A portfolio of the sublime to the ridiculous
February 6, 2011 § 2 Comments
My mind has been running wild of late and turning itself to alternatives. Sleep deprivation due to work and a desire to allow my other personae their day have stimulated a flurry of ideas. What else could or would I do if I were not a lawyer?
The question is of course manifold. There are practical questions like what type of jobs are available in the current economic climate? What job would stimulate the mind? How many hours/days do I want to work? Where geographically do I want to work? What income provides a happy medium between enough and comfortable? Then there are the whimsical questions. Could I work for myself, go independent, step out of the corporate scene all together? What would I do if I went solo? How would I get my international kick? What in my armoury of skills and interests could be put to profitable use…?
With my many identities vying for attention, I am decidedly attracted by the idea of a portfolio career. How wonderful it would be to have a small panoply of jobs! Maybe a part-time position for the security, i.e. a modest regular pay-check. Combine this with a regular independent consultancy sideline and add a couple of ad hoc roles into the mix. Building up so many routes would undoubtedly be hard work. I would probably work more hours than I do now – if that were humanly possible – but how stimulating would that be!
So what are the options I am playing around with? At the tamer end of the spectrum there is part-time legal work, whether in terms of days per week or on a contract basis, or part-time corporate communications, both staying safely within the realms of previous careers. Another attractive option would to spend a couple of days a week working as a consultant project manager or researcher for a think tank, trade association or an NGO, preferably one in the energy or infrastructure sector with a sustainable development element.
Still in the consultancy sphere, I could combine my power and water, legal and communications experience as a fully fledged consultant helping small developers to navigate the route from inception to project delivery more efficiently. And for a more human sideline I am considering CV coaching geared at professionals looking to change career – I know a thing or two about that after all – or public speaking training for high-flyers who go to jelly at the thought of standing up to speak.
And then there are the more playful ideas. Having always loved flowers, floristry spring to mind: selling bouquets and posies of seasonal, locally sourced flowers – modern takes on English country garden offerings. Not having a driving license would not stall this ambition as I have a three-wheeled solution up my sleeve. Another quirky option would involve a millinery and mule offering – designing coordinating mid-century modern hats and slip-on heels in gorgeous brocade silks.
Or knowing the joys of a strong Thai massage or gentle lymphatic drainage one, I am researching the training routes to become a practitioner in either. If my father could become a Bowen therapist in his late fifties I am sure my mind is fresh enough to pass basic anatomy and physiology and to learn how to release others from their knotted shoulders and clenched jaws, once of course I have relinquished my own. Also, having worked for seven years in the corporate world, I would have a ready market of stressed out lawyers as a client base.
And then at the completely ridiculous end of the spectrum, I could work on perfecting my welding skills and approach the local forge in Greenwich. Or an even madder combination, I could work with my delightful friend G (who like me also ticks the box of being slightly barking). Whilst I am learning to work with molten steel and copper, she is learning how to turn molten glass into objects of beauty. With her Murano tendencies and my metal alchemy skills we could design and make modern takes on old-fashioned chandeliers and light boxes. As G pointed out, one of us would of course have to learn how to be an electrician as well, unless that is we ask the ex-electrical engineer/Bowen therapist to join the venture!