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Pick and mix

 
 
You know, I have always been in Praise of Slow. Normally it’s in the context of crafty ditherings but it can also be re life choices and similar trivia. I was made redundant almost 5 months ago. I had Little One almost three years ago. I was dx 5 years ago. Yep, it’s my diagnosisary folks. And where have I got to? What have I learnt?
 
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My thoughts have meandered and then centred on how my choices would have been so different had I not been so convinced I needed to stick with my (large, dependable, safe) employer. I now know that it’s perfectly possible to pick and mix AND progress, develop and be commercially successful. I learnt a lot at the mumsnet Blogfest last year, mainly from other, more experienced freelancers. Step up mme Lindor, Mme Guillotine et al. I have also learnt from my RL friedns most of whom are self employed. And then I’ve discovered that the world does not stop when you get your P45. Actually, it changes and it opens new possibilities.
 
What has fired me up to write more than my habitual haiku? I recently submitted a piece to the wonderful Jump magazine and I got to reflecting on how, when I was at school and later university, the knowledge that a portfolio career could be preferable to a traditional one would have been gold dust to me. 
 
I have been known to lament that you can’t have it all. You either sacrifice advancement or family time. I still strongly believe that a hefty dose of realism is needed when the concept of SuperMums is aired. But maybe, just maybe there’s a third way? 
 
Start off in life willing to bend with life’s ups and downs, collect transferable skills, access technology and all it can give you, refuse to be bounded by the traditional working models of 9-5 office life, focus on results and deliverable rather than process, network, share, blend work and life. What if we taught our young these values? Could we help our children avoid sleepwalking into mediocrity and achieve their potential? Boys too. I think so. I really do.
 
About 6 years ago I wrote a list of what my perfect day consisted of. Despite Parkinson’s, I reckon I’ve got about 90% now. And it’s thanks to going portfolio. I know things could change but whatever, it’s taught me that boundaries should be guidelines and career cliches challenged. 
 
What do you think? I’m going to expand this issue, build on these bare bones of an idea. What is your view?

5 thoughts on “Pick and mix

  1. The variety and networking power of my day-to-day are so much more rewarding than my nine-to-five science life. I love being a scientist, but I love talking to people more. Circumstances beyond my control forced me to look at my career, outside of academia, but no less valid.

    Good luck with your portfolio x.

  2. I think different things work for different times. I’d love a portfolio career but the reality is that my current, much maligned, job gives me stability and flexibility of hours, with a fairly decent pay, ideal for having a young family (I appreciate not everyone gets that even in stable job). But I do aim for a portfolio career one day, when I can cope more with the insecurity & the balancing of different careers.

    I think you have to look at your career to date as enabling you to get where you are now. Would you have had the skills, confidence, finances to do what you are doing now if you hadn’t have put in the years in your old company?

    I’m really pleased things are working out for you now.

    1. You’re absolutely right of course in that my experience and education informs what I can hold out to others to be capable of. I’m not knocking the path I and so many others have chosen. I’m just fascinated by what could be achieved if you started off with a modular approach to work, career, life. My feeling is that with a fair wind one could do a lot better and balancing fulfilling, lucrative work with children, caring for elderly parents, writing that novel. We should get together and discuss!

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