Well that should get your attention! When you talk to people with portfolio careers you just never know what is going to emerge.
I was talking to a lady this week who spends 2 days a week as an art therapist in local hospitals, is an elected councillor, a prospective MP and spends one day a week working with a charity that helps young people that have a carers role in their families. As usual I asked her about the pluses of this workstyle. She described many of the items that I am used to hearing about – control, independence, no bosses, flexible lifestyle, etc. And then out of the blue she added, “and of course you stay faithful to your partner”. I clearly looked somewhat non plussed at this so she continued, ” well in theory, because you are all over the place, you probably have more opportunity to have an affair but in practice this style of working means that even if you considered it you are always too knackered to make it happen. I love juggling the different parts of my complicated life but I certainly couldn’t cope with having an affair plate to keep spinning as well. So I think that this is another plus about having what you call a portfolio career. I bet no-one else has mentioned this?”
Well, actually, no! This is the first time that I have heard it. As so often happens with events like this you suddenly become aware of links. I was just reading this morning of a published study from the University of New Hampshire which investigated why married people have affairs. According to this study which analysed data from a US nationwide survey the likelihood of a man having an affair peaks at 55 but a woman peaks at 45. Men are 7% more likely to have an affair but women apparantly calculate the cost benefits before hopping into bed with another man. She assesses his financial stability, education and fathering skills. Upper class women are also 8% more likely to get up to this than other classes. Social status apparantly has no impact on men although those with a university degree are 3% less likely to stray.
The lady concluded her discussion with me by saying that when her husband moaned about her complicated lifestyle she would tell him that if she had a traditional job she would be much more likely to have an affair.
After all of this, however, I don’t think that when we list the advantages of a portfolio career we will add ‘ less likely to jump into bed with other people’!