by Katie Ledger on March 27, 2008 · 4 comments

in Uncategorized

What is a portfolio career?

Not everyone wants to spend all of their paid working hours doing the same thing in the same place in the same context and for the same employer. In fact it is rather strange historically for so many people spending most of their time doing pretty much the same kind of thing.

A portfolio career is about doing two, three or more different jobs on a part-time basis. They might be totally unrelated (see A) or they might be complementary (see B) or a common thread may be observable (see C). People who opt for this workstyle like it because it can give them variety and allows them to pursue more than than one area of interest at any one time.       

Dr Barrie Hopson is a bit of an expert in career counselling having written among 25 other books,  “Build your own Rainbow”. He has just finished writing The Rainbow Years – The pluses of being Fifty Plus”. We both pursue Portfolio Careers at very different life stages (Barrie is 65 and I am considerably younger!) and this workstyle has provided us with more satisfaction, fun and remuneration than any of the single jobs that we have held in the past. So, we are writing a book which promotes Portfolio Careers as a very real option today with many pluses for individuals but also we believe for organisations.  We have interviewed many people from a wide variety of backgrounds: People who have made this step include:

* A) someone who spends 3 days a week working in a call centre so that he has 2 days a week spare to build up his market garden business and some evenings to develop his website.

* B) Another spends 2 days a week as a supply teacher, 1 day a week as a Geography advisor and 1 day a week working for a Geography Institute.

* C) A third interviewee spends 4 evenings a week as a maitre de at a restaurant, 2 days a week managing a store and another 2 days a week baking for the online speciality food business she runs with her husband.

Many people also want to take this step. The question they have is: “How do we get there from here?”

The book will aim to answer this and we are looking for people with different stories to interview. So are your a portfolio worker? Do you know anyone who is? Please let me know and I will post more about the project in the next few weeks. Many thanks.


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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Christina March 27, 2008 at 10:09 pm

Hi, Katie, just stumbled across your blog. In answer to your closing question: I’m a recent college graduate, but so far have had difficulty finding a “career job” I can bear dedicating myself to full-time. I’m currently working four days a week as a Starbucks barista, with the remaining three divided flexibly between contract web design jobs and personal projects. Theoretically, the contract work is my “serious” job, while the barista position is a cushion, just a little predictable income and some much-needed human interaction. I’d thought of this as an interim situation, but I’m intrigued by the idea of a long-term career of multiple jobs and I’d love to know more about the book as it develops.

2 Katie Ledger March 28, 2008 at 4:18 am

Christina, thanks for your message. Yes portfolio working is a real option for many people especially for those just leaving college. Who really knows what ONE job they want to do for the rest of their lives. Why not try a few things and make sure all your talents and experience is used. Its also more enjoyable. Not sure where you live – I am guessing somewhere in US – but please keep in touch. thanks again. Katie

3 live1 February 2, 2009 at 12:59 am
4 diandian March 5, 2009 at 8:53 pm

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