Are You A Portfolio Careerist?

Are You A Portfolio Careerist?

A satisfying life with more than one job

Our fast-paced lifestyles, quest for work-life balance and economic uncertainty has led many of us seeking alternatives to traditional ways of working. For a growing number of people, the answer has been to adopt a portfolio career.

What is a portfolio career?

A portfolio career is the term used to describe how rather than having a single job, you can develop a portfolio of different jobs to meet your personal, career and financial goals. A portfolio career can be made up of part or full-time employment, casual work, contract work, freelancing or running your own business.

The number of jobs you have is up to you. Your portfolio career could be made up of two or more roles carrying out similar types of work, or pursuing activities in different sectors and roles. Portfolio working allows you to tap into your skills, attributes and experience in a fulfilling way.

In economically uncertain times, a portfolio career offers a way to generate multiple income streams with the potential for increased income whilst spreading the financial risk. If you lose one of your portfolio jobs through redundancy for example, you can step up your efforts in other areas to compensate. You will never be completely without work since you will have other jobs to fall back on.

Who does a portfolio career suit most?

Those who like a lot of variety in their work or who get bored easily are most suited to a portfolio career. If the daily grind of working nine to five, five days a week for the same company year after year is your idea of hell, you might want to consider a portfolio career.

Typical attributes of a portfolio careerist:

  • Self-motivated
  • Enjoys variety
  • Comfortable with change
  • Flexible
  • Reliable
  • Meets deadlines
  • Well organised
  • Multi-tasker
  • Able to prioritise
  • Likes a challenge
  • Entrepreneurial spirit

A portfolio career provides the opportunity for you to wear different hats, nurture talents, learn and use different skills. Portfolio careers might not be for everyone but for those who it does suit, the realisation they can pursue multiple career paths is life changing, allowing the fulfillment of hopes and dreams, boosting their enthusiasm and providing a fresh outlook on life.

Advantages of a portfolio career

  • Enables you to take advantage of the growing amount of contract and casual work
  • Gives you the freedom to choose the work you want to do and when
  • Can allow you to try out or move gradually into self-employment
  • Gives you the ability to craft a better work-life balance
  • May offer the opportunity to work from home
  • Can lead to greater income levels than a single job

Disadvantages of a portfolio career

  • Can be precarious if you lack job security in any or all of your roles
  • Can result in working more hours than desired
  • Potential to feel isolated if not working as part of a team
  • Could be less financially lucrative as a well paid, single full-time job
  • May feel torn between different roles and struggle to remain focused

How to develop a portfolio career

You might already have a portfolio career but not realise it. Your portfolio could include two, three or more different roles or careers. You might work full-time as an architect, part-time as a musician and write for a cycling magazine. Perhaps you have a steady part-time job, run your own internet-based business from home and tutor math a few evenings a week.

Whatever form your portfolio career takes, make sure you identify a clear purpose for each of your roles. It can be helpful to develop a weekly or monthly schedule which can act as a visual aid to identify where you might be stretched or where you can invest more of your time.

If you’re just getting started, you’ll need to identify your values, personal and career goals as well as determining your financial needs. This will help you decide on the kinds and amount of work that will make up your portfolio.

If you would like to know more about portfolio careers or get help with developing and managing yours, get in touch with one of the team at CareerWorx. We provide professional career coaching services to individuals face-to-face (in London, Guildford and Portsmouth) and via Skype, contact us for more information.

Picture of Lisa LaRue, MCareerDev,  RCDP, MAC

Lisa LaRue, MCareerDev, RCDP, MAC

Career Coach, EMCC-Accredited Master Practitioner Coach and CDI-Registered Career Development Professional with more than 20 years’ experience helping achieve successful and fulfilling careers.



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