The last few times I updated my LinkedIn profile I got hundreds of congratulatory messages. Far be it from me to complain about the kindness of my network in wishing me good luck with the “new job,” but the fact is, I don’t actually have a new job.
I do, however, have A LOT of work, and I’ve never been busier, or happier than since I made the decision to fully embrace Portfolio Working.
But what does being a Portfolio Worker actually mean? To me this is defined by a flexible and modular approach to acquiring, combining, and deploying your skills.
Think of your skills set, experience and connections as LEGO bricks, which can be combined in myriad of different ways depending on what you want to create. It simply no longer made sense for me to try and box those skills into neat categories attached to fixed job titles, or to be tied down exclusively to any one company, however amazing.
I’ve never been busier, or happier than since I made the decision to fully embrace Portfolio Working
The funny thing is that LinkedIn, which is predicated on the concept of making and leveraging those connections, still imposes an outdated structure to profiles which assumes that you should have one job at a time. That is certainly not my case, and I don’t think I’m alone in this. I find that my situation and experience are constantly evolving and like to keep my profile as an organic reflection of this. Long gone are the days when my CV was the most accurate representation of me as professional. I put some work onto updating it earlier this year, but looking back at it now, it’s already grossly out-of-date.
Looking at the bigger picture allows for a lot of cross-pollination opportunities that are infinitely beneficial to myself, my clients, and to various nodes of my network
“A typical week” (and I use the term with heavy irony here) for me is divided across various activities, which are constantly re-prioritized. At any given point I will be managing a variety of projects and engagements at different stages of prospecting and development. I write and edit my own blog, freelance for external publications, and am negotiating a book deal. At the same time I sit on the advisory board for various start-ups, consult with companies of all sizes on supporting their communications strategy, and work with institutions such as UCL on their industry outreach.
To succeed at Portfolio working you need to embrace a Renaissance mindset, constantly curious and cross-disciplinary
One day I’ll be setting up an event about Open Access for a Publishing Industry client, the next I’ll be working with an agency partner to get coverage for a news release, I then might deliver media training workshop at a startup before donning my journalist hat to demo the latest Virtual Reality gear for an article. I’m sometimes asked how I keep all these activities separate in my mind, and the short answer is that I don’t. They’re all part of what I do and who I am, and this is my USP. Sure, you need to keep track of what you’re doing for whom, but seeing it all as part of a bigger picture allows for a lot of cross-pollination opportunities that are infinitely beneficial to myself, my clients, and to various nodes of my network.
To succeed at Portfolio working you need to embrace a Renaissance mindset, constantly curious, cross-disciplinary, finding the overlap between, science and art, and greedily hoarding new bricks to add to your wall. It might not be for everybody, but I’m certainly enjoying the ride.
And thanks for all the lovely messages!