An Alternative Approach to the
“Portfolio Career” Mindset By Chris King
year ago, I wrote the article, I Say “No” to Focusing
… A Contrarian’s View, which you will find here
and which described my “Portfolio Career” and what it means
to me. Right now I have committed to writing a book to be included in
a toolbox about “Portfolio Careers.”
the process of starting I have been sending out a list of questions to
others who have, or have had, a “Portfolio Career” and
are willing to take part in my research. Because I am finding the answers
to my questions so fascinating, I am going to share the questions in this
article with my own answers and the mindset I have experienced as the
answers have poured in.
If you are completely satisfied with your present career and life, are
already a millionaire, or love stability and predictability, this article
is not for you.
is a “Portfolio Career?” (note: this is the way I described
it last year in the beginning of the other article)
This is a combination of careers that also span a variety of niche markets
and focuses. I use different skills and talents for each. There are times
when I focus only on one. But, more often, I work on several of my areas
of expertise within the same time period. Yes, life can get hectic and
sometimes overwhelming. However, I can promise you that I wake up every
morning excited about the day – and I can’t imagine what being
bored even feels like. If you are like me and love the flexibility and
variety afforded by multi-tasking (or think you would), then read on about
the pros, the cons, and some of the ins and outs of having a “Portfolio
on to this year’s questions, answers and change of mindset.
#1. What are (or have been) the careers in your Portfolio?
Presently, I teach twelve fitness classes every week; design. develop
and maintain websites; do training and coaching of presentation, computer
and storytelling skills; write for four websites and three e-newsletters;
produce a monthly, printed newsletter; do professional storytelling; and
am actively involved as a volunteer in several organizations.
careers and combination career areas range from administration,
social services, health care, teaching, storytelling, radio, TV, writing,
photography, consulting, videography, publishing, engineering, military
service, research, religion, and practically any possible career of choice.
#2. How and Why did you get started with your Portfolio Career?
For me, always loving variety, flexibility and change, I would take on
careers that became available, dropping ones that didn’t make me
happy or excited. I stopped worrying about saying, “No” when
an offer didn’t appeal. Today I heard a man say that to become a
millionaire you must take on projects you don’t like. If that is
true, I may never become a millionaire.
others have “just fallen into it” – not intentionally
planning on having multiple careers. They haven’t known what they
wanted to do “when they grew up” so tried many options. Some
careers sprang out of moving to new areas of the country or even other
countries, some from volunteering and finding that a new career love materialized,
and others discovering that a present career wasn’t what was originally
#3. What are the pros of having a Portfolio Career?
The pros for me are flexibility, creativity, change, autonomy (being in
control), excitement, achievement, development of expertise and many skills,
personal freedom & personal growth, pleasure doing what one likes,
risk taking, variety, fast pace, emotional health, meaning, and continual
mentioned, “a larger world view,” “being a
professional in all you do,” “you’re never bored,”
“freedom to do what I love,” “lots of great experiences,”
“being able to do anything I put my mind to,” “personal
fulfillment,” “setting my own schedule,” and “I
get the chance to explore my own natural curiosity.”
#4. What do you like best about it?
I love every day of my life.
responded, “I love being in charge of my own destiny,”
“the variety it gives me,” “respect from people who
feel you are gifted,” “the changeableness,” “knowing
many different kinds of people,” “it challenges me,”
“diversity,” “multiple challenges,” “huge
exposure,” and “do what I enjoy.”
#5. What are the cons of having a Portfolio Career?
I don’t experience any cons, but I did find the answers to this
question especially interesting.
Question #4 one respondent liked the “respect” whereas
several of my respondents felt that the cons included, “People believe
I am not a specialist, but just a Jack of All Trades,” “Some
employers feel it shows instability and/or disloyalty,” and “Difficult
to become an expert or to be considered an expert.” Many mentioned
the challenge of juggling time, becoming overwhelmed with the many different
demands, and being able to answer the question, “And what do you
do?” in a brief and succinct manner.
#6. What do you like the least about it?
Answers to this question included some similar to those given to Question
#5 and, “Trying to prove myself,” “Choosing where to
focus,” “Not enough hours to do all I love to do,” “Making
choices and balancing,” “Other people don’t understand
or have a hard time figuring out what I do,” and the “Lack
of security for projecting income.”
#7. What tips would you give someone who is considering having or does
have a Portfolio Career?
One terrific businessman offered many tips on how to organize, plan and
write everything down. He also shared that a Portfolio Career is “not
something for the faint hearted.” Others included, “Keep the
importance of all of your activities in relation,” “Make sure
you LOVE what you are going to do,” “Keep a balance between
your life and work,” “Don’t limit yourself, do what
fits your gifts,” and “Make a special effort to stay healthy
– eat right and exercise regularly.”
#8. Any other comments?
All were positive and excited about their “Portfolio Careers.”
about you? If you fit with this group and would be willing to
help with my research, answer the above questions and send them to me
just e-mail me for a copy of the questions.
do you wonder if a "Portfolio Career" would work for you? Take
the The 'Portfolio Career' Self Test - or Am I Someone Who Would Love
to Have One? by clicking here.
even be interested in hearing from you if you have had a “Portfolio
Career” that didn’t work out and why.
A brand new FREE eclectic e-newsletter, Career Success Planning, is on the way. I will be contacting former sbscribers to Portfolio Potpourri and all who have taken the Portfolio Career Self Test to subscribe to the new FREE e-newsletter. Use the form below to sign up!
When I started doing the research for this book, I knew that my own experience as a Portfolio Careerist (having more than one career at the same time) wasn’t going to be enough.
After all, those of us who love and maintain Portfolio Careers also love the variety and thrive on doing things our own way. So, I put out a call to those I knew have or have had Portfolio Careers and would be willing to answer a series of questions.
Thirteen Portfolio Careerists answered my call, so you will get the full story
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