Portfolio Careers Can Satisfy Your Different Needs
Portfolio Careers Can Satisfy Your Different Needs
Who said one career choice or any singular job is supposed to fill all of your needs? That notion is a thing of the past, yet it is a consistent expectation voiced by people who are unsatisfied with their work. If you have multiple talents and interests, it’s simply unreasonable to assume any one employer or job is going to satisfy your every need. In today’s market, having that expectation can set you up for disappointment and make your goals impossible to achieve.

If you are unhappy with your current job/employer, another way to look at how you need to earn income would be to compare multiple income streams or employment interests with a day already filled with multitasking. It’s rare that we have the luxury of doing only one thing at a time at work or at home. Cooking and washing dishes. Planning meals and cleaning. Coordinating activities and getting bids for repairs. Singing and dancing. Serving tables and tending bar. Planning meetings and coordinating logistics. Talking on the phone and typing (a very common requirement for even entry-level positions). Many roles require the ability to handle the immediate needs at hand and simultaneously recognize potential long-term risks. Although there are many ways we can combine functions in one job, it’s possible that these combinations alone are not the sum of all you want to do, don’t produce the income you desire or don’t fulfill your emotional or spiritual needs.

Leaving is not the only way to get your needs met.

Although many roles require several simultaneous yet different functions, the work is still done for the same employer. The culture of a small organization is most likely the same across all departments. In a larger organization, the culture can change from department to department, and that may be another way of finding a “fit” that is closer to meeting your needs. Different activities may be partially fulfilling, but there may not be a workplace that also satisfies your social or spiritual needs. If the culture/tempo/general experience is the same across the company, then you may still be feeling unsatisfied. But even if that’s the case, leaving is not the only way to get your needs met.

Multitasking/multifunctioning can be your inspiration for pairing different functions outside of the confines of your one employer. It is really possible, and more likely, to find a combination of different types of work or sources of income to satisfy all of your different/changing needs while utilizing all of your skills instead of expecting one employer to do it all. The following combinations are just a few of the occupations I have seen paired in the last few years. The reasons they were paired vary from the need for extra income to getting relief from a sedentary job to allowing the person’s creativity to expand while earning a high salary in another occupation.
  • Nurse and window washer
  • Technical project manager and college instructor
  • Claims adjustor and personal trainer
  • Cruise guide and medical assistant
  • Real estate agent and hotel concierge
  • VP of sales and lead singer in a band
  • Dentist and lead guitar player in a band

Other ways to improve your feeling of balance are to plan time to work as a volunteer on a cause that fulfills your social/spiritual/emotional needs or to start a side business that produces enough income to pay for a hobby. Although these options may not be considered careers, they can still be a means to satisfy needs that are unmet in your daily work. In the long run, it may take less time to research alternative options to build a portfolio of interests than to quit a job and hunt for another job that is “perfect.”

Before you decide the grass is greener somewhere else, examine your current situation for all of the positives as well as the negatives. Look into the organization’s benefits policies so you are completely aware of what you may need to replace if you left. If you are able to retain benefits in a 30-hour-per-week role, you may want to negotiate part-time work so you can use another 10 to 20 hours to invest in something completely different. If you still decide you must leave your current organization, take into account that the next role you hold may only be your segue to the one you are dreaming of. You’ll need a strategy for accomplishing a major jump. Open your mind and consider all options before you jump ship. One job really doesn’t have to provide everything you need. A portfolio of interesting work may be an answer to your quest for something more.