I regularly get asked about my portfolio career and it does change quite a bit depending on when you ask! Some friends suggested that I describe my current collection rather than just writing in theory about it – so hear goes! This does sound just a bit egotistical but my good friend Professor John Hayes who coauthored my first 3 books convinced me over breakfast this morning that I should do this.
The past 2 years have been spent writing and designing an online learning programme to help people design a retirement that they love. Sponsored by Aviva and free to use it was launched in November. www.livehappier.co.uk
Still contributing to that but also involved in a number of activities related to ageing, later life transitions and helping organisations to maximise their use of older workers. I am a consultant on an excellent project funded by the Gulbenkian Foundation called the Transitions in Later Life project. About a dozen organisations around the UK and Ireland are experimenting with a variety of ways of helping people to plan their retirements and to deal with later life transitions. Really exciting programmes being developed that will be the inspiration for many more initiatives.
As a counter to getting obsessed with ageing in contrast I am an investor and mentor to a brand new business with the simple aim of eliminating childhood obesity! Rachel Dennett, a remarkable mother of 5 has provided the stories and ideas to create a brilliant website to promote this which has just gone live. www.five-a-dale.com
Not sure just where this will be going but I love the unpredictability of projects. And we are getting some staggering publicity and offers in the first month of the site going live.
I chair the Quality in Career Standards Consortium (QiSC) which validates Englands careers education quality awards. This takes me back to where I first started with careers education in schools and then on to Lifeskills teaching and then career development for adults in organisations. My early love of this also meant that I was delighted to be invited to be a non-executive director of Aspire-Igen, the North East’s largest provider of employability, training and guidance services.
Previously I have written that for many of us portfolio careerists is the opportunity it gives us for doing unpaid work. I have always enjoyed mentoring people who had original ideas for new projects and continue to do this. I chaired my local community association in Adel, Leeds for 8 years and for the past 3 years have loved being a trustee of Disability Sport Yorkshire www.disabilitysportyorkshire.org. Busy right now ‘selling’ tables for our inspiring Annual Awards Dinner in March. We get companies to sponsor an award and for that they get a table and publicity. So if you are in Yorkshire we would love to have you join us as an individual for just £30 for dinner! You will meet 400 people and some inspirational disabled athletes and volunteers.
And of course I continue to write and teach about Portfolio Careers. I still get surprised by the attraction of this concept and last month received a copy of our Portfolio Careers book in Farsi. So the idea has now spread to Iran! Interesting to see over the past few years how the term is now widely used in the US too.
And next ? Because for me there will always be a next. I am currently mentoring another inspired young lady who is attempting to use gamification to help to deliver greater wellbeing in the workplace. How much do we need that!
One of the joys of a portfolio career is that you keep learning new things. A year ago I had never heard of gamification and the Five- A- Dale project has taught so much about social media and digital marketing,
Having written 39 books I am constantly being asked what my next one might be. Since writing an online learning programme for learndirect 10 years ago I have become addicted to the value of online learning so cannot imagine wanting to write another book – but we portfolio careerists never say never.
I am also regularly asked when I am going to retire. My usual response is ‘to what?’ In spite of having a carer role with my stroke survivor wife I have a wonderful portfolio life and my portfolio career has and continues to contribute to that. At some point I guess people will stop asking me to do things but even then it is always possible to create new projects. And of course there is always running and cricket! I plan to do my first marathon next year to celebrate my 75th birthday having run my first half marathon to celebrate my 70th. I have just taken up pilates and later this year am going to learn Latin American dancing but especially the Argentian Tango. Ed Balls had better watch out! A portfolio life allows you to do all of this.
And that fokes is my current portfolio career in my current porfolio life. I hope you enjoy yours just as much. Let me know.