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Norfolk Boomerang Article


[Norfolk, MA] Can you name a career that offers variety, flexibility, creativity and the possibility of financial freedom? Perhaps one career won’t do it but maybe several careers will. Portfolio careers are fast becoming a new trend in America’s workforce. What exactly is a “portfolio career?” Portfolio careers involve working multiple, part-time jobs performed simultaneously. Typically, a portfolio career includes a combination of temporary or part-time jobs, contract work, freelancing, and self-employment to make up for working a traditional full-time job.

The search for more challenges at the end of traditional careers and the lack of job security in today’s workplace lead to a rapid increase in portfolio careers. From job sharing to telecommuting, corporate downsizing and outsourcing, individuals are forced to look at unique ways to make a living. Gone are the days of the nine-to-five working environment. People want variety, independence, freedom and the ability to be creative in how they impact the world.

Just ask Norfolk resident, Angela Wilcox, who recently embarked on her own three-career vision. “I wanted to use my passions in my everyday work life. I didn’t just want to make a living, I wanted to feel good about how I was spending my day and I wanted to make a difference in the world.” says Ms. Wilcox. A lifelong love of animals and the need to bring creativity to her work brought Angela to pursue a dog-training career while continuing to work at her existing marketing and life coaching businesses.

Angela continues, “I was always the type of person who liked to have many balls in the air. I also needed to have autonomy and be able to control my fate. Working these three distinct careers allowed me to attend to the various sides of my personality and use my creativity in ways I never have before.”

The reasons to consider a portfolio career are distinct and varied. Many are looking for a better work/life balance, others want variety and to be able to use multiple skill sets. Some need to gain freedom from corporate agendas and politics. Others are simply looking to follow their passions or need steady personal growth and fulfillment.

Richard Coutts of Coutts Design Inc. also has a portfolio career, working as a residential architect, software entrepreneur, and nonfiction writer. “Creativity is important to me. Working for myself allows me to pursue my interests where and when I see fit. As much as I enjoy each field that I work in, I get bored if I work in a single field all day, every day. Dividing my time among two or three fields helps keep things fresh.”

Establishing and managing a portfolio career is not easy. It requires organizational skills and a high level of risk tolerance. It’s great for many who have lots of interests and hobbies and simply want to figure out how to incorporate those passions into their lives and get paid for it as well. But, before you decide to take the plunge, find your passion, start out doing a new career on the side and make sure you have some money set aside to help you out on your new venture. Often times, individuals must forgo benefits and job security to pursue a portfolio career. While the risks are great, the benefits of a life of independence, variety, creativity and freedom are nothing but unparalleled. With a little bit of imagination you, too, can build flexibility and variety into your working life.

Angela Wilcox is a marketing consultant, professional life coach and professional dog trainer, pet sitter and pet walker. She can be reached at or at 781-241-2083.