Second Curve

I heard management guru Charles Handy speak at Greenbelt on Saturday. He’s 90, said the programme, so I thought I’d better. Grossly over-exaggerated, said Handy. He’s only 85!

Here is his diagram of the “Second Curve”:

Charles Handy - Second Curve

This is Handy’s norm. We are born. We spend time being educated – the first dip. As our experience, skills and hopefully wisdom grow, we contribute more and more, until we peak in mid-life and enter retirement. The trick is to realise we are nearing the peak, and start a second curve that will take over, and then a third, and a fourth, and so on. Handy says it takes about two years to re-train etc as needed before we cross on the way up the first curve on its way down.

We need to work, to contribute. The other trick is to balance the paid work; the home work; the gift work, including passion work, volunteering; and the study work. Because pay is compensation for being bored, work out what is enough to live on (much less than you think), and do just enough paid work to cover it.

It’s good to know I’m on the right track.


The Second Curve brought to mind the “Eye of Horus”:

"Eye of Horus" by User eff Dahl -, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Here are some of the meanings given to it in Wikipedia (yes well):

  • “an ancient Egyptian symbol of protection, royal power and good health”
  • “Ancient Egyptian and Middle-Eastern sailors would frequently paint the symbol on the bow of their vessel to ensure safe sea travel.”
  • “Horus was the ancient Egyptian sky god… the eye of Horus was often used to symbolise sacrifice, healing, restoration, and protection”
  • “In Egyptian myth the eye was not the passive organ of sight but more an agent of action, protection or wrath.”

It’s good to know that God goes with me whenever I set sail on the next leg of my journey.