Could a Portfolio Career be right for you?

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Portfolio Careers have been in the news quite a bit recently.  A way of working whereby you have a handful of different roles that make up the equivalent of a full time job, it’s easy to see the attraction of portfolio working for certain people.  However, it’s not for everyone. 

The term Portfolio Career isn’t new, and arguably came about from the lifestyles put together by creative people who were often forced into doing several jobs to support their passion.  In fact, Leonardo da Vinci is quoted by some as having had a Portfolio Career because he engaged in a range of activities spanning from his now famous works to engineering design and even anatomy experimentation!  So in reality, could a Portfolio Career assist you to achieve your aviation goals?

Not surprisingly, whether or this might work for you will depend to a large extent on where you are now and where you want to get to.  If for example, you are keen to get a ‘foot in the door’ in the aviation industry and all you can seem to get access to is part-time work, but you need a full-time income, this could be a solution. 

Just imagine that you spot an opportunity in the aviation industry that could get you in the door a couple of days a week, it could be that a Portfolio Career might be the answer to making up the remainder of the income you require.  It could well be that you can come to a mutual agreement with your current employer to continue to work with them on a part-time basis, or you could seek a second, or even two more part-time jobs to make up the income you require and the hours you want to work. 

What’s more, many people see Portfolio Working as their opportunity to set up a small business or sell their skills or experience as a freelancer and find that this way of working sets them up for increased job satisfaction as well as allowing them to pursue the career path that they truly want.

The pros and cons

All of that said, Portfolio Career life isn’t for everyone.  If, for example, you’re not someone who adapts easily to ever-changing situations, or struggles to organise yourself and manage your time, it would be foolhardy to think that this could work for you.  Also, from a financial point of view, there is the upside that you could wind up making more money than before, but, if you go the freelancer or self employed route, you could also find yourself with periods where you have gaps in your work schedule and therefore gaps in your income.  This is something you need to plan for and be ready for.

2 big things to ask yourself before you take the plunge

  1. Is your personality suited to this way of working?  If you’re not someone who springs out of bed of a morning, with a glass-half-full attitude, it’s possible that Portfolio Life could get you down.  With more uncertainty than a standard 9 to 5, 5-day a week job, this way of life appeals to people seeking the excitement of variety, but can be a real drain to those who prefer to know how every day is going to look before it starts.  With this in mind, you really need to work out if this way of working is a fit for your personality or not and be honest with yourself.  Yes, it might get you part-way to where you want to be in the aviation industry, but if it’s going to make you miserable in the process, the price might just be too high.

  2. Do you have a financial cushion?  If you are planning to rely on jobs that are less secure than the job you have in place at the moment, it could well be that there are periods when you need to dip into savings in order to survive.  This isn’t a major issue assuming that you have savings and that these situations neither arise regularly nor last a long time.  Making sure you have a few months’ income as a minimum cushion is therefore prudent before taking the plunge into any Portfolio Career.

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