Tag Archives for " self-employment "

Planning a holiday - job search
Aug 01

How planning a holiday can help your job search

By Felicity Dwyer | Career change , freelance

I’m writing this during the summer holiday season, and wondering what the experience of planning a holiday can teach you about searching for a new job or career?

Know yourself

Choosing the right holiday requires a realistic understanding of what you need and want. A lively resort, or a hike in the hills? Would relaxing on a cruise ship be your idea of heaven, or would you be ready to jump overboard after 24 hours?

Similarly, we all feel happier in different workplaces. For example, an exciting fast paced career or a professional field such as law might seem aspirational, but you might in reality be happier in a hands-on caring role. Or you may believe in the ethos of public service, but in reality feel frustrated and feel hemmed in the bureaucracy of local government, yet find you thrive in a start up.

The key to happiness at work is to identify what really matters to you, not what you or others think you SHOULD want.

Accept your life stage

Seaside holidayThere may have been a time when you yearned for adventure, but now you’re better off with the kids on a sandy shore with a bucket and space.

A demanding job that suited you in your 20s may not be such a good fit now. Sometimes family or caring commitments require a re-evaluation of your career ambitions.  And you can do this in a way that sets you up to re-build your career later on. A typical working lifetime is around 45 years. Rather than try to do everything it once, it’s fine to scale back and step up at different life stages.

Research for job search

Chances are that you do a fair amount of research before choosing a holiday. Perhaps you look at options online, read reviews, talk to friends, ask for recommendations… Sometimes it might seem that we do more research for a holiday than for choosing a career!

A serious job or career search requires plenty of research. Google is a good starting point, but don’t underestimate the value of talking to people. And don’t just rely on people in your social circle – reach out to people in fields that attract you. Ask for introductions, see if people will be willing to give you some advice. Find out what your dream job is really like.

Use imagination

Beach sceneWhen you’re looking at holiday options, you may find yourself imagining what it will be like. You see yourself getting up to breakfast on the terrace, going for a daily swim, relaxing over supper in a taverna…

When you’re thinking about career change, try imagining yourself in a series of different jobs or fields of work. What will your daily routine look like: what will you be doing, who will you be seeing, how will you be feeling

Consider the positive aspects, and also make sure your vision isn’t too rose tinted. It’s important that you include elements such as your daily commute. See yourself doing the duller parts of each role as well as the more interesting aspects. Do the positives outweigh the downsides?

Package or go-it-alone?

Do you prefer to book a package holiday – letting someone else sort out the practicalities and logistics? Or do you prefer to arrange your own holiday, booking the travel, accommodation and any transfers yourself?

In career terms, employment is more like a package deal. Your employer supplies the job description, the parameters of the role and usually the accommodation, such as an office or workshop. You provide your skills and energy in exchange for a salary and benefits.

This contrasts with self employment, which can be more like a go-it-along trip. You have more freedom to create your own freelance career or establish a business. But there is a lot more for you to organise, before you even start work. You need to ensure there is a market for your services or products, and be willing to get involved in marketing, selling and managing your enterprise.

Ask an expert

Many of us arrange our holidays online, which is analogous to using job boards or looking at job ads. But sometimes it’s easier and more effective to book via a travel agent. A good agent will listen to your requirements and recommend suitable holidays using their specialist knowledge.

Similarly, if you know the type of work you are seeking, a good recruitment consultant can help match you to a job or company where you are well suited.

And if you’re not yet sure what kind of job you want to go for, a career coach can help you work this out, with impartial expert support.

Wishing you happy holidays!

Career Change Toolkit Report

Career Change Toolkit

Contemplating career change or job search can feel daunting. Download this free toolkit full of resources and tips to help you feel more confident about your next steps.

flower garden metaphor portfolio career
Jun 19

The joy of a portfolio career

By Felicity Dwyer | Career change , Career development

Sometimes, looking for that dream job can feel all or nothing. What can I do that ticks all the boxes, gives me satisfaction, uses my skills, brings in the money that I need? The answer may not be found in one job at all. Instead the key to job satisfaction may be found by doing more than one job. This way of working is sometimes known as a portfolio career.

Benefits of portfolio working

At its best a portfolio career is about choosing to do more than one job, as a way of providing interest, using a wide range of skills. It can provide more satisfaction than one job, and in the current climate can even provide more security, as you are not dependent on just one employer. In the 1980s, Charles Handy advanced the idea of “portfolio workers”, who performed a variety of jobs for different employers. Over thirty years on, this way of working has become much more prevalent, and a preferred way of working for many. Particularly so as many of the benefits of full time employment, such as pension rights, have been eroded.

Mixing employment with self-employment

You might have a mix of part-time employment and freelance work in your portfolio. Or you might be self employed, with a variety of different income streams. According to Karen Gaskell, one of the reasons for having a portfolio career is variety: “It’s like a beautiful garden, with lots of different flowers growing”. Karen’s portfolio “garden” includes her work as a distributor for Utility Warehouse, a FTSE 100 supplier of energy, telecoms and discounts on groceries. She is passionate about this job which involves building relationships with customers, and also managing a team of distributors. Karen also spends two days a week running a daycare centre for elderly people. This gives her satisfaction in organising events that she can see make an immediate difference to people’s lives.

An advantage of running a business and having a salaried job is that you have a baseline income to smooth out the ups and downs that can come with self-employment, but allow you to also run your own business, which potentially can offer much greater financial rewards. Whereas some people’s portfolio will include employment, other people will be self employed, but with more than one way of earning a living.

Complementary strands of work

Dr Mike Clayton is a prolific author, with 12 business books under his belt. Mike loves writing, but it’s only part of his working life. He balances writing with a career as a seminar presenter and speaker. He also delivers project management training as an associate for other companies. Although Mike has a varied portfolio, all his activities are linked in that they are about supporting people and organisations to work more effectively. As someone with a keen intellectual interest in research, the work he does for his writing feeds into his seminars and training, and the activities complement each other. As Mike says: “If I only did one thing, then I would regret not doing the others. It means that I can do different things, all of which I enjoy. I don’t mean that you can do everything you might like to, as I think it’s important to keep focused. But it does mean that you don’t need to limit yourself to doing the same thing every day.”

Is this right for you?

This working style may not interest you so much if you are motivated by the idea of climbing a corporate ladder. Having said that, people who have had a successful corporate career sometimes move into portfolio work in the final phase of working life, offering consultancy, serving as non-executive directors, and often combining this with some unpaid or voluntary work, perhaps as a charity trustee or by mentoring others.

Is a portfolio career right for you? It may be if you have a wide skill-set combined with specialist knowledge, and are self-motivated and confident enough to get out and sell yourself. It requires a certain degree of independence and self-reliance, and in return can offer variety and interest.