“Easily Turn-Off-and-On-Able”

Sage words from Frank the Tortoise in the first of the classic Creature Comfort ads in the YouTube link here (but the others are worth enjoying too)…


It’s a slogan which should be adopted by the interim management industry.  It perfectly encapsulates why interim management is becoming ever more popular both with employers and with individuals.

People have been talking for some years about the growth of “portfolio careers”.  One of the most eloquent is Charles Handy who has approached the concept from a human perspective through his excellent books like The Empty Raincoat (1995).  However, I was very influenced by William Rees-Mogg and James Dale Davidson’s The Sovereign Individual (1997) which takes a very long view and also illustrates how geo-political changes and technology advances make the concept very real today.

Among the more contemporary commentators and promoters of the concept is Hugh MacLeod who brings a Generation X, meaning-of-life perspective to it with his Crazy Deranged Fool concept. 

  “A CrazyDerangedFool [CDF for short] is, like me, somebody who has the temerity to aspire to work in a way that produces both joy, meaning and contribution for both them and others, while also paying the bills. It’s about creativity, it’s about finding meaning, but it’s also about living in the real world. That’s the reality I want to live in, and from the vast quantities of e-mails and comments I get from y’all, that seems to be your game plan, as well.”

It occurs to me that the current economic climate may be critical event which drives a step-change in the volumes of people opting for some form of portfolio career.  Individuals, whether they lose their jobs or not, are receiving a reality-check that their employment is never secure.  We long ago waved goodbye to the concept of a job-for-life but many people did not fully wave goodbye to the sentiment.  At the same time, technology enables the growth in cottage industries, enables individuals to establish a credible, professional presence and to be heard.  And organisations are experiencing a further push towards considering the benefits of deploying expertise which is “easily turn-off-and-on-able”.

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