Designing your career with well-being at the heart


In July I am speaking at a Well-Being Conference in Birmingham on the topic of career well-being, and will be sharing some of the thinking I’ve been doing about the changing priorities for career management over recent years.

Do you have a portfolio career? Do your want to volunteer to take part in the research?

To prepare for the conference I will be researching how individuals incorporate personal well-being in to their career management and how these aspects are defined. The focus will be on portfolio careers and will consider individuals’ personal motivations and priorities for their career management.

I want to involve two key groups in the research:

– graduates working portfolio, either by choice or as a temporary solution in place of a full time job
– professionals working portfolio, who are mid career and have changed the way they work and manage their career in recent years


I have personally made the change from a work life which was ok and ticking along quite nicely, to design a way of working which has allowed me to redefine what success means to me, to blossom and use my strengths and to do interesting work. It’s been a positive experience but not without challenge and uncertainty along the way. I see this project as a useful way to build on my own experience and my work with coaching clients, by considering the experience of individuals including the positive impact on their well-being and the challenges.

So, what do we mean by well-being? Here is a definition from the book “Wellbeing – The five essential elements” written by Tom Rath and Jim Harter:

“Wellbeing is about the combination of our love for what we do each day, the quality of our relationships, the security of our finances, the vibrancy of our physical health, and the pride we take in what we have contributed to our communities. Most importantly, it’s about how these five elements interact’.

The project will build on published research in the areas of well-being, engagement at work, positive psychology and the changing face of career management. Through speaking to individuals about their experience of working portfolio, we will explore the impact on their well-being, summarise key themes emerging and make recommendations for supporting individuals as they embark on more flexible career pathways. I hope to continue the research by considering implications for employers and educators.

Do you want to get involved?

I am keen to interview graduates and mid-career professionals who are based in the Midlands and who have multiple jobs or work freelance. You can choose to simply take part in the research with no sharing of your information beyond the contribution to the research paper. Or if you wish to use this as an opportunity to share your story on the blog, we will be creating a number of case studies from the research. Could be a great way to raise your profile and promote your work!
If you are interested to take part please e-mail:

If you are a researcher or careers professional doing work in this area I’d love to hear from you also.

Research outcomes

Updates from the project “Designing your career with well-being at the heart” will be shared on this blog. We will also publish case studies and ultimately build a bank of resources for portfolio workers. A paper to share the first stage of the research results will be presented at: Well-Being 2013 at Birmingham City University in July 2013.

I’d like to thank friends and colleagues for encouraging me to start this piece of research and to share it in the form of a blog as I go along. Thanks in particular to Doreen Yarnold one of my mentors, who encouraged me to just keep writing blog posts even though I wasn’t sure where Portfolio Career Connections was heading. It’s great to start this research with 18 months of blogging behind us.

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