A portfolio career

When I first started helping people achieve a fulfilling career some twenty years ago, almost everyone was looking for a new job – full-time, permanent and with what they hoped would be plenty of opportunities for future progression within the organisation.

It is completely different now.  So many people these days do not have a traditional full-time job. More and more of my clients are choosing freelancing, short-term contracts, working from home, interim or non-executive positions. Often it’s a portfolio career, a collection of multiple activities, not necessarily all paid work.

With the permanent pensionable job now a thing of the past, many organisations offering temporary contracts and working life lasting longer than ever before, it makes sense to take control of how you work and who you work for.

To do this, you need to be clear about the skills and qualities you can offer and be able to market these persuasively. You need to be career ‘self resilient’, keeping up-to-date with your areas of expertise, and keeping abreast with what’s happening in sectors or organisations which might be looking for someone like you.

In return, there are a number of advantages:

• You can spread your risk in this difficult economy by having several income streams and not relying on one source alone.
• You can work more flexibly, fitting in with family or other commitments and creating a better work life balance (or it can go the other way if you don’t manage it carefully!)
• You can progress in several different fields at once, which gives you the opportunity to switch from one to the other, put one on hold for a while or diversify completely. You avoid getting stuck in a role or specialism from which you can’t see an obvious progression.
• You can use the mix of roles to fulfil the different needs you want your work to give you, be it being valued as an expert, giving service to society or earning a good income.

A mixture of different activities, carefully chosen, can create a whole that is much more fulfilling and rewarding than traditional full-time employment.

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