Your mission, should you choose to accept it …

If you are of a certain vintage, you will recognise this line from the classic TV series “Mission Impossible”. It was part of the opening sequence, when that week’s mission would be explained. What happened next would be incomprehensible to today’s digital natives as the voice from the small reel-to-reel tape player intoned “this tape will self-destruct in 5 seconds” and smoke would duly pour out of the machine. As an enthralled 10 year old, I though this was amazing. (you can see it for yourself here. Cool, huh?)

Jim, the team leader, always accepted the mission, of course. Then the action could begin, and the story could unfold.

As a post-executive, your mission is to re-invent yourself.

Like the show, you don’t know the story in advance, you don’t know how it will work out, but you have to accept your mission before it can begin.

I know this sounds really obvious. It is. It’s just that what’s obvious is not always easy.

I wasn’t very good at this. I didn’t accept the mission. I thought I had but really I was hoping something would come along that was like the world I used to know. A nice consultancy contract. A job, maybe something interim or a short-term contract. Maybe, even, another full-time role. So I could go back to the comfort of what I had known, back to the certainty (well, the perception of certainty).

The trouble was, there wasn’t a way back. So I was stuck. For a long time.

This story, the one you have the starring role in, has three acts. Next is the perilous journey and revelation of wisdom, and the final part is redemption, the new beginning.  You probably recognise this, it’s the structure of the hero’s journey, amongst other things.  Before we get ahead of ourselves, however, you have to commit to the quest so we can finish the first act. You have to choose to accept the mission.

Your story starts here.

This blog will self-destruct in 5 seconds …

Introducing the Post-Executive

We all know what an executive is, don’t we? If you’ve worked in large organisations for 10 or 20 years, in middle and senior management, you fit the bill. Probably suited and booted, versed in the bureaucracy and politics that come with the territory, somewhat jaded and institutionalised, you are one of the executive cohort.

What was supposed to happen was that you stayed in that world until you retired on a decent pension and went and did what you wanted with the rest of your life. Or sometimes, you took redundancy or early retirement and pootled about in semi-retirement for a while. Then the rules got changed.

Today, many people find they are leaving that world a long time before retirement and without achieving the financial security they had hoped for. They need to work, they want to work, but they can no longer find, or don’t want to seek, a place back in the world of corporate employment.

If this is you, your challenge is to re-invent yourself outside of the corporate environment. In a very different world to one your are used to and one that is undergoing rapid and substantial change. You have to create a whole new life for yourself.

You are a Post-Executive.

The options you face are no different to anyone else who is looking to build a new career, or a business, or follow a vocation. The place you are starting from, however, is very different. Most advice that I’ve come across doesn’t recognise this and so fails to serve your needs. For example, there is much written about starting a business but it not written for someone with our experience, knowledge and wisdom and so it seems patronising, facile and just plain wrong.

I know what it’s like because I have been there myself and I have met and helped many others. I have seen that there are many common misconceptions about what will work and that we all make many of the same mistakes. I know that we have a lot of gifts to bring and build upon but we also have a lot of burdens and obstacles of our own making that slow us down or sabotage us. I also know that we have a set of needs that, as far as I can tell, are not being recognised or served.

This blog for for all of us Post-Executives. I want to share my experience and what I have found on my journey of reinvention, to be your guide along the way, pointing out the dangers and the pitfalls, the blind alleys and elephant traps, and help you reach your destination as quickly and painlessly as possible.