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You are a professional who has worked perhaps ten, fifteen, twenty years in your chosen profession and you have achieved a level of success. You have a senior role, a reasonable salary and you are looking forward and thinking about what you want to do with your 2nd Half Career.

We are more interested in impact than achievement.  

Getting Started

Perhaps we have already started in a small way: maybe we volunteer for a local charity or we become a governor of the school that our children go to.  Perhaps we have started to mentor somebody or we just enjoy giving advice to friends.  But, as we start to look into the future, we want to be intentional about making a difference with the rest of the life that we have.  

I believe a powerful way of making a difference is to use all our professional skills, knowledge, and experience which we apply in a different way to give back.  This is how we start to change the world around us.   However, in the busyness of our corporate workstyle this can feel difficult to do.


Perhaps, the easiest first step is to find a charity that is looking for a trustee.  Whatever your professional background (HR, finance, marketing, sales or something else), you can be very valuable to a charity that has a gap for your experience on the board.  Depending on the scale of the charity this may be a more or less demanding role.    Surprisingly, smaller charities often need more support.   By attending a trustees’ meeting once a quarter, or once every four to six weeks, you can have a huge impact.

Stepping down to step up

However, there is another, powerful way of giving back which you can build into your workstyle for your 2nd Half Career.  Start working with smaller businesses!  In our economy, as in most developed economies, the small and medium size business sector is the growth engine for society.  Businesses with ten to fifty employees disproportionately create new wealth.  They are the source more innovation and faster growth.  They can be critical value-added suppliers to the larger.  Your hard-won corporate experience can transform the success rates such enterprises.  Increased success multiplies impact and uses your efforts for greater significance.

Good but how?

I would strongly encourage you to consider an option for your 2nd Half Career as working part-time as a senior executive, taking responsibility for a function, in a portfolio of different, smaller businesses.  Those businesses would not be able to afford a full-time permanent person, but they can afford a part-time person.  With all your accumulated knowedge, skills and experience, you can create fantastic value for them.   This can give you an extremely rewarding 2nd Half Career.  In fact, if you construct your portfolio correctly, you can easily free up a day a week to go and do other things that would bring further impact to your community.  You could be a mentor for a smaller start-up, a trustee of a local charity, a magistrate or local councillor or a volunteer for some cause that reflects a passion that has been energising you for years.


If you want to make your 2nd Half Career count and to move from success to significance, then becoming a Portfolio Executive can be a powerful strategy to enable you to achieve a rewarding and impact making workstyle.


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.