In this day and age, it has become increasingly common to see people working more than one job (sometimes in completely different industries). This can be done for a variety of reasons and often it's not about wanting more money. People are expanding their thinking and finding ways to have financial security whilst pursuing their passions and other interests.
“It’s about thinking about your career not as a linear, single calling but as a body of work that is crafted and moulded around your skills and interests. – Jeff Goins”
This idea was first conceptualised by Charles Handy (Irish organisational and management author and philosopher) and was labelled “the portfolio worker”. Pursing a portfolio life means you engage in a range of activities (regardless of industry) – some of which you do for money, for interest, for pleasure, and/or for a cause.
In my case, I have two vocations: I work fulltime as a Senior Consultant in recruitment (specialising in NSW government roles) and I’m pursuing a career as a professional singer - performing at corporate events, galas and in musical theatre productions. When I’m in full bore production mode and working, my day can sometimes go a little bit like this:
8:30am to 5:30pm at people2people
30 to 45 minute drive to stage door mic check at 6pm
Perform until 11:30pm (sometimes later)
Drive home and get to bed and get as much sleep as possible
Then, do it all again at 8:30am the next day
The two questions that people ask me most are “do you even sleep?” and “how do you find time to do it all?” These questions don’t really get to my reasons and motivations. Instead, a more revealing question would be, “why do you have multiple careers?” Quite simply, working more than one job makes me happier and leaves me more fulfilled – not just financially, but creatively.
Like anything in life, portfolio careers, are not “one size fits all”. Here are a few pros and cons to weigh up and see if a lifestyle or career change might be for you.
- Firstly, and most obviously - you can increase your income
- Working two jobs or managing two roles can be refreshing - you get to see new people and handle different responsibilities
- It is a great way of marketing and branding yourself in a unique and viable way - your networks will increase, and you would be surprised how many times your different paths will cross and complement one another.
- You spread yourself too thinly - multitasking can be dangerous, even for the best of us and sometimes it’s better to do one thing well, than three things badly
- It sometimes can be frowned upon, especially if there is any question on your performance (sometimes it is even contractual)
- You may be susceptible to being distracted and even burning out - self-health is definitely an important factor to be taken into consideration
- You may push yourself over into the higher tax threshold
All in all, the idea of a “portfolio career” is definitely an option and its potential growth is completely up to you. It will be incredibly challenging, but also very rewarding. But ultimately, the most important thing is to make sure you look after yourself and your wellbeing. If you have a passion you want to pursue, what is holding you back? Go for it!