Just when you had this whole career thing figured out, there is an emerging trend in the world of work, a Portfolio Career. In case you are wondering what this is, according to Dictionary.com, a Portfolio Career is “A tapestry of a variety of eclectic employment experiences; employment in a series of short-contract or part-time positions”.
The part I love about this definition is tapestry. I currently have several clients who are weaving their work life out of a variety of part time, full time, temporary, freelance, contract and consulting assignments. They rely on multiple sources of income and this tapestry of assignments often includes and involves different skill sets they possess from a rich history of work experiences. Think of your career like a pie that’s divided up into different sections.
I myself have a Portfolio Career. I currently see career clients on a part time basis. I am working on a contract with another company. I am an adjunct instructor for Marylhurst University and I do occasional consulting work for Lee Hecht Harrison, an outplacement firm. I am able to use my skills in writing and teaching without relying too heavily on any one employer.
Is a Portfolio Career right for you? Here are a few advantages to consider:
- Multiple income streams
- Schedule flexibility
- A chance to do what you love
- A way to pick up new skills
- Variety in work projects
To further help you decide, Barrie Hopson and Katie Ledger, author of And What Do You Do?: 10 Steps to Creating a Portfolio Career, have a video that features individuals talking about their Portfolio Careers:
Of course there are also difficulties and challenges. Among them organization. It’s like having more than one checking account, tricky unless you know what you are doing. In addition, you really need to be comfortable with constant change, a scattered focus and keeping lots of balls in the air. It can be more manageable if you are using just one basic skill set. Finally, if you really love the 9 to 5 work life, this type of career might not be for you.
Of course this fits nicely with what I tell my clients about the best way to find work, Find a Need and Fill It. A Portfolio Career might just be the answer to that question.
Aly is a creative organizational and career consultant with over fifteen years of experience in Training Management, Executive Coaching and Instructional Design. She has a background in Human Resources and Marketing and has worked in a variety of industries including telecommunications, high technology, manufacturing and non-profit.