You may have heard of the term portfolio career, it’s certainly a term that’s appeared on search engines throughout twenty-twenty. But, what exactly is a portfolio career, and why are we hearing more of this term being thrown around? The term portfolio career basically means different roles or projects, maintained or managed by an individual, that often span a range of industries.
The individuals skill set is applied to all of the projects & areas that form the foundation of the portfolio. These types of careers encompass multiple skills and require a diverse range of competencies, but generally the term portfolio career is most suited to those who have adapted to life in the twenty-first century, who understand that they can create a unique bespoke career path that suits them as an individual. Some do it for the satisfaction of experiencing all they are passionate about, others do it for a good work/life balance.
‘I have a traditional job’, or ‘I have a career, so I can’t have a portfolio career?’ a misconception, my friends. By it’s own nature the portfolio career means that you can be utilizing multiple competencies in one career path or lifestyle choice (as I will develop on further). Portfolio careers don’t just have to be an individual that has three separate roles, perhaps in your day job your role expands to more than one traditional title and you have a venture outside of that, which you are equally passionate about. Ultimately the term portfolio career applies to any individual who has more than one aspect of their life that forms part of their career.
To use my own career and life as an example, I have both trained in traditional roles, while creating a start-up brand and developing a venture, I then entwined those into my one professional career path with branches that best suited my passions and interests. I studied Journalism, then trained in professional communications and technology, before developing into data analytics and consumer intelligence. Meanwhile running a blog that developed into an agency, that provided services to the music industry. As I evolved throughout my twenties and turned thirty, my career evolved alongside my personal life.
What I hadn’t set out to do, or realized I had been doing historically was creating my own portfolio career path. However it’s something that in my thirties drives my determination to experience all that I can in this journey of life. Now, a very important note; a portfolio career is not to be confused with a conflict of interests. Sounds simple, right? There will be overlaps of your skills that can be applied to all aspects of your portfolio career, competencies that will improve as your experience and knowledge develops that can be relevant to all your roles or interests. However, it is not good business practice to operate what is deemed as a conflict of interests.
An example; if I work for a beauty company, I should not therefore start my own beauty brand. There would be a conflict of interests, and I believe that by making good personal and business decisions, you will form and maintain relationships in your life that will thrive and stand the test of time.
You could hypothetically work for a company not related to beauty and begin your own beauty brand, your skill set could be applied to both, but the time and energy you put into the roles serves different purposes and seeks to harm neither entity. It’s always worth checking with your employer prior to beginning a venture, or in my case, making an employer aware at interview stage that you maintain additional interests. It’s a strength and an example of your ability to maintain workloads and be organized in your own life, and it’s my advice, it’s not a given that you have to. I would always, recommend being honest though.
So, this post was titled the lifestyle edit though, and we all know a career is not the only part of an individuals lifestyle, so what on earth is a portfolio lifestyle I hear you ask…
A portfolio lifestyle takes the same form as a portfolio career, it’s an individual who applies themselves to more than one aspect of their life and career, utilizing different skill sets and brings together all the passions and interests that drive that individual.
If I count outside of twenty-twenty for this example, as I’ve spent a good deal of time this year in my pyjamas binge-watching Agatha Christie Murder Mysteries and being very experimental in the culinary aspects of my life. However, in the years prior to the pandemic I was an intrepid traveler, taking any opportunity to explore new to me places across the country and continent, I maintained my career in consumer intelligence management, I regularly contributed to my own and other blog posts, I created photography portfolios, managed events and marketing campaigns within the music industry while actively partaking in aerial classes, studying astronomy, socializing and partaking in larp events (live action role play – a form of performance and game-play entwined), I lived a portfolio lifestyle.
I’m definitely an advocate for the portfolio lifestyle, I didn’t know it as a teen, but I remember telling my career counselor that I wanted to do lots of different roles and travel and experience as much as I could in my life. (I’ve certainly done that, good and bad.) She said, ‘you can’t possibly do all those things’, well I managed a media degree, drama school and a foundation degree in astrophysics, to create, manage and evolve a business, while building a career. So i’m here to tell you, whatever you dream, begin it.
I might not be able to hop full pelt back into my portfolio lifestyle due to the pandemic, but I have certainly managed to expand my professional skills. From living in different cities, countries and even continents, to archery, pottery, anthropology and astrophysics; if it’s stoked my interest, I’ve delved into experiencing it. Don’t get me wrong, I do love a good evening spent watching re-runs of my fave shows sipping tea too!
By day I work within social media and digital communications. By night I run The Cosmic Mergypsie blog, I launched Curiosity Cove podcast, Mergypsie brand, Cosmic Luna tribe and have a stage persona that I use for my performance, cosplay and larp roles.
In my personal life I’m a professionally trained dancer, keen roller skater, hiking enthusiast, gamer girl, astronomer with a love for murder mysteries and nature.
Be yourself. I am continuing to evolve, but the parts of my life listed above create the woman who stands before you, they are a part of my portfolio, a part of my journey. I’m happy and proud to be the woman I am becoming. Who will you be?