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 Charles Handy in now having the word portfolio careers that we can all relate to. Shame she has adoped an American expression which now has largely disappeared from their lexicon and been replaced by our term ‘portfolio careers’. As Katie and I were completing our book in 2009 we became aware of a US book written by Marci Alboher on the same topic but to which she refers to as slash careers. We did tell her that we were working on a similar book with reference to the UK approach to portfolio careers and why we would and could not use the term ‘slash’ in the UK. Over here it has an unfortunate connatation which links it to a toilet activity!

But Marci and indeed Helen provide lots of examples of people who really cannot find one job that enables them to utilise all of their skills, taps in to all of their values and allows them to create a work/life blend that they desire. Helen is also correct in pointing out that the ONS has difficulty in putting a noumber on how many portfolio workers there are. Shame as it is a rapidly growing trend and seems to have most appeal to the Gen Y’s and to the 60+’s. We know that around 2 million people have more than one job and that the majority do not seem to have been forced into this for monetry reasons but because they wish to live with a variety of work roles. 41/2 million people are self employed and you can bet that a number of them have portfolio careers.

Helen also raises the issue that some economists and certainly some politiicians like to claim that these are not ‘ real jobs’ and only pursued because there are insufficint ‘full time’ jobs available. We also know that having more than one job gives a person more security than having your life dependent on one job only.

In addition we  found that one of the big pluses of owning up to having a portfolio career  was that it gave people an interesting answer to that dreadful old question as to “what do you do?”  Which of course is why we gave the book that title.

But please Helen – no more references to ‘slasher careers’ ……………


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 things. I really like his final paragraph on this blog:

” Every time you hear an expert use a word or concept you don’t understand, stop her and ask to be taught.  Every time. After just a few interactions, you’ll have a huge advantage over those who didn’t ask.”



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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Working in a startup is a ‘dream job’ for two-thirds of people

16 December 2014

The widescale move towards a new model for work continues to develop. People increasingly want a portfolio career or to be running their own business. Large, corporate employers are struggling to compete with start-ups in the “war for talent”, claims research just published.  A study of more than 1,000 people working in companies with over [...]

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Unpaid work in your portfolio career

15 December 2014

  I have always liked to have at least one unpaid job in my portfolio career – sometimes more than one. My latest one for the past 12 months has been one of the most fulfilling pieces of unpaid work that I have ever had the fortune to participate in. I was invited to become [...]

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More and more people are starting their own businesses

7 December 2014

Not every portfolio worker is an entrepreneur but many are. As such some of the latest findings on entrepreneurship in the UK are fascinating. According to new data from information services firm Experian, more first-time entrepreneurs are starting businesses than ever before, and these debut directors tend to come from less affluent backgrounds than the [...]

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How to build an alumni network

27 November 2014

If this makes you grimace then maybe you should think again. I get increasingly bombarded from the 2 universities from which I gained degrees for attending events, giving money, meet ups, etc. Except that as portfolio workers most of us have to network in ways that we probably did not think necessary when we had [...]

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Portfolio workers working from home

23 October 2014

There are more and more people setting up businesses from home as this excellent research report from Enterprise Nation shows. A big plus is that the G’ment are actively encouraging this and ensuring that people can do this without having to pay business rates, seek planning permission and giving guidelines for a model tenancy agreement [...]

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81% of entrepreneurs said they are happier now in self employment than when they were employed

6 October 2014

… is the conclusion of a new report from Barclay’s Bank. You don’t need to read the whole report. Instead look at my good friend Steve Preston’s summary of it along with his insights as to what it takes to become successfully self employed.

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Portfolio careers continues to become the new ‘norm’

29 July 2014

We have posted a lot over the past year in particular with data that clearly shows the increasing popularity of portfolio careers, self employment, freelancing and flexible working. The latest study is from PcW.  Only around one in seven workers wants to work in a ‘traditional’ nine-to-five office environment in the future, according to their [...]

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