Howard Figler, nationally known speaker, writer and career counselor suggests that “today’s career success may carry five business cards and be serious about all of them….If one source of income is good, then five sources may be even better.”
Working at more than one job was once known as “moonlighting;” more recently working simultaneously at several jobs became know as the portfolio career. For most people, however, it is easier to understand the “moonlighter” working for needed extra money than to understand why someone might have several “jobs” to which they are committed. Holding simultaneous multiple jobs is not the norm, and those who do, find that they are frequently accused of being unfocused, scattered, unable to set priorities, or maybe even suffering from undiagnosed ADHD.
Barbara Sher in Refuse to Choose, put in a good word for some of these individuals and called them “scanners.” A scanner has intense curiosity about numerous unrelated subjects. Committing to just one career just is not possible unless it includes incredible variety. More than 50 years ago, Donald Super, a pioneer in the field of the psychology of career development stated that we are all multi-potential and one job or career may not satisfy us.
In this challenging new economy, having several simultaneous sources of income may be the way to achieve career success. Now that periods of unemployment are becoming common for many workers, your career success might come from having several career identities.
This may mean that you must learn to think like an entrepreneur. It is quite possible to keep your day job and start a home business on the side. Your entrepreneurial pursuits might be part time or seasonal. With the internet, micro-entrepreneurs can start very small businesses with virtually no monetary risk.
What does a Portfolio Career or 5+ Business Card Career look like? With this career style you may have:
- full time job or two or three employers with whom you have contracted.
- a business that supplements your regular income.
- one or more businesses that you are cultivating to see if they are right for you.
- a source of income you are building for “retirement.”
- a part time business you use when you are between jobs.
Your career identities may come from your “five-plus” businesses that are all related to one theme or industry or your identities may spring from monetizing your passions, interests, or natural talents. Having a 5+ Business Card Career can provide:
- increased income variety that can replace income lost by unemployment or retirement.
- a way of taking advantage of all your interests.
- a better position to take advantage of changes in the market place.
This article was originally printed in ezine May 2010