Well-being 2013

photo-5I am speaking this week at the Well-Being 2013 Conference in Birmingham and I will be sharing with conference colleagues the emerging themes from initial research “Designing your Career with well-being at the heart”. For further context take a read of the April blog post about the research and I hope you enjoy this mini update, which gives a flavour of what I will be sharing at the conference based on the small number of research interviews which have been completed.

Is a portfolio career for me?

From the initial interviews the following themes and strengths are being reported by individuals working in a portfolio way.

Individuals with a portfolio of jobs and income streams:

– enjoy the variety in their work
– have a passion and interest in their work, some also reported their work is
very much linked to their purpose (more about this in future blogs)
– enjoy and are able to work in an independent and autonomous way
– have good organisational skills
– are self-motivated

Spreading the risk

One of the potential stresses of a portfolio way of working is that your income fluctuates and you don’t have the perceived security of a “permanent” job. A strategy portfolio workers seem to find helpful is to have at least one income stream which offers some continuity and stability, this could be a part-time permanent job or a retainer style contract. Initial findings indicate that this has a positive impact on well-being and limits the risk compared to working on a fully freelance basis.

Loving what you do each day

According to research by Rath and Harter “loving what you do each day” is an essential element of an individual’s well-being. Initial emerging themes of my research point to the fact that individuals who design their work life through piecing together multiple jobs and income streams, build their portfolio by finding and attracting work which allows them to do what they love to do each day.

Working portfolio is however not without challenges and initial findings indicate that people working in a portfolio way would welcome support in the following areas to help them stay well and develop a portfolio career for the long term:

– peer support and being part of a community to provide a sense of
belonging
– organisation and time management skill development to help manage boundaries
and efficient ways or working
– self promotion and marketing strategies support
– financial advice, particularly at start up stage

I will write another blog soon following the Well-Being Conference at Birmingham City University, which I am sure will help me to reflect on the research to date and move on to the next stage. Thanks to everyone who has taken part or who has supported the research to date.

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