I’ve left and gone back to work at least 3 times in the past few years. It’s not so much that I don’t know what I want, more that that kind of work just doesn’t quite do it for me anymore. I mean I like working, I’m much happier working and am in no way a voluntary stay at home mum. So I keep going back to work, hoping to find something different. Maybe to find that I’M different. But I don’t. The corporate life just doesn’t seem to “fit” anymore.
And then someone mentioned the idea of a “portfolio career”. I quickly googled it “A tapestry or a variety of eclectic employment experiences that when combined are the equivalent of a full-time position”. Hmmm, interesting. I read on. ”Portfolio careers offer more flexibility, variety, and freedom..” mmm sounds good “but also require organizational skills as well as risk tolerance.” Organisation skills – check, I’m the professional equivalent of a one-man band. Risk tolerance? Heck, my mum just died so I, more than most know the value of grabbing life by the short and curlies. Check, check and double-check.
“Portfolio careers are usually built around a collection of skills and interests”. Bingo. Just like my mum I thrive on being busy and am never happy unless I’m doing 3,4,5 things at once. I’m rubbish at focussing on one thing at a time without getting bored / distracted / impatient. Plus, it’s not like we’re talking about anything very new, us mums have been doing this kind of thing for ages. And now you can get paid for it? Huzzah!
So I was sold. I think the thing is that once you’ve been out of work for any period of time, you realise that the typical 9-5 doesn’t have to be the only way. When you’re in the midst of it, it feels like a given. It’s what people do, it’s what YOU do. Only when you take time off, for maternity leave or some other significant life event, and you’re away from the confines of an office during those missing daytime hours, do you start to notice there’s a whole other world out there.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m more than aware just how fortunate I am. For many, work is an obligation not a choice. Liking it or being fulfilled by it doesn’t mean jack. So lucky? Yes of course. I’d still rather have my mum. But if losing her means I have this chance to do something that fits me better, that gives us a better balance in our family life, well I reckon my mum would have been made up.
And if you want to know what the portfolio looks like, and how its risk/reward ratio stacks up? Well, you’ll just have to wait and see.