After selling my interest in HLT Advisory last summer, my plan was to get involved in one or more projects, board roles and/or entrepreneurial opportunities. It’s been a truly satisfying six months thus far… with lots of interesting work, two board placements, as well as work-related trips to Australia, China, Japan and Thailand.
But I keep getting asked “How is retirement going?” My response? “I’m not retired!” Or to twist the famous Mark Twain lament “the news of my retirement is greatly exaggerated!”
For me, retirement was never in the cards. Freedom, absolutely, but not retirement. There’s still lots of runway left…and I’m looking forward to several interesting projects in 2018 and beyond.
Recently, I came across a LinkedIn article by Frank Vanmeenen, a marketing and communications advisor at Belgium-based Bova Enviro. Vanmeenen’s article referenced an analogy between bananas and different types of job candidates…and the varying stages of readiness.
The analogy suggests there are three types of employees or “bananas” from which to choose.
With apologies to Vanmeenen I couldn’t help but apply the analogy to consultants.
1. The green banana (consultant)
This ‘unripe’ or inexperienced banana is just off the tree…maybe even picked a little early with the idea of ripening on the journey. The right shape and size (staying with the consultant analogy, the right academic training) and maybe even a year of two in an entry-level position, but still early days for this banana.
Consulting organizations are always on the lookout for green bananas. Once acquired, and in an ideal environment, green bananas will ripen over time. But…time is necessary and the ripening process itself often tells the tale.
2. The yellow banana
Everyone wants the yellow banana. It’s perfectly qualified, makes the right impression and is the safest choice. Add a well-known brand name, perhaps a few reinforcements (maybe even a whole “bunch”), and how could you go wrong? Rarely does anyone get criticized for choosing a yellow banana. If the banana doesn’t taste like you expected, you can always plead ignorance. How could you have known…the yellow banana seemed perfect?
Yellow bananas are expensive though…and sometimes it’s hard to know how long they’ll last. Maybe yellow bananas aren’t always the best choice?
3. The brown banana
Also called the spotty or old banana, this one is less attractive and maybe even a bit bruised, but don’t be mistaken. Appearance isn’t everything.
Once a banana has sufficiently ripened it’s perfect for eating. The Harvard School of Public Health reports that bananas can decrease the risk of many medical problems including prevention of carcinogenic diseases.
Brown bananas, often solo—as they become detached from their bunch over time—bring the ideal mix of substance and experience, as the ripening process provides greater depth and applicability.
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So, what’s the point? Well, as a ripe as opposed to old banana—with more than a few bruises earned over 35 years of consulting—I see lots of prospects for staying engaged in my chosen industry sectors: tourism, hospitality and gaming.
And, just to be clear, I have no intention of retiring!