As becoming a stay-at-home dad got closer on the horizon, it seemed important to figure out ways of keeping my “business brain” alive. The truth is that after my long career I was just plain bored with business. But there was (and still is) the possibility that my business brain would be needed again later, so I contemplated ways to keep it alive.
In conversation with people, I started mentioning that I was seeking Board or Advisory Board positions. These conversations led to one Board of Advisors gig that turned into a Board of Directors gig. Over time, I found a basic flaw with that company and convinced the Board that it would fail, which resulted in the company going out of business.
Fortunately, a business school classmate contacted me out of the blue and asked me to meet with the founder of a start-up he knew of to see if I might become an Advisor there. I did. Eventually, I became a Board member and part-time CEO (in a way that makes it a “tapa,” rather than an 80-hour/week job). This has been a very helpful way of keeping my business brain alive. Moreover, after securing some investments in the company, the start-up’s technology now works and will likely prove important in the marketplace. This tapa may pay a dividend!
And so could your post-career business activities! If your main career is ending soon or has already been completed, you may well want to think about how to leverage all the knowledge you’ve accumulated during those work years. You might do some consulting, some special projects for people in your business area, some Advisory or Board work, recruiting work, a part-time assignment, freelancing — any number of things to keep using what you know, in a more circumscribed, “tapas” fashion that allows you time to start discovering and enjoying more breadth in your life.
I love this quote from Jerome K. Jerome, English author, 1859-1927 (and a very quotable fellow): “It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do.”
Of course, paying work is a key consideration if you have an ongoing need for additional income after your main career. More about that later, when I get to Finances.