I have been interviewed for Forbes Magazine (online) and for the Huffington Post in the USA in the past month and clearly the phrase Portfolio Careers now appears to be the primary description there of the phenomenon that we know and cherish here. So I was interested in taking up Sarah Brooks’s offer to guest post on our blog to get her views on the topic.
Sarah Brooks is from best people search. She is a Houston based freelance writer and blogger. You can send any questions and comments to her at brooks.sarah23 @ gmail.com. You can of course also leave comments on this site. So – over to Sarah….
“Leonardo De Vinci would have had a portfolio career by today’s terminology. As a painter, sculptor, inventor, architect, musician, and writer—along with several other careers—De Vinci was a Renaissance Man in traditional terms. Although that term sounds dated today, the personality type is not. In fact, the number of portfolio careerists—modern day Renaissance Men and women —have been on the rise in the last few years. Here’s more on this latest trend in careers.
The Rise of Portfolio Careers
Individuals with multiple simultaneous careers have always existed, but that number has been on the rise in the last few years. With the economic collapse in 2008 came layoffs, shrinking wages, furloughs, and other forms of underemployment. To adapt to the changing work climate and make ends meet, people simply began working at more than one job simultaneously. A person in marketing might have picked up some extra work as a graphic designer, another person who taught high school science may have added some freelance writing work on the weekends.
During the recession, with the additional skills they had, the underemployed created new jobs for themselves or picked up additional part-time work in a second or third field to pay the bills. As we have slowly come out of the recession, though, and individuals have the potential once again for traditional “single track” careers, why are portfolio careers still so popular? There are a few key reasons why.
Ultimately, portfolio careers remain popular because they offer a great deal of freedom for people who hold them. Instead of a traditional, single track career, portfolio careerists hold a variety of part-time jobs where they can explore several of their interests simultaneously. For example, someone who enjoys painting, writing, and graphic design, doesn’t have to choose one option over the others—he or she can make enough money through each of those interests combined to make ends meet.
Portfolio careers work especially well for creative individuals. Although it might be difficult to make ends meet with a creative career in art, design, or writing, doing more of these careers at once can make success in these careers possible. Many creative individuals already have interests in various areas, so a portfolio career is almost a natural extension of their personalities.
Although the economy is improving and allowing for a return to more traditional careers, portfolio careers are still appealing to many for the job security they provide. The reality is, downsizing and firings are still part of traditional employment no matter how steady the economy is. For someone who relies on only one career for all of their income, losing a job can be devastating and it can take a great deal of time and effort to bounce back.
For someone who maintains a portfolio career, however, losing one job means that there are still other jobs going on to make ends meet until the gap from lost income is filled. In other words, losing one job for a portfolio careerist isn’t as devastating. These people have the option to slide more easily between careers and stop or start different jobs as they please. While a traditional, consistent, salaried career might seem more stable and lucrative, that might not be the case.
Portfolio Careers = Challenge
For many, a single track career isn’t demanding enough. By choosing a portfolio career, many individuals seek to provide themselves with a challenging alternative to the standard approach for earning money. Although not all portfolio careerists are self employed, they are all typically more in control of their career potential.
It might take some time, perseverance, and creative thinking for these people to move closer to “self reliance,” but that is often just what these people want. A portfolio career might be the best way for individuals to exercise their creative potential and achieve more of their goals.
A portfolio career isn’t for everyone, but more people are finding that it is just what they need.”