Harry has taken the courageous step to reshape his working life and there are lessons for us all:
1. Be very clear about the future you want
Harry and Meghan have aspirations to live in a new location with a new lifestyle – without a strong vision for the future you can lose your way in the transition.
2. Expect resistance from friends, family and colleagues
You will be challenged, misunderstood and resented for being brave enough to choose freedom.
3. It is important to fully involve your partner in your process of making a decision
Harry and Meghan will need to stand together as the full implications of the new workstyle play out.
4. Renegotiating your relationship with your current employer is hard
Harry and Meghan sought to have a half in/ half out relationship – moving to part-time or a freelance contract may appear attractive but your employer may reject it.
5. The financial implications can be complex
You may not need 24 security but understanding your income and expenses in a permanent, full-time, salaried position seems simple. As soon as you’re self-employed or a company director, income, tax, expenses, pension and the ability to raise a mortgage all change.
6. Finding future sources of income should start before you leave
Harry and Meghan appear to have looked for income opportunities well before announcing their departure – we recommend you spend at least six months developing potential clients before leaving.
7. Harry’s future is constrained by his current employer
Carefully check your employment contract and the staff handbook – often there are restrictions on who you can work with when you leave and sometimes on activities you can conduct while planning to leave.
8. Be very clear about intellectual property rights
Harry and Meghan are a brand but so is the Royal Family. As an employee you need to understand the status of copyright materials, confidential information, trade secrets, customer or supplier information, email and social media accounts – the restrictions can be onerous.
9. Harry and Meghan’s status will be reviewed in 12 months
Even a couple with as much talent, resources and status as Harry and Meghan must accept the future is uncertain. Be prepared to live with the volatility, ambiguity, complexity and uncertainty of your new workstyle – it’s a VUCA world!
10. You will find out who your real friends are
Your role, position, status has attracted ‘friends’ who value what you do more than who you are. Accept that many will forget you when you no longer turn up attached to your corporate persona. Tough but true.
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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.