On parallel careers and creating your life list

Being multi-dimensional is the key to happiness according to Living in More Than One World: How Peter Drucker’s Wisdom Can Inspire and Transform Your Life. This book is packed with helpful tips on how to reevaluate your work in the second half of life, particularly if you are a knowledge worker.

A second successful second half of life includes:

Developing a second career.

Having parallel careers. These are something that didn’t previously exist in your life and are noncompetitive with your main career. They can morph into a second career or post-retirement career. They give you a window into other worlds and don’t necessarily give you an income. Of course these should not turn into the shadow careers Steven Pressfield warns against.

Social entrepreneurship and volunteer work.

There is an exercise called a Total Life List that is central to the book. It’s a private, ongoing exercise that involves creating a list of:

  1. Immediate family (current and future)
  2. Extended family (current and future)
  3. Closer work colleagues (people you interact with most often in the workplace)
  4. Friends (current and future goals)
  5. People in your various professional networks (current and future goals)
  6. Various places of current employment and (briefly) what your work entails (current and future goals)
  7. Professional affiliations and associations (current and future goals)
  8. Ongoing learning activities (current and future goals)
  9. Teaching (if any)(current and future goals)
  10. Volunteer activities (current and future goals)
  11. Work with nonprofit organizations, or social entrepreneurship (current and future goals)
  12. Mentoring (current and future goals)
  13. Outside interests of all types, including areas such as sports leagues, amateur interest societies, religious/spiritual activities or study, book groups, or creative areas such as writing, art, or playing music (current and future goals)
  14. Exercise and other mind-body activities (current and future goals)

If, like me, you have never read any of Peter Drucker’s 40 books, then this book is a good place to start because it is a synthesis of his main teachings.


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