Build a Portfolio Career

Building a Portfolio Career

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

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Midlife Jigsaw

Most midlifers will have completed their fair share of jigsaw puzzles. From 20 piece puzzles as a child, though 100 piece puzzles when you were a little older to 1000 piece puzzles when you were on holiday with the rain lashing against the windows of your holiday home. And plenty more in between.

What did they have in common? Most likely, you would have completed the outside first, then completed the ‘obvious’ patterns, then filled in the more difficult bits – the blue sky, the green grass or the tiger’s body. What your puzzles would also have in common, very often, would be the odd missing piece. Maybe some pieces had fallen under the table or perhaps a previous ‘puzzler’ had forgotten to put a few pieces back in the box (how irritating is that!)

So what?

 Have you ever felt like a lost puzzle piece? Have you ever felt that everyone else’s life is running along very smoothly – their piece of the puzzle is nicely slotted into position – while yours is going pear-shaped? Perhaps your relationship has come to its natural end. You look around and all of your friends seem happy in their lives; they are sitting comfortably in their position in the jigsaw while you feel like the missing piece of the puzzle.

Perhaps you’ve lost your job with no apparent chance of finding alternative employment in your area. You and the jigsaw piece under the table will have a lot in common. The recession of the early 21st century is very reminiscent of a jigsaw puzzle. Most people are largely unaffected (although they think they are) and are nicely placed in the correct position in the jigsaw.
Some people lose their jobs and become the jigsaw pieces that need to find their position or worse, they become the puzzle pieces that fall under the table or get lost. These are the people who have born the brunt of the recession and have struggled to find themselves back in the mix. For many, their position in the jigsaw remains elusive and they continue to struggle to find gainful employment. For others, their jigsaw piece remains outside of the puzzle but through hard work, thinking outside of the box and a fair degree of lateral thinking, they find their rightful place back in the jigsaw.

It’s a very rewarding feeling to complete a complex jigsaw puzzle. It’s even more rewarding if your piece of the puzzle is retrieved from under the table and finds its rightful place back in the puzzle through your ingenuity, resourcefulness and sheer hard work.

You don’t have to remain outside of the completed puzzle but you could choose to do so. Don’t!
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

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tips for a Midlife Financial Reboot!

Guest post by Andrew Salmon

It doesn’t matter if you’re the victim of downsizing, spiralling debt or have just hit a fork in the road of life, it’s never too late for a midlife financial reboot. The one thing we can always count on in life is change and if you follow these steps, making big changes in your life does not have to be a terrifying experience.

Your Inner Reboot

It all starts here. Right between your ears. Being aware of what’s going on at work will allow you to see the writing on the wall long before the axe falls and with this forewarning you have the opportunity to squirrel away a portion of your salary for that rainy day. The same goes if you are planning to quit your job. The key is to not act on impulse. Plan ahead.

Once the deed is done and you’re out on the street, it’s vital that you keep your cool and don’t panic. Yes, you’ve lost that income you came to count on, the security blanket is gone. But the sky is not falling, this is not the end of the world and you’re not the first person to lose their job. Keep things in perspective and work out your next step.

Creative Solutions

Unless you’ve already selected a new field for your life’s endeavours and are on your way to achieving it, you might find yourself a little lost as to what to do once the dust has settled in your life. Here’s where you get creative. Being at the same job for a long stretch can put the blinders on us all and we get to believing that a steady pay check is the only means to our survival.

However this is not the case at all and creative alternatives are just waiting for you to discover. These do not have to be permanent solutions (although they can be) but they can help you bring money in while you decide what that next great calling will be.

If you have any kind of talent, now is the time to use it. Whether it be illustrating greeting cards to sell to the neighbours, or carving a bench for a friend, turn your talent into income. Start a catering service, begin selling off valuable baubles you no longer want on eBay. Remind your friends of the loans they keep forgetting to pay back. Cut back on your lifestyle and downsize your house if need be. Get rid of that second car you hardly use. There’s money all around you just waiting to drop into your pockets.

Who knows, changing jobs may lead to a complete change of your lifestyle, which can be a positive thing. At the very least, tightening your belt may reveal to you that you’ve been wasting your hard earned money on things you never really needed. Or that using your talent to earn a living brings you more joy than other career paths you’ve gone down in the past.

The key in rebooting your finances in midlife is to focus, really get in touch with who you are and what you want. It can be scary, it may seem impossible, but it can be done and is being done by people all over the world. Now it’s your turn. 

This article was written by Andrew Salmon from He writes on a variety of subjects including personal finance and frugal living.
 The Mid Life Opportunity ( is a community for Mid Lifers. Advice and Guidance will soon be available from The Mid Life Coaching Panel. It’s free to join so what are you waiting for?