Is it for me?

We get asked regularly by people as to how they can find out if a portfolio career is right for them. The book has a questionnaire to help you decide and we have decided to make this public. Below is the questionnaire. We would suggest that you print this out and work with it off line.


A portfolio career can open up many paths for you. This assumes, of course, that you do not wish to stay on the straight and narrow.

Having more options keeps you viable and having a diverse portfolio of skills increases your value in the market. Managing your career as a portfolio allows you to take risks, remain flexible and most importantly…thrive in any economic situation. After every recession in the past 30 years there has been an immediate growth in self-employment.

Let us introduce you to a checklist which should help you to decide if it’s something you might like explore.

Below are listed a set of characteristics we have isolated by analyzing our interviews with portfolio career workers. We’ve also drawn on the few academic studies carried out on people who have adopted this career pattern.

For each statement ask yourself how strongly you agree with the statement. If you strongly agree, write in ‘5’. If you strongly disagree, write in ‘1’.

1. I am an excellent time manager ___

2. I work well under pressure _

3. Financial security is less important than doing fulfilling work ___

4. I am not afraid to take risks ___

5. I am good at multitasking ___

6. I get bored easily ___

7. I manage stress well ___

8. I love learning new things ___

9. I learn from my mistakes ___

10. I like working to deadlines ___

11. I enjoy meeting new people ___

12. I am not a perfectionist ___

13. I enjoy change ___

14. I am self directed ___

15. I believe that what happens to me is largely up to me __

16. I enjoy variety ___

17. I have a high energy level ___

18. I cope well with ambiguity ___

19. I can improvise when not fully prepared __

20. I like being my own boss ___

21. What happens in my career depends primarily on me _

22. I like being able to decide when and where and if I work ___

23. I don’t worry too much about the future __

24. There is little separation between my work

and the rest of my life ___

25. I can take tough decisions if necessary _

26. I enjoy revealing that I am someone with many different

sides to me __

27. I can be impulsive ___

28. Overall I feel good about myself ___

29. I like new projects to work on ___

30. People would describe me as assertive ___

TOTAL _____

If your score is:

• Between 115 and 150, you should be a natural for a portfolio career

• Between 65 and 114, you could have a portfolio career but you will need to think and plan very carefully before making the plunge

• Between 30 and 64, you could find a portfolio career very demanding and stressful and might be better suited to a single track, serial or lifestyle career.

Look at the questions on which you’ve scored less than three points. What is that telling you about yourself?

You can see generally that people who thrive on portfolio careers are:

Self starters, excellent time managers who organize their lives very well, who believe they are largely in control of their own destiny, who do not like to be bossed about, have a huge need for independence, are high energy, prepared to market themselves and actually enjoy connecting, like change and variety, not frightened to take risks, cope well with stress and pressure, feel positive about themselves, quite like having deadlines, love to learn, not driven purely by money and not overanxious if they have insufficient at some times, are assertive, can multitask, live with ambiguity and often blend their work and free time. The reason that perfectionists have problems with this career pattern is that there simply is not the time to always get everything right.

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