By: Nanette Fairley
August 4, 2021


Perhaps you have been made redundant or given early retirement but you still want to keep working.  Or maybe you have been retired for some time and you are feeling bored and unchallenged.  Whatever the reason, as an older person, getting back into the workforce can be tough.

One of the first things you might think of is the need to get another full-time job.  But do you?

Of course, it very much depends on your circumstances and what you can afford financially.  However…….we often immediately start applying for that next full-time role.  STOP!  Have you ever considered a portfolio career?

What is a portfolio career?

A portfolio career is a working style where you combine multiple roles—often creating a mix of part-time employment, freelancing or maybe running a small business.  For example, you could combine a small part-time job (doing work for others) with doing some work independently – perhaps providing a service in your own little business.  You may work part-time – 1 day a week in one role, 2 evenings a week in another and a weekend day in another.

We are programmed to think about that one, full-time role.  But if that has become elusive as you are competing against 20 and 30 somethings, or you just want more flexibility, maybe thinking differently is what is required.

One example of someone enjoying working this way is retired high school teacher Freida.  Freida works two days a week at the local library.  She also grows plants from seed and then sells them to two local landscaper gardeners who know her passion for gardening.  Frieda also does one or two evenings a week at the local community college tutoring English for refugees.  That’s a portfolio career right there!

Some of your work may be paid and some volunteer depending on your financial resources and interest in giving back at this stage of your life.

What are the benefits?

The biggest benefit of a portfolio career is that of self-management.  You decide when you work, how you work and with whom you work. Other benefits include:

  • flexibility, greater freedom and fulfillment
  • more control over how and why you work
  • the ability to explore your passions
  • opportunity to develop new skills and knowledge
  • variety in your work – stay interested and interesting
  • providing more financial security with the ability to spread your risk across several projects roles

Tips for creating your own portfolio career?

  • Do an honest review of yourself – is this kind of work style/pattern right for you?
  • Write a list of your skills and experience and consider how they might be used in other ways.
  • Consider how you want to work – are you open to evening, shift or weekend working? How many days a week do you want to work?
  • Start applying for part-time roles that interest you.
  • Consider doing something you are passionate about as a little business a couple of days
    a week.
  • Especially look in your local community, perhaps a bit of volunteer work could evolve into a few hours/days of paid work a week.
  • Don’t overload yourself at the beginning. Start one role and then once you have done any initial training and have settled, begin to look for something additional if you really want to.

While this work style may seem unconventional to some, it will increasingly become the norm as more people discover its benefits.  So before you get too stressed about where you might find your next full-time role, consider if a portfolio career might be for you.

#retirement  #thirdage  #portfoliocareer  #whatsnext  #workinginretirement