Have You Considered a “Portfolio Career”?

Posted on February 22, 2018

With this blog, I want to get people to expand their thinking horizons, though many will decide to discount this as an idea.  However, my reason for adding this blog is not to be controversial, but to identify a career option that leverages and exploits characteristics that many leaving the Forces possess:  versatility, multiple disciplines, organisational skills and strong work ethic.

The Forces require(d) each of us to take on many roles, if not simultaneously, then certainly in serial terms.  Throughout a longer career, Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of all ranks do differing jobs, and work with different equipment that they have to become conversant with very quickly.  As a result, we become adaptable and develop multiple skills.

Take for example, a Quartermaster – and I use this example for good reason, as I had to support on the CV for a departing QM, who had multiple roles on the same CV – they are experienced in Project Management, Logistics, Supply Chain Management, Fleet Management, Facilities Management, and a whole host of other roles that would be classed as a single role in civilian life.  They need not take just one of these single roles in their “second career” but could work a number of part time roles and responsibilities utilising the multiplicity of skills.  This is referred to as a Portfolio Career, and has a number of advantages.

A Portfolio Career is about taking on a number of income streams through applying skills to different organisations.  These jobs and responsibilities can vary, but they are usually part time from a couple of hours per day or a couple of days per week perspective.  To get the idea, here is a list of jobs that could form part of a Portfolio Career:

  • Consultant (subject to requisite skills) – self-employed
  • Interim Manager – Part Time – employed
  • Non-Executive Director – Part Time – employed or consultative
  • Multi-Level marketing Business – self-employed and usually referred to as the “5 to 9ers, based on the hours they work
  • Part time work in any field (retail, cleaning, cooking, industrial or agency work) – employed
  • Small Business Ownership with Management in place
  • “Bank” work for a corporate such as the NHS

This is by no means an exhaustive list, and only really scratches the surface, however, for those leaving the Services, it is an option with a number of advantages:

  • Avoids “All Eggs in One Basket”: Having worked for just one employer – the Government – we tend to be of that mind-set, and panic when we do not find a single replacement.  Portfolio Careers offer variety and the chance to earn, while developing that Portfolio to earn to full potential or exceed expectaitons.
  • Time Management – Such a Career enables you to manage (in many cases) what times you work, and you can be more in charge of your schedule. If an “employer” doesn’t support this, then, you only take a partial loss of income, while you seek a replacement item for your portfolio.
  • Diminished Job Loss Impact – Losing a “job” when you have only one can create angst and stress as you seek the full replacement of a salary. In a Career Portfolio, there is less of an impact, and so, you can manage your efforts to replace that part of your salaries.
  • Flexibility – You can get to choose how much time and effort you apply to each element of the portfolio, in many cases. This flexibility translates to a freedom of options, rather than turning up to the same office/factory/shop day in and day out.
  • Variety – Having a number of challenges in life is great. Variety is the spice of life, and being able to be challenged in different environments can be very satisfying.  Further, as you are getting different challenges and enjoying work more, then, time passes much more quickly, and suddenly, it doesn’t feel like a job.

Clearly, there are financial implications around Tax and Pensions, and these would have to be discussed in more detail with a Financial Advisor.  Other implications such as conflict of interest would be have to be considered on a case by case basis.

Needless to say, the transfer to a portfolio career requires an environment that will support it, and further a substantial amount of confidence to decide on it.

Which way would you rather go?


At what point should you start the Resettlement Process?

  • More than 2 years before you depart? (40%, 6 Votes)
  • 2 years before departure? (33%, 5 Votes)
  • Around 6 months before last day? (13%, 2 Votes)
  • 12 Months prior to departure? (13%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 15

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