I am a huge fan of Strictly Come Dancing. Across the world there are variations of the show, eg. Dancing with the Stars in the US. Whilst we probably expect actors to be able to dance/sing too finding out that a TV newsreader or sportsman are light on their toes and can dance with flair and poise usually comes as a surprise.
I was thinking about this in context of portfolio careers. I met a lady yesterday I had not seen for a few years and she asked me if I was still “in finance” – she knew me primarily as a tax consultant, a career I left behind coming up for 6 years ago. When I told her that I now mainly run workshops on communication skills alongside coaching engagements she commented on how that must have been quite a change. And I suppose it looks that way but in my past – mainly in voluntary roles but sometimes at work – I was involved in and responsible for personal development of my team so in fact it does make sense.
In his book “Juggle” Ian Sanders has a chapter on “multi-dimensional talents”. He describes “creating our own portfolios by mixing skills, roles or even jobs”.
Crucially he points out that during tough job climates having broad talents means that you can – as he puts it – “”migrate” between skills which can facilitate a wider job search.
Having people on their team with broad talents gives a manager multiple options on how to get the job done. Being the person with the broad talents gives you access to wider opportunities.
It is accepted that Generation Y will move from job to job to find what they are looking for managing their own career portfolio as they go. I would argue that everyone should be doing that not matter what age or stage.