The trouble is, that jobs aren’t created to fit people – people are expected to squeeze into jobs. This works if the majority of tasks you’re expected to complete are in alignment with your preferred skills – but how often does that happen? If you really want to live the life you love, finding a career that fits is crucial. So if you’re struggling to find the perfect career, it might be time to consider looking beyond specific job titles and creating a portfolio career.
For many people, this is a frightening development, but it doesn’t need to be. In fact, it can be very liberating – you aren’t tied to one place of work, one boss, one role – you have several. And this gives you more variety, as well as meaning you aren’t entirely dependent on one source of income.
Your parents or grandparents – depending on how old you are – expected to find a job and stay in it for their entire working life, probably moving up the career ladder – unless they chose to move to another post.
Nowadays, things are very different, with short-term contracts, an increase in temporary positions and downsizing, outsourcing and all sorts of cost-cutting measures. So, very few professions now offer the security of a job for life.
There are two ways of looking at this: it can be seen as a problem, or an opportunity. It’s a problem if you expect to find job security, a pension and job satisfaction all in one place and it could also be a problem if you don’t like change.
However, the end of the majority of jobs for life can be seen in a very different light; it can be seen as an opportunity to expand your horizons, develop new skills and get a great deal more job satisfaction than you currently enjoy.
It’s Not an Easy Undertaking!
Creating a portfolio career can be quite a task – it really depends on your starting point. If you have a job you enjoy, but would like to spend half your working life in a different type of job, but one that you actually have experience in, it could be reasonably straightforward, especially if your boss doesn’t object to letting you work part-time. This is probably the simplest form of portfolio – two part-time jobs in different fields, allowing you to use a wider range of talents and skills than one full-time job. But it is important to avoid simply having two part-time jobs which involve long hours, extra travel time and don’t give you the chance to use your skills.
Usually it’s not so easy, especially if you have lots of interests and want to include self-employment as part of your portfolio. This style of career needs to be carefully planned and that plan should be implemented gradually, especially if all the elements are new. It is difficult to tell in advance if a particular combination of jobs will work. The best way to get started is to hang on to the full time job and start something in your spare time – this could be a small self-employed venture or taking a course, for example in app development or aromatherapy or whatever your main interest happens to be.
What Should Be in Your Portfolio?
Start out by writing down all the things you could do which could potentially make money. They should be things you enjoy doing, things you feel passionate about or that make you feel good. For example, you might be a musician or singer in your spare time and have reached a high level. Or you could speak a couple of languages well enough to teach beginners. You need to find examples where you are competent – you don’t have to be perfect, just better than the average person. Even if you only speak your native language, it could be a skill that will make you money – this of course is true for English which is in demand everywhere.
Next, look at how feasible each idea is and if you will need extra training to make it a reality.In the example of teaching English, you will have more chance of making money if you work abroad and have a TEFL qualification. If you want to travel and teach English, the internet offers other opportunities for your portfolio, such as a travel or language blog (making money from advertising), a youtube channel, creating a video course and selling it online.
Staying with teaching English, if you live in an area where there are a lot of foreign students or immigrants, you might get a job at home. You’ll need to do plenty of background research – there are a lot of TEFL teachers in the UK and so you’ll have competition. And I’m sure the same applies in other English speaking countries.
Let’s take crafts as another example, if you make candles or jewellery, if you sew or knit or make toys, you could try selling them in a local market on a Saturday and then build up if there is a good market for your products.
If you have extensive knowledge about a subject of interest to thousands of others, such as parenting or dealing with a specific illness, fashion, art or film, you could consider setting up a blog, building a following and then creating your own digital courses or books to sell to them.
All of these activities will take time and won’t start making money overnight. In fact you’ll need to do plenty of research and perhaps take a couple of courses yourself to gain the skills to market your knowledge.
But why not start something new in your spare time and see where it takes you?
Are you serious about making a career change, but don’t know where to start? Have a look at my coaching package and then get in touch for a free 30 minute chat to see if you’d like to work with me. https://wallerjamison.com/career-coaching