A Pick & Mix Career. written by Nick Roud (4:5) Executive Coach

by | Nov 21, 2019

Welcome to today’s blog, ‘a pick and mix career’ how individuals are embracing this as we leap into the new decade, challenging the status quo and getting ahead of the technology curve!

Technology is changing the workforce, what about me?

Technology is changing the workforce, what about me?

Its November 1984 and I am the big age of 10 sitting in front of the school ‘expert’ in jobs and that dreaded question came out of her mouth.

So Nick what are you going to do when you grow up?

What a question to ask a 10 year old who’s only dream was getting out of that small, stale and uninspiring room back onto the playing field with mates. I had absolutely no idea of what I was wanting to do with my career, I was a dyslexic 10 year old boy living in England who just wanted to pull on the white jersey with red rose, tie up his rugby boots and head onto the field……..

Well she said you could go into banking………lets just say the meeting finished there.

What do we mean by a Pick & Mix Career and why are clients of mine working through a plan on how this could come to fruition for them! In todays blog we are discussing a little more about how a ‘pick & mix career’ might be an option for you and how the 8:30am – 5:30pm Monday/Friday might just be something a number of individuals move away from.

Over the years of personally coaching and helping wonderful, intelligent and driven professionals in their careers, the conversation around his/her future has certainly shifted and shifted quickly. Climbing the corporate ladder is not for everyone. Working in a corporate environment is not for everyone. Not everyone aspires to be the ‘leader’. Our options and choices just like those that technology has bought us are also allowing us humans to consider how our careers will continue to evolve and how (we) can shape them to suit our choices.

It is a fact that career longevity has changed – with the support of health and wellbeing our work life is growing longer. Gone are the days of stopping work at 60/65. I am battling with myself to even think about the age my children’s children will work to and if it will even be called a career!

How might all this therefore impact on individuals, families and friends?

Certainly the wonderful people that I come into contact with are pressing the pause button to really consider their future options. Not just moving to another organisation or even taking a promotion, sideways move etc.. They are really looking into the mirror to see if firstly they are happy in what they are doing and if it is delivering on what they need (really need).

I’d like to simplify this down if that’s ok with you (as I do like to keep things simple)

A pick & mix career is like walking into your favourite sweet shop, book shop or record shop, laid out in-front of you are 1000s of options a variety of colours and far to many specifics to mention in todays 2500+ word blog, needless to say not one sweet will taste the same for the next person nor will the same record sound or mean the same to the next person.

Its important that you remind yourself each and every day that, it is your life, and, yes you certainly do have options and choices. You are allowed to pick apart your thoughts, there is nothing that you can’t change and trust me when I say its never to late to make a change.

I recently had the pleasure of working with a wonderful 63 year old and he was planning his next adventure as he liked to call it. He shared with me his so called ‘boring’ ‘safe’ career and how unfulfilled he had been, he had a family – he had priorities and everything else you and I possibly have. The one thing missing was ‘enjoyment in his career’. To be honest he absolutely loved the variety of people he had come in contact with, he enjoyed the variety of organisations that he had worked for but still something was missing……….

After a few heart 2 hearts in our globals headquarters and a few strong coffees his plan (or next adventure looked like this)

  • working with a couple of small organisations (those he felt aligned to)

  • helping them a few hours a week (so he could spend other time on other things)

  • working at his local garden centre and as he called it (just potter around keeping out of trouble). In this role he would continue to grow and learn as much as he could about plants etc.

  • He had a few life long trips to Asia that he and his wife had finally agreed on (getting his senses firing on all cylinder

  • Becoming a ‘mentor’ to those individuals who he felt he could support in there professions.

  • Learn to draw.

As you can see the ‘options’ and choices that he created allowed him a variety of options to pick and play with. In my conversations with him he had faced a number of career challenges – from relocations, promotions, redundancies etc but still at the young age of 63 he was very much wanting to keep progressing and learning.


Lets turn our attention to today and a few thoughts that might be occurring in your world.

Lets suppose for one moment that your position is in question, lets suppose you have come to the conclusion that you might not want to do what you have been doing for the last wee while anymore, lets suppose you have a gut feel that things are needing to change. Lets suppose you have a new boss and you are not seeing eye to eye and you need to make a change. Lets suppose the board have a new direction and unfortunately that direction does not include your services.

A few questions to ask yourself here:

  • What can I do to make a positive impact?

  • Who can I discuss my thoughts with here in confidence?

  • Is now the perfect time for me to do the things/jobs I really want to do?

  • What do I need to do to be in control?

Professionals who I have the pleasure of partnering around the world are not sweeping this under the carpet for another day, they are embracing the opportunity to think inwardly and to put thoughts into action. It is so humbling to see these individuals share there thoughts and ideas, the creativity, the passion and the belief shared with me reflects just how important this is to so many of us and I can say hand on heart that the future is looking bright for so many.

I recently had a friend who for a variety of reasons decided to leave her corporate career that ‘well paid job’ she had spent the last say 15 years developing in and by all accounts was certainly excelling in her chosen profession. Not happy or fullfied, the worry of constant change, the uncertainty and the daily grind had taken its toll. A break was needed and with this break time to just be herself. She wrapped herself up with wonderful healthy foods, daily exercise and fresh air. She walked, wrote and reflected on all the positives – she surrounded herself with loving friends and family, set no alarm clocks, established no plans or routine – she just took her time each day to rebuild herself.

Now, I know not everyone who reads this can just decide to chuck in a job nor am I advocating this but there comes a time in ones life that you 100% need to look after yourself and if this means taking the time out to do so and it is right for you then do it. Whats the worse that will happen………..?

Here were a few questions she wanted to consider and work through with me:

  • How might my future career look?

  • What are my options to investigate?

  • Why am I considering this change?

  • Who needs to be involved?

  • Who can help me?

  • What am I truly exceptional at?

  • How can I develop and grow?

  • What $ do I (we) need as a family

Over the course of a few months all these questions and others where thrashed out and between us (with her lead) a new career was born. It was exciting to see her thoughts play out, how her appetite for ‘pushing the boundaries’ and how this personal work created a new chapter in her life. Something she had created, something that had been lurking in the back of her mind for many years was now something tangible.

It was an absolute privilege to work closely with her over 6 months and to see first hand how her thoughts are now her choices!

The Job for Life Concept!

I do agree and have written about this in my previous blogs that the so called job for life has evolved and those of us who are or have started to put time into this will not necessarily be effected by the inevitable ‘technology revolution’. And I am keen to say that its not just technology that is supporting this change of thought, some people are just keen to try new things and there is nothing wrong with that is there.

Is there an age when people start to work with me on this ‘pick and mix’ career. To be honest no ‘but’ what we are discussing is, stepping away from the 8:30am – 5:30pm environment, having the ability to experiment. I think its important to mention here that the majority of these conversations are with guys and girls who are in their mid 40s, they may well have knocked a massive chunk out of his/her mortgage – got to a certain point in their careers but don’t necessary wish to sit at the top table. They are at a mature level of life when financially they have options and can ask themselves that same question I had when at the age of 10 my professional ‘expert’ in careers asked me, Nick what do you want to do when you grow up……

As we say goodbye to the last decade and head into a new decade there is a buzz all around the world on how technology ‘is’ rewriting the rules, with this in mind and the constant noise of jobs being ‘reduced’ I wonder if these forward looking individuals have actually landed on something far greater than any of us could anticipate. Having the control and forward looking attitude may well out smart ’technology’ but only time will tell and over the next 20 odd years I will be sure to check back in with you on how this is progressing.

So what might todays career look like?

Typically we are either in permanent or contract employment. We are either paid weekly, monthly or we charge for our services. Back when I was a 10 year old it was not uncommon to see or hear of a person celebrate 45 years working for one organisation, a huge celebration was laid on for the person and a ‘gold’ watch presented for time, effort and service to the company.

So that leads to my question today, how could a Pick & Mix Career suppport you, could it work for you? Is this going to be something more and more people around the world look to adopt and ultimately will it become the new ‘norm’.

I have this loverly quote in my top draw and always pull it out on a rainy day,

Find what you believe is great work and love what you do “Steve Jobs”

When I am coaching an individual in his/her career – we make a point of discussing this, what is it you actually love doing (can this love be turned into a career or can it add to your current position)?

One thing is for certain, none of us have a crystal ball, none of us have an algorithm (hope that is spelt correctly) to put clear indicators or % to our thoughts, none of us can know 100% what is going to happen tomorrow, over the next few months or even years but I urge you as we wrap up todays blog to spend some time considering where you are at today, where you want to go tomorrow and put pen to paper.

Life is not a dress rehearsal, embrace it, have fun and keep challenging yourself to change the world.

So the question I leave you today is this, ‘what’s stopping you thinking differently about your career, please don’t waste another day?

I wish you and your families a wonderful day where ever you may be in the world.

Look after yourself and each other,


A variety of jobs could taste very nice to you!

A variety of jobs could taste very nice to you!


For a confidential conversation about your leadership coaching needs, call Nick on +6421375630 or email him nick@roudcareers.co.nz

Nick Roud

Nick Roud

Executive Leadership Coach

Nick is the Chairman of Nick Roud Coaching and a Global Award Winning Executive Coach. Nick holds the highest coaching qualification MCEC. His clients are typically Chief Executive Officers, Executives and Emerging Leaders. Nick’s office is based in Auckland, New Zealand and he travels extensively around the world to coach his clients. You can contact Nick directly on +6421375630