Tag Archives: career change

A portfolio career: why it’s the only choice for working mums

19 Oct

image courtesy of http://streetphoto.com

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.

third life crisis

10 Sep

I thought about becoming a teacher recently. Well what 30 something middle class woman hasn’t?

That’s after i tried the studying thing, considered freelance writing, bought a piano to revisit my musical days, investigated ballroom dancing, cookery classes and cake decorating. And of course, as you know, i was set to do the charity thing before i got fired for being unkind about fat people. (Bigots, hear me, it was about BIGOTS!)

But the teacher thing comes back every now and then, and i haven’t put it to bed yet. I was seriously put off yesterday though when a newly qualified teacher (male) told me at a kiddies party that to be a successful teacher you could never ever show any signs of weakness, and that truth be told it was best to make the kids hate and fear you.

All this about primary school teaching. Ouch.

Actually this 3rd life wobble seems amusingly common amongst us 30 somethings. We spend our third decade trying to come up with the “idea” that will see ourselves as our own boss, inspire the nation to spend their hard earned cash on getting us rich quick, sending us spirally up the ladder of social mobility and into a detached house in Surrey with a downstairs toilet and concertina patio doors.

Truth be told, most of us just don’t have the brains or the balls. The best idea we manage to come up with was patented in the 1970s or sees us as yet another cafebar casualty licking cappucino froth from our open wounds.

So we get real, resume kissing our git of a boss’s arse because we need to carry a few holiday days over, and knuckle down to the daily 9-5 grind with a hiss and a false grin.

Or we start thinking about teaching.

It only takes a year to train, and the pays not too bad. All the best reasons for becoming a teacher. So what if the kids are our future?

But them someone comes along and tells you it’s no easy road these days and you’ll have to develop nerves of steel and an iron grip.

Hmmm, maybe that idea of mine could work after all? Now all i need to do is work out how to sew some wheels onto a pair of shoes….