The Professional Life Clock
The other day, we had a lecture by a CIO of an IT company. There was an interesting metaphor about a person's professional work experience expressed as the time on a clock; it compares a person's professional life time to the 24 hours in a day. Let me try to introduce the concept here today.
If you divide your age by three, you'd get the time of the day corresponding to your expected position on the "professional life clock." Let's say if you are 21 years old, then you are currently at 7:00, meaning it is the beginning of the day and the beginning of your professional life. If you are 30 years old, then 10:00, at 36 years old, 12:00, etc.
When you are born, it is 0:00 (midnight), and until 7:00, you are in the preparation period before you wake up in the morning and start getting ready for work. Between 8:00 and 9:00, you are commuting to the office, so it is a warm-up and preparation period. Between 9:00 and 10:00, it is you work hard. After the 10:00 o'clock coffee break, you can continue working as an experienced professional until 12:00 (noon). At noon, you take a break for lunch, then at 13:00, meaning at around 39, you start a whole new afternoon, meaning the next stage.
At 15:00 (45), it is afternoon tea time. At 18:00 (54), it is time to leave the office. At 20:00 (60), it is time for some drinks. At 22:00 (66), it is time to wind down. Since the clock only has 24 hours (age 72), anything after that is extra time as if a night owl.
I applied my experiences to the professional life clock and found it quite suitable:
- 8:00-8:40: Learned how to work (24-26)
- 8:40-10:00: Worked hard as a professional (27-30)
- 10:00-10:40 (Coffee break): Studied hard to obtain MBA (30-32)
- 10:40-12:00: Worked hard as an experienced professional (33-36)
- 12:00-13:00 (Lunch break):Founded e-Jan Networks (37)
- 13:00-15:00: Struggled badly to establish the business (39-44)
- 15:00 (Afternoon tea refreshment):Business turned profitable (45)
The hands of a clock are constantly rotating. Applying your age to the professional life clock makes you understand that your professional life is progressing, never regressing, and you only have a limited amount of time. In my case, it makes me believe in the importance of cultivating our abilities to appreciate our present, and not to think back about possible different paths or have regrets.
During the lecture, it was quite depressing to realize that I was 54, which meant that it was already 18:00. "Is it time for me to leave the office and have some drinks?" "Or shall I go home and have supper while watching TV?" I felt this was an indication for me to either work harder on expanding my professional experiences, or maybe to retire and relax. Whatever the path I chose, I shall not regret it!