Thursday, 11 September 2008

Portfolio Careers

In the last week I have had the opportunity to work with some wonderful educational leaders, to listen to some experienced speakers, to read words of wisdom from some of the worlds greatest leaders, and to interview prospective applicants for a CEO position. My life is diverse and full on - I have a portfolio of interests and jobs and it is simply splendid.

I reflected on this as I read the latest Leader to Leader newsletter, where Charles Handy talked about his life, and questioned of "the viability and the desirability of the lifetime contracts then offered by most large corporations and, ultimately, to my advocacy of what I was to call portfolio or spliced careers." In the future many will be mixing and matching aspects of their lives, weaving in and out of opportunities; considering profit with social justice; and balancing business with recreation.

Amongst other competencies, a portfolio career requires flexibility in thinking, and the ability to take risks. What a shame that teaching professions around the world are often so risk averse. In New Zealand the latest move is to give teachers more 'units', payments to encourage them to stay in teaching and provide a career path. Will this preserve status quo thinking? What about the opportunity for teachers to have portfolio careers? Do all those who work with students need to be teachers? How can we reward teachers to take risks and think outside the square? What about the opportunity for teachers to be self employed, contracting their skills to schools? What about the opportunity for principals to job share - for this to be easy rather than virtually impossible? Let's start thinking creatively.

Portfolio careers are on the rise. As one who has such a career all I can say is...I'm loving it.

1 comment:

Barrie said...

Hi Cheryl, delighted to hear that you are enjoying your portfolio career. Katie Ledger and I are researching at the moment for our new book on the subject and we are picking up evidence that this is becoming an increasingly popular workstyle - certainly in the UK and the US and maybe elsewhere. Do you have any stats on what is happening in NZ? Please have a look at our blog to see what we are up to in promoting portfolio careers. Thanks Barrie