RE-IMAGINING YOUR WORKLIFE

By G. A. Finch

There are two phenomena that are occurring at both ends of career trajectories.  One is the FIRE Movement and the other is the substantial time extension of workforce participation.

FIRE” stands for Financial Independence, Retire Early.  Its adherents are usually younger workers who, through extreme frugality, intense saving of money, aggressive investing and diversification of income streams, aim to retire in a 10 to 20 years’ time frame, living off the sums of money accumulated through their abstemious habits and delayed gratification life styles.   There exists a sizable do-it-yourself/self-improvement industry of authors, podcasters, social media influencers, bloggers and speakers devoted to inspiring and educating FIRE aspirants and practitioners.  Because of the Coronavirus Pandemic and massive economic disruption, some FIRE adherents may have to delay or restructure their retirements.

Then there is delayed retirement where a substantial percentage of older workers, by desire and design, or necessity, is working past the minimal Social Security retirement age of 62 well into their 70s and some past 80 years of age.  We see that septuagenarians currently dominate our domestic political and governmental leadership: Joseph Biden, Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Anthony Fauci among many others.  According to the blog DQYDJ by PK (updated: November 14, 2019),  “[r]ecently retired healthy individuals most commonly chose to work until 70.”

Small Book CoverIn my book, the Savvy Executive: The Handbook Covering Employment Contracts, Compensation, Executive Skills and Much More, my good friend, Craig, observed in the excerpted section below, AGE IS JUST A NUMBER:

 

 …“People are living much longer nowadays. Look at our own
long-lived family members. Medical advances and nutrition
make the odds of our living to be at least 100 years very high. That
means, G. A., we have to rethink how we approach the arc of our lives
and what we do with it. Our lives have three chunks of active, productive
time or phases: zero to 30; 31 to 60, and 61 to 90. Our children can
have three separate, different experiences in their lives and you and I
have one more major one left. Isn’t that great? We have much more time
to do and experience different things, including work.”

 

As workers –  whether younger FIRE types or older purpose driven careerists –  grapple with their futures, my esteemed friend, Dr. Gregg Lunceford, has spent some time considering options surrounding work including kinds and degrees of exits.  In his book, Exit from Work: What Will the New You Look Like?, he sets out exit options of “Going Back to College,” “Internships or Returnships,” “Peace Corps,” “Entrepreneurship,” and “Restructuring Work.” The current Era of the Coronavirus instructs us that work restructuring can and will occur.  The current massive number of people who are working remotely from home proves the point.  Would it not be prudent to contemplate how to shape and influence the restructuring of your work?

Lunceford BookI had the honor of collaborating with Gregg on the RESTRUCTURING WORK section of his book excerpted below.   It has utility for those who wish to continue to work for whatever reason or motivation: 

 

Maybe you love what you currently do but want to do it differently. Renegotiating and restructuring your current role may be the change you want and need. It may also allow you to exit the workforce gradually if you can negotiate the terms you need. According to a survey by CareerBuilder, 30% of U.S. workers age 60 and older plan to work to age 70 or older. The question is, “How do you negotiate terms that uniquely represent your needs and also provide an ongoing benefit to your employer?”

G. A. Finch is an attorney who focuses on negotiating executive employment agreements and providing strategic career advice. He is the author of the book The Savvy Executive. According to Mr. Finch, each situation is unique when negotiating terms for modifying your employment, and therefore, you should seek credible guidance before doing so. In general, here are a few things you should consider:

  • Always view your relationship with your employer from the perspective of how it would benefit him or her. At the risk of stating the obvious, remember that your employment is an economic relationship, not a charitable one.
  • Suggest to your employer that the newly configured role could be on a trial basis. This may minimize the risk to the employer and make your proposal of a modified role more palatable.
  • Get imaginative about the mechanics and scope of the proposed arrangement, e.g., be willing to do part-time work or telecommute. These have a more limited or expanded scope of work. You can be available on an as-needed consulting basis, or serve as a pinch hitter for emergencies.
  • Offer additional, different or new services to the employer such as mentoring, blogging, doing business development, recruiting talent, doing neglected research, training employees, or leading a new business initiative.
  • Suggest trading or adjusting your salary for performance-based equity or cash bonus awards, more time off, time for charitable service, time for a personal entrepreneurial endeavor, tuition reimbursement, private club dues, –your suggestions are limited only by your imagination.

The surprising upshot here is that you may end up enjoying an extended tenure at your present employer.

   

During this Era of the Coronavirus with its shelter-in-place restrictions, many of us have more  time to think.  Whatever our ages and circumstances, our cogitating about the nature of our work and making meaningful adjustments cannot help but be a profitable investment of our time.

Thinking Man

 

 

 

Copyright © 2020 by G. A. Finch.  All rights reserved.

LEADERSHIP DURING THE TIME OF DYSTOPIA AND FOREBODING MIASMA

By G. A. Finch

In the month of March, in the year of 2020, in the world, in the United States, the Era of the COVID-19 Virus has unequivocally and rudely arrived.   Many times, as executives or professionals, we have recently heard the exclamations from friends, families, neighbors, colleagues, clients, customers, and patients: “These are weird times!”  “It’s a crazy time!” “It’s scary!” “The worst is yet to come!”

We hear complaints of either too much happy talk and misinformation or too much Chicken-Little-like-“The sky is falling” negativity.

All would agree that the world and United States are laboring under extreme adverse circumstances both medically and economically.

We are experiencing an historical moment, and it seems surreal with all the empty streets, closed schools and businesses, sanitizing of surfaces and objects, and social distancing.

From conversations with my executive and professional clients and colleagues across the country, I have come to believe the following: In these kinds of circumstances, a leader must a) understand context, b) discern a proper perspective, and c) choose the right attitude.

Context

We must understand those facts in which a certain event occurs.

We live in a highly integrated, global world.  We are not insulated and major catalysts can happen instantaneously — in this case, rapid disease contagion and economic dominoes.  What happens in financial or regional food markets abroad can and does have immediate effects on every American.

Human beings on this planet are inextricably connected and interdependent.

As  the 1918-1919 Flu Pandemic ought to have taught us, our living in an impenetrable bubble has always been a figment of our imagination.

Perspective

We must discern all of the relevant information to establish a meaningful view point.

The United States has had epic catastrophic events before and has survived, becoming stronger: Civil War, two World Wars, Great Depression, 9/11, Great Recession and other monumental challenges.

This corona virus calamity, too, shall pass.

Attitude

We must choose the right orientation.  Optimism and positivity are actionable choices that individuals, teams, groups, and nations are free to make.

There are no short- or long-term positive returns on individual or collective pessimism.  Our expecting and working toward an eventual positive outcome has both immediate and deferred benefits.

SunriseLeadership

We are all leaders, whether you lead in a family, an organization, a team or a government.

Effective and memorable leaders, although mindful of being realistic, pragmatic and diligent, choose a vision of prevailing and winning.  Defeatism is not an option for such leaders.  How will you choose to lead?

 

Copyright 2020 by G. A. Finch.  All rights reserved.

 

CBA RECORD REVIEW OF THE SAVVY EXECUTIVE: THE HANDBOOK COVERING EMPLOYMENT CONTRACTS, COMPENSATION, EXECUTIVE SKILLS AND MUCH MORE

Gratified to see Judge E. Kenneth Wright, Jr.’s review of my book, The Savvy Executive, for the Chicago Bar Association’s magazine, CBA Record.

CBA Record Magazine September/October 2019         – Judge E. Kenneth Wright, Jr., Editorial Board Member, writes:

“If you represent corporate executives, or professionals, you should read The Savvy Executive by savvy Chicago corporate lawyer and [Chicago Bar Association] member,     G. A. Finch.  … Finch knows of what he writes, and imparts prudent advice. … Finch provides a compelling, interesting, and challenging source of insight and information on the corporate world and its executives. … The Savvy Executive offers solid, accessible, and practical answers to questions that corporate managers and their lawyers need to know.”

  SavageExecutive                             #savvyexecutive

 

 

 

 

 

LEADING BY READING

By G. A. Finch

It may sound trite but it is generally true that “leaders are readers.”  That is not to say that an uneducated person cannot be a leader in his or her own way; nevertheless, reading has its advantages. We have read or heard that Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Warren Buffett, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, among many other successful business people, are/were avid readers. Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson read books as far into old age as they physically could and prized their personal libraries. Benjamin Franklin valued books so much that he created the first lending library in America, and we know what a wise and accomplished man he was.

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More recent presidents, like William Jefferson Clinton and Barack Obama, are known to like to pick up a book.  Whatever your politics may be, Clinton and Obama sound erudite, do they not?  Their knowledge enables them to sound more persuasive and sound more credible, does it not?  An effective executive seeks to become well read by reading often and reading a variety of genres.

Comparable to reading, but not as much as a deep-seated learning and not, I believe, as satisfying, would be listening to audio books and podcasts and watching substantive videos.  In reading, you have time to ponder, contemplate, linger over and ultimately process the content.  One’s listening to audio or watching videos constitutes a more passive brain activity than the act of reading.  It is, of course, better than no learning activity.

The most cerebral people I know voraciously read books and periodicals.  They are well versed on many topics and subjects and are able to connect them, contrast them, 12386-an-stack-of-old-books-isolated-on-a-white-background-pvcompare them, analogize them, extrapolate from them and meaningfully unpack them.

The act of reading or listening to books is the intention and commitment to learn new things and to be in a continuously learning mode –   kind of like a continuing liberal arts education.  Especially now, the  intention-and-commitment-to-learn mode has become imperative given that the rate of expansion of knowledge and innovation seems to double whether in hours, weeks, months or years depending on the field.

My base technology knowledge as a 15-year old was rather primitive and quaint compared to my 15-year-old son who knows how to put together a computer from off-the-shelf components and to program a robot.  He reads articles and blogs on the internet and watches YouTube videos when he wants to learn how to do something.  That is useful learning.  However, he and my teenage daughter and most other teenagers I know do not do enough reading of books, let alone wide and deep reading of books.  I fear their writing and critical thinking skills and broad base knowledge could suffer.  My base general knowledge as a teenager was far greater than theirs is.  I attribute this gap to the fact that I had read many more books by their ages.13728-a-smart-girl-with-glasses-holding-a-book-pv

By reading, you learn how to write better by seeing word usage, different vocabulary, grammar, punctuation and syntax and hearing in the mind’s ear the writer’s voice.   As I alluded earlier about being well versed, by reading you also know more about different topics to inform your professional or social conversations with others.  It can make your conversations more interesting.  Moreover, by reading you bring to bear more knowledge to understand and solve problems and ask the right questions in your work whether it be professional or volunteer work.  When you face industry disruption, must be a change agent, or need to reinvent your business or yourself, your store of knowledge from reading will come in handy!

For those for whom reading does not come readily because of lack of habit or interest, or busyness, the trick is to approach it like starting any new program (like physical exercise or learning a new language): begin lightly with 15 minutes a day and incrementally work your way up to a robust hour.  You may just remember or find what you have been missing all these years: the joys of reading.  You will certainly grow smarter.  Oh, and by the way, if you have trouble falling  asleep at night, start reading a book; it is quicker and healthier than a sleeping pill.

 

Copyright © 2017 by G. A. Finch, All rights reserved.

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