Once upon a time one was offered a job and remained with that employer for several decades. Moving on was barely a thought! As time passed employees looking to broaden their career opportunities came to average six or seven jobs throughout their working career. Today, a more transient approach is being savoured with a growing portion of the population seeking a multitude of part-time jobs that collectively equate to one full-time role. This portfolio career including temporary jobs, freelancing and self-employment creates a flexible lifestyle, but it is not without its challenges.

Pondering why one would want to juggle a multitude of jobs, I ask you, does one actively seek out a portfolio career or do circumstances outside of one’s control lead to such an employment situation? Some of you have found yourself in a position where you are undertaking the same type of work with multiple employers. It’s likely that neither employer can offer you full-time work, but are happy to coordinate a schedule where you can easily manage both across the normal working week. Some of you are performing multiple roles for the same employer, again accruing a full-time wage across the average working week. Others of you are seeking to broaden your personal development. While happily employed your ambitions are not being realised as you lack a key skill; people management for instance. You take on a volunteer role as a sports coach or event organiser for a not-for-profit organisation in your spare time. With an eye on a management position the extra effort will soon be rewarded.

A key advantage of working multiple jobs is the exposure to and exploration of different types of work and working environments. This is particularly suited to the younger generation who are looking to discover where their true career passion lies. Needless to say the experience gained is highly invaluable. Yet if this is to be a long term career strategy, you must ensure your skills remain sharp and continually developed and that you remain at the fore of industry trends.

Working several job roles does require a certain skill set. Exceptional time management and organisational skills are essential. The absence thereof can lead to heightened levels of stress and the potential loss of a job, particularly if you work two jobs across the one day. Open communication with employers is required to stay true to your schedule and will help when you need to coordinate a full day off from your jobs. Multiple jobs generally means less time spent with family and friends too. Before you take the leap, assess the impact it will have upon your personal life, relationships, health and long term work performance. If the effect is too negative you may have to reconsider multiple job roles. Even in the face of forfeiting income. If you find yourself in this situation, you may have to concede that the one full-time job role is what will allow you achieve a work-life balance that suits both your values and your needs.

I want to ask you though, is this employment transition one that employers will welcome and support? Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics demonstrates it to be a growing trend with recent statistics showing:

–         763,000 Australians have a second job; a 9 per cent jump in the six years to June 2016

–         13.2 million jobs were recorded in June 2016, but the number of employed people was 12.5 million

In the face of the increased living cost and sluggish wage rises, the trend these figures present begs me to again ask; is the rise of a portfolio careerist a lifestyle choice people are willingly making or are other factors forcing this trend upon us? The long term effects on both the broader workforce and individuals/families is yet to be truly realised, however it will be interesting to watch this evolution in the coming years. What are your thoughts?

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