The barbell strategy

By Jessica Stillman via   Article

Why You Should Treat Your Career Like an Investment Portfolio

“… borrow the wisdom of best-selling author and investor Nicholas Nassim Taleb and diversify your career portfolio from the outset using the ‘barbell strategy.’

‘Taleb advises putting about 90 percent of one’s money into extremely safe options and getting adventurous with the rest. That way, investors can benefit from the big potential wins and forward-looking options afforded by diversification, without risking too much,’ he explains. ‘Play only on the extremes of safe and speculative; avoid anything in between. Hence, the resemblance to a barbell, where the weights are at both ends, with nothing in the middle.’

The barbell career

Translated into a career strategy that means taking at least one safe gig and one that’s high risk and high reward (a type of job which Falco terms ‘specbell’). ‘Depending on your situation, viable Specbells might include online courses, charity work, a part-time business, or even spending a few hours a week working in a different department of your company. You can follow your passions, even the non-paying ones, without overhauling your lifestyle,’ he writes.

Rather than try to strike a balance between work and home, risk and reward, and always finding yourself torn and dissatisfied with middling compromises, this strategy promises to both make you happier and more comfortable in an uncertain world. Not only does it help you sharpen your skills and avoid getting in a career rut, but ‘the barbell strategy lets people engage in trial and error, to tinker and to make small ‘right’ mistakes that help them learn and improve empirically, but do not break them,’ Falco concludes.”



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