Yesterday I IMG_1183bumped into Hannah Gamble who has 2 horses in the field next to my house. I discovered her passion for horses but also for a lifestyle that I found mind blowing. In our book, Katie and I found one person that we interviewed that won our hypothetical race as to who had the most jobs in their portfolio career and the winning lady had 9. That was trumped in an interview that I had today with Hannah.

I was especially interested in her as of course she just falls into the Gen Y/ Millennial age bracket so should be representing the rather different attitude to work that current research keeps telling us about. In one of  my recent posts I  wrote about the ending of retirement as we have known it to be replaced by portfolio living in which people, especially from the younger generations would replace the old 3 boxes of life model (school, work and retirement) with a new one of learning, work and leisure but mixed up in each decade and not linked to biological age. Hannah turns out to be a living embodiment for this new lifestyle. I will now run through her 11 jobs. You will certainly see one thread that runs throughout – the love of outdoor life but then there is also one that does not fit into that template.



1. She raises sheep, cows and pigs. She has a barter system with a small slaughter house and then a local butcher who provides their services for meat. She then sells the remainder mostly to family and friends.

2. 12 hours a week working on the shop floor at Marks & Spencer. Which she loves as she really enjoys the customer contact, especially with older people. (Good news for me then!).

3, In December she guts turkeys for a local farmer. Apparently not too many people are wild about doing this so it pays well!

4. She started house sitting for a friend with animals who insisted on paying her so she realised that this was another income source to add to her increasing portfolio of paid work activities.

5. She has a regular daily commitment to ride horses for exercise when their owners cannot be there and also ‘mucks out’ for these horses.

6. She helps her boyfriend with his tree planting business. She recently planted 20,000 of them in North Yorkshire for a special contract. She also is adept at spotting Japanese Knotweed at a distance and helps her boy friend deal with this knotty problem!

7. Lambing! From March to July she helps up to 300 ewes to give birth, followed up with a range of after birth  services required. Some of these made my hair curl! Look up lamb ringing…

8. She gets the hay cut from the fields she works in and then sells it.

9. She breaks in young horses for their owners.

10. She looks after cows and chickens when their owners cannot do this.

11. Paddock topping for people ( in summer time) and paddock harrowing for people ( in spring summer time )

The other extraordinary thing about this young lady is that for over 10 years she has been battling with a neurological disorder ( Chiari Malformation) which has proven difficult to diagnose but which involves her passing out frequently. This is totally unpredictable but happens in most weeks. How she manages 11 jobs and dealing with this is extraordinary. I don’t think she realises just how extraordinary she is. Hannah is yet another person who has carved out a portfolio career for herself without ever realising that she has one! Not until I questioned her intently had she fully realised just how many jobs and income sources she had.

Few  people would actually want the amazing life concoction that Hannah has brewed for herself but the underlying motivation to be entrepreneurial, always open to new opportunities and not compromising by doing work she hates increasingly is what young people are espousing.

And yes I will be using her to catsit when I am away in future!


Well – not in so many words! But read on.

As Professor of Management Practice at London Business School and founder of the Hot Spots Movement, Lynda is universally regarded for the insights her books and research have provided into organisational behaviour and management. Her most recent research focuses on the organisational, personal and social challenges of a population in which many of us will live beyond 100, and the changes this will mean for our professional lives. I have always found her books inspiring so you can imagine, especially if you read my posting on developing a portfolio lifestyle that I was intrigued to hear that she has proposed five insights into how to prepare for this shift, and the professional ramifications it will have for us all.

1 – Plan to live to 100, and work to 80

2 – Intangible assets are crucial

Lynda suggests that the best way to prepare for a longer working life is to shift our focus away from tangible assets such as property and measurable assets such as skills, and onto aspects of our personality, relationships and outlook that will enable us to be more productive for longer. She predicts that in the future, health and wellbeing, long-term friendships and a positive outlook will ultimately become more important than education levels and physical assets.

3 – Prepare for transformation

“If you’re going to have a long life, and a long career, the idea of three consecutive stages – study, work, retirement – just won’t work anymore. You need the capacity to constantly transform yourself, because what you study at the beginning of your working life just won’t be relevant 40 years later. We’re going to see people taking a break in the middle of their working lives to retrain and to explore different options.”

“Not only do individuals need to be prepared to change, but organisations and governments need to move away from expecting everyone to live through the same life stages at the same time, because where, when and how we study, enter the workforce, leave work and retrain will change constantly.”

4 – Think hard about skills (don’t get replaced by a robot)

“In the same way that mechanisation replaced routine physical activity in the 20th century, artificial intelligence will replace routine cognitive activity in the 21st century,” she says. “Manual non-routine jobs, like plumbing, continue to be performed by humans, and similarly at the high-end – routine analytical roles will be completed by machines; the jobs that are going to stay are analytical but non-routine.”

She predicts that the expansion of artificial intelligence will have a big impact across the professional services sector, creating diagnostic and analytical support tools for decision-making. However, she says, humans will always be needed for non-routine roles.

5 – Work-life balance is the key to long-term success

“The only way to ensure people are productive throughout long working lives is to make sure they go to work feeling authentic, resilient and supported, and leave work feeling networked, inspired and knowledgeable.”

Many of us with portfolio careers are already on this path and our attitudes and skills should make this transition more rewarding and enjoyable.



More about portfolio careers and the arts

16 July 2015

Can you believe that within an hour of my posting my last blog on Australian students being taught how to create a portfolio career for themselves that someone brought my attention to an article in the Guardian this week that was advocating exactly this but this time in relation to the arts in general. Charlotte [...]

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Musicians taught to create a portfolio career

16 July 2015

In the past we have discussed how many people working in the arts are already and have been pursuing portfolio careers for some time now. So it was especially interesting to discover that in Australia knowing how to build a portfolio career has become an essential skill for Australian musicians. ‘Being led by a Conservatorium [...]

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Portfolio careers for lawyers

7 July 2015

“This is a guest blog by career strategist and coach Rachel Brushfield at Energise – The Talent Liberation Company (see below for more about her).” Research shows that lawyers are one of the unhappiest of all the professions, so no wonder then that many lawyers are finding the prospect of a portfolio career appealing. There [...]

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Are you using social media in your portfolio career?

1 July 2015

I have to admit that I am not exactly at the forefront of social media when it comes to furthering project opportunities. As I reported in my last post I have been working for much of the past year in writing a learning programme to help people to design a retirement that they love. My [...]

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Portfolio Living

13 June 2015

A number of people have commented to me recently that I have been very quiet on this site. Someone even wanted to know if I was still alive! Well, I am very much alive but have been devoting a huge chunk of my paid work time for the past year in working with my old [...]

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‘Generation Forward Slash’

23 March 2015

This is the title of a very informative article by Helen Rumbelow in the Times 2 section on March 16. She picks up well on the idea that in the last century people who adopted this career pattern were considered to be fly by nights and diletantes. She talks about the debt we owe to [...]

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Seth Godin – the purveyer of career wisdom

4 January 2015

I have quoted Seth a number of times before and strongly recommend that you subscribe to his free daily website. I particularly liked this one as portfolio workers we are primarily responsible for our own personal and professional development and one of the best ways of accomplishing this is by asking people how they do [...]

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24 December 2014

I have noticed a recent trend in that many people are linking to the assessment tool on this site that will give you an idea as to whether or not a portfolio career is right for you. In the results we make it clear that if you are a perfecionist then a portfolio career is [...]

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