Build a Portfolio Career

Building a Portfolio Career

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