When I first graduated college and started out selling pharmaceuticals, I was stark-raving TERRIFIED of the work. I suffered what is known in corporate selling circles as “call reluctance,” which is a fear of cold calling.
One of my trainers taught me the concept of Plan the Work. Work the Plan. Although I never really enjoyed selling, that concept has stayed with and served me for years.
In short, it’s taking stock of where you want to be and what you have to do to get there. Then, make a plan how you are going to do it. It takes frank honesty of your strengths and weaknesses, and sometimes a big dose of patience and deferral.
If I pull back the curtain on my plan, you can see where I am versus where I want to be. No mystery – I want to work three quarters of each year and take one quarter off. BAM! That’s it. I am flexible WHICH three months I don’t work – so it’s not inconceivable that I might work four quarters before taking one off, depending on my options.
And, since I am a complete and total Barbara Sher Scanner, I’d love to do different things during the quarters I do work. I may or may not be able to pull that off. Time will tell.
But in planning for that, right this minute, I have a BIG obstacle in the form of my terrific teenage son. He’s a junior in high school. Since some of my wishes and dreams involve working or living elsewhere for a quarter – well, that can’t happen yet. And that’s okay, because I want to be here with him during this time. It’s a big part of why I went ahead and “retired” from my airline job.
So my PLAN is to set myself up to do seasonal or contract work three quarters a year – possibly here where I live, possibly elsewhere – after he is launched on the next part of his life.
Working my Plan means taking actions for the next year and a half that will set up to be where I want to be then.
For me, that means spending that time working very hard on getting more freelance articles published, and also putting this blog in front of people it could help. It also means getting a JOB.
As a practical matter, bringing in a good solid regular income during that time period would help. As much as I am enjoying my exposure to teaching, it might even turn out that is the perfect part-year job for me.
By working on publishing articles and this blog on the side, hopefully in eighteen months I will have a strong clip file, a tribe of fellow Semi-Retiree buddies, and a list of jobs I’d love to tackle and take you along with me on the ride.
Plan the Work. Work the Plan.