ASK YOUR CAREER COACH: 10-10-10 For 2010

Q. Just 10 years ago, I quit my corporate job and became an entrepreneur. It was a decision that enabled me to earn three times my monthly salary as an employee. However, I found out that managing a business, especially a small enterprise with sales of around than US$200,000 a year, is no mean task. Added to this, the government in our country is not exactly helpful to small and medium scale enterprises. I have accumulated assets of about US$1M and would like to liquidate these so that I can have a stress-free life. Do you think this is a wise decision?

A. It is hard on my part to give you sound advice in as much as I do not know the details of your situation or the economic and political environments in which your business is operating. However, I recently came across Suzy Welch on the Today show talking about her new life-transforming idea of “10-10-10” which may give you a framework in coming up with a wise decision to your problem. Suzy Welch is the wife of Jack Welch, the former Chairman and CEO of General Electric who is famous for his successful implementation of Six Sigma at GE. She is of course an expert in her own right having been an editor-in-chief of the Harvard Business Review at one time in her career.

Suzy says that it’s all about living your life according to your values rather than by the pull and urgency of present circumstances and pressures. To give a brief summary of her “10-10-10” technique, you start with posing your dilemma in a form of a query (which you have already done above). Then, collect data by asking the question, “What are the consequences of each of my options in ten minutes? In ten months? In ten years? Then, analyze the answers and compare it with your beliefs, goals, dreams and needs. Your decision should be one that will help you create a life of your own making.

For more information about this technique, you can visit

Q. I recently retired after more than 20 years in the IT field. My company retires its employees at age 55, quite a young age to permanently retire. At this age, it will be near impossible for me to get another corporate job. However, I received a lump sum retirement pay that will keep me comfortable for many years. I would like to continue to earn some income so that my retirement pay will not be diminished. My friends advise me to go into business that’s related to my field which is IT. But I am already bored with that field. Do you think it is possible for me to succeed in a field I am not familiar with?

A. Actually, retirement is a period wherein you now have the opportunity to start something new. So go ahead and explore new fields! In fact, it is good that you are not thinking of “resting” on your retirement nest egg. Retirement should be a period of freedom (in terms of time and finances) when you should be able to live your life the way you want it. And trying to still earn some money while retired is a good way to be both productive and financially stable.

You can go into a non-IT field for as long as it is an area that you are enthusiastic about. Some retirees take the opportunity to achieve a long desired ambition which may not have been possible while working on a fulltime job. For example, a marketing expert may secretly want to design dresses. Or an HR manager may have dreamed on turning her jewelry making hobby into a business. But, in the same way that you developed your expertise in IT, you would also need to develop your mastery in your new endeavor so that it will be a successful venture.

Author: Regina Galang Reyes. First published in Management Systems, February 2010 issue.

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Founding Editor, People at Work, Business, Phiippine Daily Inquirer

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