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Probably the context in which you have the strongest relationships and the strongest potential to develop your 2nd Half Career is actually with your current employer. At first sight, you may question how favourably your employer will look at your proposal to become independent. You may be a senior member of the team, somebody they rely on, with lots of experience. It could be your departure marks the end of a beautiful relationship, but there are some ways to sell your transition as a win-win for you both. Let’s look bit further:
1) Transitions already planned at your employer
What are the future plans of the business that you are in. There may be some significant transition that is already planned. Perhaps a reorganisation, relocation, merger, an acquisition or maybe opening a new territory or launch of a new product or service. Can you can position yourself as helping them by moving from a salaried, full-time, employee relationship to becoming a part-time external consultant. During transitions, employers want flexibility and if you move from being to an employee to an external consultant then that gives them more flexibility. If there is a new division being set up, maybe you could be a part-time consultant to help set up rather than a requirement for them to invest in a full-time person from Day 1.
Look carefully at transition opportunities at your current employer and consider what can you do to position yourself for a part-time, external consulting role.
2) Making your employer your first client
How could you plan that when you leave your employer becomes one of your clients?
Sometimes what you can agree is that you continue to spend a limited number of days a week serving your current employer as an independent consultant after notice is served. They can retain your knowledge and expertise and you are freed up to pursue other opportunities. You may even be able to get them to agree that you can do this in lieu of notice. Rather than having a three month notice period you agree with them that you are going to have a six or nine month contract where you wind down from being full-time to part-time but all the time you are working as an independent outside of the company.
3) Making supply chain partners your clients
Sometimes, when you want to step out into your 2nd Half Career, you transfer your skills, knowledge and experience from your employer to suppliers or customers that form the supply chain in which your employer participates. In either of these cases you can strongly sell the benefits of this to your current employer because you are helping them to have more intimacy with either their supply chain, so that they have better suppliers, or with their customers so that you can help their customers appreciate the full benefits of your current employers services.
4) Building a capability valuable to your current employer
In my career I worked for big professional services companies. They were actually very poor at developing and nurturing tools-based products, but they did want access to them. Building a tool that a professional services firm can use to enable consulting is very attractive to them because their business model makes it quite difficult for them to invest in such tools. What you are seeking to do in the future could directly enable your current employer to enhance their offer in the market and they become a development partner for your new product.
5) Becoming a re-seller or introducer
It may be that in your 2nd Half Career you can sell to your current employer the benefits of you being a re-seller or an introducer of their services into the market because you are providing something complementary or additive. You will negotiate a specific agreement so that you become a commission only salesperson for their business as part of what you do in your business.
These are a few examples of how you can sell your 2nd Half Career as a benefit to your employer. Such opportunities may enable you to ensure your departure is positive and value building for both of you. All of these approaches can reduce your anxiety that as soon as you mention your desire to leave you will have that bin bag moment where they remove your security pass, put you on gardening leave, usher you out of the building with just a bin bag of your personal belongings and no chance to say goodbye to anyone.
Charles McLachlan is the founder of FuturePerfect and on a mission to transform the future of work and business. The Portfolio Executive programme is a new initiative to help executives build a sustainable and impactful second-half-career. Creating an alternative future takes imagination, design, organisation and many other thinking skills. Charles is happy to lend them to you.