Getting Unstuck, cover

Recession creates change and provides an opportunity, or a need, to make lifestyle changes or choose a new career. Here are reviews of guides how that should provide someinspiration or encouragement that positive change is possible.

Global recession is forcing people to re-examine their lifestyles. It may be redundancy, insecurity or forced retirement. Reduced pensions may require others to delay retirement. Some want better work-life balance, a simpler life, are dissatisfied with their current job or are otherwise ready for change and a new career.

Making Positive Changes to Work and Life Balance in a Downturn

There are a range of good books to help guide thinking and transition to a new future. Three titles that address the topic from different viewpoints are explored below.

The 4-Hour Work Week; Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere And Join the New Rich

Ferris' book is in the traditional mould as it sets out a lifestyle aspiration of living like the rich. It has good ideas but many will only work for the knowledge worker as it assumes work

It is a good read and the author lives the lifestyle he espouses. Although it looks simple, achieving a 4-hour working week will need effort especially initially. But nothing comes without some effort.

It is based on DEAL, the four main steps:

  • Definition of what is important to readers; what is to be achieved and needed to make it happen.
  • Eliminate those parts of life and work that contribute little. Most jobs, and lives, include activities that prevent the desired lifestyle. The aim is to work, if one must, to live rather than live to work as employers expect.
  • Automate remaining aspects of work and life that do not need day to day involvement of the reader. Ferris shows that much can be either delegated or automated so freeing time.
  • Liberation is the last step and gives the ability to live anywhere and the new rich lifestyle can follow.

The 4-Hour Work Week Rich is an undemanding read; until one tries to make it happen. It then needs real effort. For those prepared to escape family, friends and society’s expectations and apply themselves to Ferris’s approach it should work.

The 4-Hour Work Week; Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich is published by Vermilion at £11.99 - ISBN: 978-0-09-192372-3.

Retire Retirement, Career Strategies for the Boomer Generation

Baby Boomers are now retiring and with improved life expectation can expect thirty years of active retirement. This is as long as many first careers and creates an opportunity for a second that provides satisfaction through employment, voluntary, sporting or cultural activity.

Subsequent age-groups, Generation X and Y, have different aspirations and a different view of why and how they work. They will also not have a job for life as expected by Boomers but now disappeared. They will need to think about what they want out of life and how to achieve it.

All groups will need to think in terms of portfolio careers and take control of their future rather being able to rely on a paternalistic employer and generous pension scheme.

Retire Retirement puts all this in context in a readable way although the opening chapters may appear academic. It gets easier and provides alternatives to the traditional model of work and retirement and outlines options. Tamara Erickson makes a case for being flexible in retaining knowledge and expertise in the face of a shrinking workforce. She shows how this comes together for mutual benefit of all generations, employers and the voluntary sector.

Retire Retirement, Career Strategies for the Boomer Generation (ISBN: 978-1-4221-2059-0) by Tamara Erickson is published by Harvard Business Press at $19.95.

Getting Unstuck

Getting Unstuck is a more professional psychology based approach to career planning and coping with the discomfort when jobs no longer provide satisfaction, drive and enthusiasm.

Exacerbated by the recession’s impact on satisfaction, redundancy or job insecurity creates a trigger or opportunity to rethink expectations. Many readers will feel dissatisfied or uncomfortable with life and work. Usually it will be not be very specific but a vague sense of being trapped. This is Timothy Butler’s first stage of a three step process of resolution:

  • Impasse – “Feeling Stuck and Doubting Ourselves”. Change needs a trigger and that feeling of being stuck, unsatisfied or unhappy is what Butler calls impasse. It is the recognition that there is a problem or challenge to address.
  • Vision – “Learning to Let Our Passions Guide Us”. Butler'sVision” is not about setting a strategy but for the reader to understand himself and his deeper interests and long term passions. That understanding will provide the platform for shaping the way forward.
  • Getting Unstuck – Finding New Career and Life Direction. Butler seeks to take readers from discomfort to action. This process should enable the necessary life changes to become clear. The process is challenging and it is recommended to have support of a person with the reader’s best interests at heart.

Timothy Butler himself is a career counsellor and Getting Unstuck is the process he uses with his clients.

Getting Unstuck: How Dead Ends Become New Paths (ISBN: 978-1-4221-0225-1) by Timothy Butler is published by Harvard Business School Press at $24.95.

Portfolio Careers and Life-Work Balance

Taken together these books provide a range of views on lifestyle or choosing an occupation in the broadest sense. Whether the reader needs to continue to earn in retirement, is planning a portfolio career or feels that there is more to life than work these books will provide insights and guidance.



First appeared on Suite101


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