The Appeal of a Portfolio Career for Today’s New Graduates

by Barrie Hopson on November 12, 2010 · 1 comment

in portfolio careers,Work

As you know we do encourage guest posts and are delighted today to present one from Kate Willson, who writes on the topic of best online colleges.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id:

“This type of career has begun gaining traction as a popular choice for new graduates. Thanks to the freedom, creativity, and flexibility that portfolio careers offer, today’s new graduates are opting out of the standard 9-5 work day for the more invigorating type of work environment that portfolio careers offer.

Any look at the media being consumed by new graduates and working-age adults these days indicates that there is a big shift occurring in the perception of jobs and working. In the movies, stable jobs, particularly those that take place in an office environment, are portrayed as being dull, mind-numbing, and all-around intolerable. The protagonists of these films are often yearning to break out of that environment. Movies like Office Space, Wanted, Yes Man, and even the animated feature The Incredibles tell of bored employees searching for something more invigorating as a career. The popularity of these films can be linked to the fact that many members of the audience can relate to this desire for an exciting career that they love, which oftentimes does not involve sitting in a cubicle for eight hours every weekday. With this in mind, it is easy to understand why portfolio careers are so appealing to new graduates.

One of the biggest benefits that graduates see in portfolio careers is the fact that it is less structured and more flexible. They will not have to deal with the monotony of a traditional work environment. Instead, depending on the jobs and projects they take on, each day can be slightly different and offer different challenges, keeping the work fresh and alluring. This also highlights the creativity that new graduates can exercise in their work because they can tackle any job that appeals to them rather than sticking to the same responsibilities day in and day out. Through self-employment, contract work, temporary work, telecommuting, and voluntary work, new graduates can earn a substantial income without having to commit to the corporate scene. The allure of having control and choice over their own careers drives many new graduates to seek portfolio careers.

One of the more practical reasons that portfolio careers are appealing to new graduates is that it allows them to find gainful employment even if they have limited professional work experience. Portfolio careers emphasize that any skills and education can be highlighted and utilized for employment, including the skills that one would learn from a hobby or through personal experience. Many new graduates lack professional experience, so this method of finding work can be immensely helpful. A portfolio career can even help them to build up their work experience for future job searches.

In addition, the negative aspects of portfolio careers, such as job and financial instability, are not deterring for new graduates. New graduates do not typically have many financial demands, such as needing a consistent stream of money to raise a family or to pay off a mortgage, so they can afford to pursue careers with less stability and financial return for periods at a time. This fact, coupled with the appeal of job control and the practicality of finding work without professional experience, is why portfolio careers are so popular with today’s new graduates.”

This is from a US perspective but we have already written on the attractiveness of portfolio careers for UK graduates. Choosing a career style is fast becoming as important a factor in career decision making as identifying your skills, interests and values.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 RobatBloomPsych November 12, 2010 at 5:18 am

RT @bhopson: [New Blog Post] The Appeal of a Portfolio Career for Today’s New Graduates

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