Friday, 2 April 2010

Woman With Portfolio

CC director Ali Muirden talks about her new portmanteau career....

It’s funny how a new buzz word suddenly seems to start cropping up all over the place, isn’t it?

A few years ago, the term “portfolio” working was something you’d associate with a Government Cabinet Minister (I never did understand the difference between a Minister without Portfolio as opposed to one who had one!).

But recently there have been tons of features in woman’s magazines like ‘Red’ and ‘Woman and Home’ and in the daily newspapers trumpeting the new “work/life balance nirvana”: portfolio working.

Maybe it’s because so many people have found themselves unemployed in the last two years and this is one way to make a living but still have a life. Or is it a completely new way of working that will evolve and develop over the next decade, so that in the future this is the way we will all work? It’s an interesting idea and worthy of debate.

When I mentioned this ‘new’ way of working to Lorelei, she just laughed at me. As an actor, it’s something she’s been totally used to doing all her working life. It’s quite normal to her to juggle several different “careers”; a bit like a top class plate spinner who doubles up as a tight rope walker and occasionally does a stint as a trapeze artist in her ‘spare’ time at Billy Smart’s Circus.*

As someone who worked for the same company nearly my whole working life, the last 18 months have been a bit of an eye-opener. I absolutely love the freedom and variety of being a freelance audio producer, audio publishing consultant and e-publishing entrepreneur, but what are the downsides?

Well, first up, the most obvious is the lack of a regular monthly paycheque. Then there is the drawback that any holiday or sick leave is unpaid, which gives me pause for thought more often than when I was a salaried employee, gleefully booking several holidays and mini-breaks every year! Most of all I miss my friends from work, the daily camaraderie and the witty banter of office life.

But I don’t miss the endless meetings, the occasional office politics, an average 200 emails arriving every day, 4 hours of daily commuting and spending a fortune on designer coffees and lunches in London every month. And I definitely don’t lament the demise of my daily use of the Tube!

These days there are websites dedicated to portfolio working.... they give advice on how to ditch the 9–5 daily grind and still earn a good living. Why not visit which gives information on the pros and cons and how to go about putting a portfolio career together. It just might change your life.

Will we all be "Portfolio Professionals" in ten years time? Tee us what you think. - AM

*Just to set the record straight: I have no circus skills whasoever! :oD - LK

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