Build a Portfolio Career

Building a Portfolio Career

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