The Fractional Life

After “winning” the job at a then-hot startup, I proceeded to be miserable and an awful contributor for the next 7 months and 17 days. The light bulb went off when driving to work a stoplight turned from green to yellow. My body physically went slack with relief as I realized this was 45-seconds less that I’d have to spend in the office that day*. But those 227 days cost me:

  • Confidence, which spilled over to our initial failed attempts to raise money (I wasn’t going to work for someone else again) and took almost two years to regain.
  • Motivation to engage in the other important areas of my life — family, exercise and hobbies.
  • Opportunity to positively advance my knowledge, responsibilities and personal brand.

Neither my knowledge nor my skill set had changed, and yet I was a brilliant failure.


Staggering numbers of 20-somethings are moving home with mom and dad and/or remaining financially dependent on their parents. The obstacles to employment and the inability to generate financial momentum are also delaying adult milestones like getting married, buying homes and having children.


-Talk Nerdy To Me

When David Buck was laid off a few years ago from a real-estate company at age 46, he said, he felt “all alone.” Then he met visionary Jan Hively, who said, “What you really need is community.” Buck, of Minneapolis, forged ahead to create his own. With Hively, who had earlier founded the Twin Cities-based Vital Aging Network, Buck co-created SHiFT, a grassroots network that blossomed over conversations in a Minneapolis coffeehouse. SHiFT offers sessions and workshops that have supported dozens of people at midlife and older seeking greater meaning in their work and their lives.

– Minnpost

I grabbed these three pieces of knowledge to share with you, because all three of these stories have something in common. Reinvention happens to everyone, every day. Old and young, rich or poor, male or female- we are adapting. We are coping. We are dealing.

Last night I was with The Kid, an 11-year old I tutor at a Boys and Girls Club in the Bay Area.

We both groaned when we opened his workbook.

“Determine the area of these parallelograms…” Awesome. Multiplying fractions and mixed numbers is a task The Kid and I aren’t very good at.

“Okay”, I said. “Let’s get an example and the answer to it online then we can figure out how to do this ourselves.”

15 1/5 x 2 3/4 = what?

We scribbled and scratched our computations.

“I think I know…” The Kid brightens a bit. You multiply 15 x 5 then add the 1…”

15 1/5 x 2 3/4 = 76/5 x 11/41= what?

We multiply then divide, and the number appears. it’s correct.

The Kid sits up in his chair. ” I got it.”

We get it.

What a thrill- I have mastered 6th grade math. Imagine my relief.

The Kid finished his homework, by himself, before our session was over.


The big picture is complicated  – ( a page full of stupid fractions)

We look to successful examples for solutions – (get the answers from people who know)

We figure it out – (we work the problem and come up with our own answer, because we understand)

There’s the road map to reinvention, whether you are 22 or 64.

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