Creating a Career Portfolio, not a Career Path.
In Germany, they call it a smorgasbord. In Hawaii, it’s a pu pu platter. In your career, it’s a portfolio life. If you believe “variety is the spice of life,” then this may be how you design your work life after age 50. It works like this:
Rather than working exclusively for one organization, you work part-time in various capacities. Thankfully, the pandemic is creating the welcome mat for this kind of life. As evidenced in this Wall Street Journal article, pre-pandemic, only 17% of HR execs worldwide were creating programs for retiring in phases, which has grown to 38% just two years later.
Unfortunately, the U.S. is catching on more slowly, as only 23% of U.S. HR leaders said they would consider new options for full-time older workers moving to part-time. According to the Federal Reserve, this lack of phased retirement has led to 2.6 million more people in the U.S. retiring during the pandemic than would typically have retired during that same 21-month period. The lesson: you give seasoned professionals only two choices: full-time or no-time, and more and more of them will choose the latter. This report further proves that most people 50+ favor semi-retirement and a flexible work schedule.
There are so many options for how you can design your portfolio career once you’ve unshackled yourself from a single full-time job. You might become a consultant, a coach or professional mentor, a Board member, or go back to school. For many Baby Boomers, the sunset of their career is when they become an entrepreneur. According to the Census Bureau’s Annual Business Survey, 30 percent of American business owners are between 55 and 64, and another 20 percent are over 65. Wow, who knew that half of American entrepreneurs are 55+?
Here are a few tips for how you might create a Portfolio Career:
1. Determine if your current employer is open to an extended semi-retirement plan for you, which could become one piece of your portfolio while also providing a stable income.
2. Consider whether your career expertise can be transferable into a consulting career in your industry. You need to be careful about this, so you’re not competing with your current employer. Of course, this could also be a solution if your employer won’t let you become a part-time employee.
3. Assess your hobbies and interests and ask yourself if you could make money as a photographer, a writer, or a coach. When you have multiple streams of income, earning just $10,000 or $20,000 from one of these activities could be a piece of your portfolio puzzle.
4. We often have larger living quarters or second homes as we get older. Maybe it’s time to consider becoming an Airbnb host so that your extra space earns you extra money.
5. Become a workshop or conference facilitator as we often become better at these soft skills as we age (now don’t go sending your resume to me immediately, although we will be ramping up our facilitator crew as we open our two Santa Fe MEA campuses).
Variety is the spice of life, and a portfolio career may spice up your relationship with your work and enhance your life in ways you never imagined.