan?

Do you even know where to turn for information you can trust?
Join Gregory Anne Cox as she interviews 13 experts in all aspects of midlife mind and body health, whose collective mission is to give you the goods to rock your second half.
They’ve got the information you can trust to bring you vibrant healthhelp you lose weightground and calm you in any situation, and bring some humour to the push-me/pull-you that is our daily struggle.
Take a look at who has agreed to be on the phone during September for a series of 60 minute interviews - nothing but honest, life-changing information!
(If you’ve come back here and have not yet signed up, what are you hesitating for? Reserve your FREE tele-spot here)
Spending time with these successful professionals will be a great gift to give yourself if you care about your health and feeling your best.
When was the last time you felt really, really great? When did you last wake up in the morning refreshed and remain feeling that way throughout the day 'til it was time to hit the hay?
Can't remember?
Do yourself a favour and listen to Gregory Anne and her guests - you know you're worth it!

The Mid Life Opportunity ( is a community for people in Midlife. Advice and Guidance is available from The Mid Life Coaching Panel. It’s free to join - click here