Plans for chameleons

Roger Trapp reviews two books on staying flexible in your career

In This buccaneering business age, entrepreneurs are everywhere. Thanks to the management gurus' attempts to encourage some of this freewheeling thinking in big businesses, there are even a few "intrapreneurs" to be found. Now comes the "multipreneur".

Taking this route is, according to author Tom Gorman, "the hottest career strategy for success in the 1990s and beyond". In his book Multipreneuring (just published by Simon & Schuster in the United States at $11), he sets out how the concept provides the techniques for managing a more flexible "chameleon" career that ensures prosperity and fulfilment outside the ups and downs of the economy.

The book is, of course, rooted in all the current talk about the end of the job for life and the arrival of portfolio careers. And convincing as this sounds, it has left all those except for the fortunate few - people like Charles Handy who have already lined up a number of lucrative strings to their bows - worried about where they go from here.

Where Mr Gorman helps is in setting out some guidelines that individuals can follow in their search for prosperity away from the safety net of the traditional company. These are grouped under such headings as "develop multiple sources of income and pursue multiple careers", "manage risk aggressively", "act like a producer", "market hard, sell soft", and "handle your own benefits".

The word "multipreneuring", he explains, has been coined from the Latin word for "many" (multi) and the English word "entrepreneur", which stems from the French word for "to undertake". Accordingly, it literally means "more than one undertaking", though the play on entrepreneur is deliberate in that success today largely depends on being something of an entrepreneur.

But, he adds: "Multipreneuring entails more than just acting entrepreneurially."

It actually means having multiple skills, so that individuals "can develop multiple sources of income and multiple careers, either simultaneously or serially".

Perhaps most importantly, Mr Gorman, who has based the book on his own experiences as well as those of others, suggests that becoming a multipreneur involves realising that, "your economic value depends upon your ability to make or save money for others and your ability to add value to processes. Your economic value will not depend upon your position, seniority or connections."

Mr Gorman appears to be a little fanciful in suggesting that this approach to life will enable the participant instantly to have a more honest relationship with the people for whom he or she is working; the freedom to tell somebody where to go must come with time and experience in this field as much as in the conventional environment. But by setting out some clear paths through what many will see as a confusing landscape full of dead-ends and traps he is potentially doing a great service to those seeking to grapple with the modern world of work.

Which is probably more than can be said for Iain Maitland's rather lightweight effort Your Mid-Career Shift (published last week by Thorson at pounds 6.99). Subtitled How to Change Your Job at 35+, it does reasonably well in addressing the particular question of dealing with employers who seem increasingly obsessed with youth.

But the idea that perfecting your technique of telephoning for application forms (see page 99), or having stock answers to queries about your ability to deal with being given orders by someone younger, will enhance your employability rather misses the point.

No matter how bleak it appears, the future is likely to look a lot more like the picture painted by Mr Gorman than the sepia-tinted print produced by Mr Maitland.

Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

News
A Brazilian wandering spider
news

World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas

Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

News
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
tech

Company decides to go for simply scary after criticising other sites for 'creepy and targeted' advertising

Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in the win over QPR
footballInternet reacts to miss shocker for Liverpool striker
News
news

Footage shot by a passerby shows moment an ill man was carried out of his burning home

Voices
Sol Campbell near his home in Chelsea
voices
News
i100
News
Kimi the fox cub
newsBurberry under fire from animal rights group - and their star, Kimi
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Fans of Palmeiras looks dejected during the match between Palmeiras and Santos
footballPalmeiras fan killed trying to 'ambush' bus full of opposition supporters
News
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
filmsIt's nearly a wrap on Star Wars: Episode 7, producer reveals
Travel
travel

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Customer Service Executive / Inbound Customer Service Agent

£18 - 23k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Customer Service Executiv...

ASP.NET Web Developer / .NET Developer

£60 - 65k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a ASP.NET Web Developer / ....

Operational Risk Manager - Asset Management

£60,000 - £80,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client is an leading Asset Manager based...

Project Coordinator - 12 month contract

£27000 - £32000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our large charity ...

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past