Monthly Archives

March 2018

3 Brilliant Polymaths, and the Advice They Left Behind – Big Think

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Stephen Johnson | June 20, 2017

Master of all trades, Jack of none.

The main problem of choosing what to do in life boils down to simple math: every hour you spend on one pursuit is one less spent on another. This problem is so paralyzing that some people never even choose. In the West, those who specialize in a singular craft or field hope that their capitalistic society will reward them as specialists—after all, would a wealthy executive pay huge fees to an attorney who dabbles in finance law? Not likely.

Polymaths are different. They manage to achieve mastery across multiple industries, arts, or fields of study. So what sets them apart? The willingness and drive to learn new things, writes Robert Twigger:

[T]he pessimistic assumption that learning somehow ‘stops’ when you leave school or university or hit thirty is at odds with the evidence. It appears that a great deal depends on the nucleus basalis, located in the basal forebrain. Among other things, this bit of the brain produces significant amounts of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that regulates the rate at which new connections are made between brain cells. This in turn dictates how readily we form memories of various kinds, and how strongly we retain them.

The key idea to becoming a more successful polymath is to try new things, as Twigger explains:

People as old as 90 who actively acquire new interests that involve learning retain their ability to learn. But if we stop taxing the nucleus basalis, it begins to dry up. In some older people it has been shown to contain no acetylcholine—they have been ‘switched off’ for so long the organ no longer functions. In extreme cases this is considered to be one factor in Alzheimers and other forms of dementia — treated, effectively at first, by artificially raising acetylcholine levels. But simply attempting new things seems to offer health benefits to people who aren’t suffering from Alzheimers. After only short periods of trying, the ability to make new connections develops. And it isn’t just about doing puzzles and crosswords; you really have to try and learn something new.

Here’s a look at a few of history’s most notable polymaths, and some of the practical advice they left along the way.

Aristotle (382 BC–322 BC)

Aristotle’s status as one of humankind’s greatest minds is evidenced in part by his monolithic nicknames: “the master” or, simply, “the philosopher.” He was a polymath who made fundamental contributions to diverse fields of study, including logic, rhetoric, ethics, physics, story, poetry, government, metaphysics, geology and zoology.

It was in moral philosophy, however, that Aristotle gave some of his most practical advice. To live well, Aristotle argued, people should behave according to virtues that allow them to excel in many types of situations across time. Each virtue relates to a vice, which can either exist in deficiency or excess. Aristotle believed that we should strive to live a life of moderation, nurturing the virtues within ourselves and avoiding the vices on either extreme end.

Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519)

The archetypal Renaissance Man, the list of Leonardo da Vinci’s accomplishments is staggering.

As an artist, he was the father of the High Renaissance style, having painted the ‘Mona Lisa’ and ‘The Last Supper.’ Applying observations he made in his scientific endeavors, da Vinci introduced the idea of painting with aerial perspective—that is, painting faraway objects less distinctly and with less vibrant colors.

Da Vinci was also particularly interested in anatomy. He used his skills as an artist to create the Vitruvian Man, a study on body proportion and an exemplar of the intersection of math and art common in the Renaissance era. To get an even better understanding of the human body, he would dissect cadavers in middle of the night, a practice which was eventually barred by the pope.

Da Vinci made contributions to many other fields: urban planning, mathematics, botany, astronomy, invention, history, sculpting and cartography. There are simply too many to note. Ultimately, his greatest achievement, perhaps, was making others feel bad about how little they had done with their lives. Still, da Vinci left us with some great advice on how to be successful, most of which comes from his journals.

  • Action “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”
  • Experiment “Experience does not ever err. It is only your judgment that errs in promising itself results which are not caused by your experiments.”
  • Goal-setting “Obstacles cannot crush me. Every obstacle yields to stern resolve. He who is fixed to a star does not change his mind.”
  • Time prioritization “Time stays long enough for anyone who will use it.”
  • Focus “As every divided kingdom falls, so every mind divided between many studies confounds and saps itself.”

Bertrand Russell (1872–1970)

British Philosopher, logician, mathematician, writer, historian, political activist and Nobel laureate Bertrand Russell made many contributions to the academic world, particularly within mathematical logic and analytic philosophy. His contributions in these fields—specifically his paradox and type theory—have been used in computer programming and beyond. But he’s perhaps better known to the general public as a social critic, speaking with unflinching clarity on moral issues ranging from warfare to Jesus Christ.

In 1927, Russell gave a lecture titled Why I am not a Christian that would become a famous essay, influencing a new generation of religious critics. Russell received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950 “in recognition of his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought.”

A year later, Russell published this list of advice for an article titled ‘The Best Answer to Fanaticism–Liberalism’ in the New York Times Magazine.

1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.
2. Do not think it worth while to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.
3. Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.
4. When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavor to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.
5. Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.
6. Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.
7. Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
8. Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.
9. Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.
10. Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool’s paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.

How to Launch a Successful Portfolio Career – Harvard Business Review

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Michael Greenspan | May 04, 2017

As the head of a leadership assessment, development, and coaching firm, I spend a lot of time with successful executives talking about their work lives — and in the past few years, many of those conversations have centered on an increasingly popular, and increasingly idealized, imagined next step: the so-called “portfolio career.” Leave behind the strain, messiness and day-in, day-out concerns of full-time corporate life for a curated and interesting medley of part-time roles — board seats, adjunct professorships, consulting roles, some lectures, some writing, maybe even a book contract —and you’ll still be in the career game, still earning money, but happier, more intellectually fulfilled, and with infinitely more flexibility… or so the thinking goes.

In our firm’s coaching and counseling of senior executives who have made, or are actively trying to make, the move to a portfolio career (a maneuver we refer to as “going plural”), we’ve repeatedly seen that the transition itself is much more difficult than most anticipate — and that the reality of the career differs significantly from the imagination of it. Don’t get me wrong: A portfolio career can be rewarding, but there are several things that every smart executive needs to know — and do — to transition effectively:

Make yourself an outlier. Every portfolio has an investment thesis. What’s yours — and how is it compellingly differentiated from the many other portfolios out there? The more specific and unique your skill set and experience, the more valuable your portfolio will be. An expert in banking regulation or solar energy production — or any other niche, challenging area — will find good opportunities to apply their skills. But if you attempt to transition to a portfolio role by marketing yourself simply as a capable, experienced executive, good work will be much harder to come by.

Be clear on why. Have a clear, articulated view on why you’re going plural, and what you want to achieve. Is it flexibility and less travel? The opportunity to give back? The chance to focus on the activity you really love to do — e.g., coach, counsel, write? Without a clear view, it’s all too easy to end up with a portfolio career you don’t enjoy, or even really want. One of my clients recently “downshifted” into a “better lifestyle” (his words) plural career — only to find the consulting roles he was offered required twice the travel as his corporate job, and to parts of the world he had no interest in going. Wherever possible, think ahead and manage around this: be clear on what specific outcomes you’re shooting for, and actively seek ones that fit this profile. And then be prepared to compromise.

Do it before you do it. If you want to peg your portfolio career to board service, get on at least a few boards now. If you want to write, be sure you’ve published before you make the leap. Without the track record of success in a function or area, good opportunities will be hard to source — and execute. But our clients who plan at least 3-4 years ahead, and engage in a few relevant extracurriculars — speaking at universities, publishing op-eds, and the like — find themselves in a good position to go plural doing exactly those same activities.

Don’t bank on boards. While board service may feel ideally suited to a portfolio-career life, the executives we work with find it hard to land interesting board roles once they’ve decommissioned. And depending on the organization, boards can be time-consuming, demanding, political, and risky — as one of our clients put it, “a board seat is a job like any other.”

Think “continuation,” not “escalation.” Portfolio careers permit you to continue at a certain career level — but rarely allow you to move up the ladder in terms of compensation, access, or prestige. You won’t be able to parlay board service with a few small, private companies into a seat at the table at G.E. The smart executives we see who go plural make the leap when they’re fully satisfied with their careers: When they’re content with success and seniority they’re achieved, and wish to continue it in a different way.

Get ready to march to the beat of a slower drummer. After years — or decades — of the incessant intensity, immediately returned phone calls, in-the-moment demands, and urgent decisions of organizational life, many executives are surprised to find the pace of portfolio life so much slower. Consulting projects have long sales arcs. The university you teach at seems to operate without urgency. The book contract you finally land has an 18-month deadline. Life moves differently — not worse, just differently. Once you’ve made the move to a portfolio career, your success and satisfaction relies heavily on adjusting to this new reality: learning to manage your expectations, work, and time to meet the new environment.

Manage all your assets. Organizational life requires near-total focus and most likely, significant trade-offs in terms of life outside the office. Resist the temptation to replicate this problem in your portfolio career — don’t make your schedule and life so chock-full of consulting gigs, deadlines, and travel that your other assets — personal relationships, hobbies, health — continue to get short shrift. Remember: the value of the portfolio depends on the value of each of its assets, together.

The when and how of going plural can be daunting — particularly to successful professionals, who feel that by making the transition, they leave much behind. But by adopting a pragmatic approach, being aware of what’s ahead, and planning towards it as you would any other professional goal, you can make the leap effectively, happily — and on your own terms.

Could a portfolio career be for you? – The Guardian

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Sarah Dawood | 27 Nov 2014

If a conventional graduate position doesn’t appeal, you could combine several interests and build a portfolio career

On leaving university, some graduates will have already paved their way to a steady full-time job. But for others, working nine-to-five in the same place every day just doesn’t cut it.

Instead, they opt for a portfolio career: splitting their time and skills between two or more part-time positions.

Charlie Ball, deputy director of research at careers website Prospects, says that multi-strand careers are a growing and significant part of the jobs market that many graduates are choosing over conventional careers. “In 2013, only 20% of those with portfolio careers were doing so because they needed to take more than one job to make a living,” he says.

Graduates in the creative arts – such as artists, actors and photographers – are most commonly those with at least two jobs, Ball says.

Laura Mackenzie, head of careers and employability at King’s College London, says that portfolio careers are also common among those who want to set up their own social enterprise or build an academic career, as it enables them to build up their skills base or portfolio of research.

Mark Flynn, a 25-year-old architecture graduate, wanted the freedom that self-employment brings. After graduating, he set up his own architecture collective and now also works as a freelance graphic and exhibition designer, and a spatial designer in a boutique property agency.

“I didn’t want to be stuck in a typical architecture job – and there were none available anyway,” he says. “So I tried to be proactive after graduating by self initiating my own projects.”

“The major downside is the lack of job security,” he says. “The trade off is you get the opportunity to work on a wide range of creative projects. And with freelance work, you choose your own hours.”
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Tom Barnes, a 23-year-old English graduate, wanted to build up his experience and contacts in the theatre industry. As well as starting up his own theatre company, 2Magpies Theatre, he has completed an arts administration internship and currently works front of house at two theatres in Nottingham.

“I’ve found it incredibly useful to have multiple jobs in different venues,” he says. “It’s a good chance to have conversations, keep up to speed with what’s going on in the region and suss out new opportunities. Nothing beats a face-to-face conversation, so working front of house or in the theatre bar is perfect for networking – especially when you’re getting paid for it.”

But for some, working many jobs isn’t an option, it’s a necessity. Mackenzie explains that those wanting to go into an arts-based career will often have to take up other jobs to make ends meet.

“People often combine developing their artistic portfolio – where pay can be poor – with more steady work,” she says. “This might be nothing to do with their creative field, or closely linked to it.”

Hayley Wright, a 27-year-old fine art graduate, works as a student experience tutor at Manchester Metropolitan University’s business school, alongside being a freelance artist who creates textiles and embroidery. “It was never my plan to have a portfolio career,” she says.

“At university I never considered anything other than making art full time. But I hadn’t considered the logistics and just hoped everything would be wonderful and easy.

“After graduation, I needed money and started temping at universities. Initially I did so to fund my lifestyle as an artist, but over time I started to enjoy the work and began to realise that I could use my skills in different ways.
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“Having a portfolio career has given me the financial security to make the creative work I want to make, without having to worry too much about profit,” she says.

Juggling several job roles isn’t always easy. “You need to be resilient, confident and optimistic,” says Jan Moore, assistant head of the careers and employability service at Manchester Metropolitan University. “Great people skills will help to get your name out there, but there is always uncertainty in portfolio careers.”

It’s also important to be highly organised and flexible, as you’ll be doing several things at once and facing tough deadlines, Moore says. Organising your finances is part of this, and she suggests that if you’re going to set up a company – whether an entrepreneurial venture or a theatre group – it’s worth getting business advice.

Flynn adds that having a clear, coherent vision will help you get to where you want to be: “Rather than taking a scatter-gun approach, you need to think ahead to the job you’d eventually like to get to and select projects that will help you towards that goal.”

The uniting factor among the majority of graduates in portfolio careers is that they’ll go to any lengths to pursue a desired career choice. This might be through gaining lots of experience in their field, or doing a completely unrelated job on the side.

Either way, if you can do what you love while earning enough money to get by, that can’t be a bad thing. “The projects I do now tend to be more for fun than money,” says Wright. “But because I’ve managed to forge a career where I can use my creative skills on a day-to-day basis, I feel fulfilled.”

What is portfolio working and why is it growing? – The Telegraph

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Rachel Brushfield | 11 May 2012

Portfolio working is when an individual has multi strands rather than just one strand to their career. This trend has been growing for a while, fuelled by desire and also necessity post credit crunch.

Why is portfolio working growing?

  • People aren’t one-dimensional and fit in a neat box, and they have different skills and interests;
  • The job for life is dead as a concept – a portfolio career helps you create your career as you want it, by design;
  • A current shortage of full-time jobs has led to more part time jobs, creating a financial shortfall that needs to be filled;
  • The younger generation actively seeks more variety than the older generations;
  • People are now more used to choice and like the idea that they can design their career as they wish;
  • More people are seeking meaning and purpose, and a portfolio career enables people to earn money and give back;
  • Mixing employment and self-employment reduces the perceived risk of going it alone 100%;
  • More companies are seeing contracts and projects as a sensible solution without increasing headcount, giving you the scope to have a portfolio career

Examples of Portfolio Working

Charles Handy wrote The age of unreason, a book ahead of its time and which inspired me to become self-employed in 1997 and design my work to suit me. He divides the year with his wife Elizabeth; half of the year is focused on his career with her support, and the other half he supports her career as a photographer.

Lesley Reader did a mixture of employed and self-employed work. She co-facilitated the Energise Steer your career workshops with me, had a two day a week retainer for a charity The Hunger Project, www.thehungerproject.co.uk and ran two networking groups. Recently Lesley has moved to Tanzania to do VSO, combining all her diverse skills and experience.

Ben, an IT contractor, works hard and earns half the year and saves up to go travelling abroad the second half. The mix satisfies his financial needs AND wanderlust, and he plans to self-publish a book about his travels.

5 Tips to explore portfolio working:

1. Know your financial break even and how much money you need to feel secure and have peace of mind
2. Create efficient systems as multi-career strands can take more time to manage
3. Plan time for marketing to line up the next contract/retainer and create a financial buffer in case things change unexpectedly
4. Get advice from people doing portfolio working so you understand the pros and cons
5. Know your values and needs/wants so that you can ensure that a portfolio career is a right choice to give you fulfilment not stress

It is normal for people to have different parts and to have a portfolio career helps you to scratch all your itches! As someone with a portfolio career myself, I enjoy helping my clients to create theirs.

Rachel Brushfield is a director at Energise – The Talent Liberation Company.
Download your FREE sample about Skills from the Energise Career Revitalisation Programme.

Energise specialises in career transition – supporting professionals and executives taking significant professional development steps. This might be moving into a new role post redundancy, becoming self-employed, building a second career to take you to retirement or a complete career change. An established career coaching company with a proven track record, we have over 23 years experience in helping clients feel empowered and proactive and build fulfilling careers.

Why Everyone Should Consider Building A Portfolio Career – Forbes

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When I was in college I worked three jobs so I could cover the gap my financial aid left in each semester’s budget. Back then I made money researching colloidal particles in a physics lab, singing in a professional church choir, and working behind the scenes at a variety of theater companies, while taking 22 credits each semester. When I graduated and moved to New York I worked as a GRE and GMAT tutor and piano teacher to cover the gap my “real job” at the Metropolitan Opera left in my monthly budget.

After business school I kept my side hustles going, first as an MBA admissions consultant while working full-time at the Boston Consulting Group, then as a freelance writer and career coach when I left consulting to become an entrepreneur. Over time I added public speaking, startup consulting, and podcasting to my portfolio of side hustles. It wasn’t easy to manage, but it helped smooth my sometimes unpredictable cash flow in the startup world, accelerated paying off my student loans, and gave me peace of mind that I had a breadth of marketable skills even if I lacked a financial safety net.

Then two years ago, when the moment finally came that I didn’t necessarily need the extra cash, I realized I also enjoyed the creativity and breadth of work my side hustles gave me. These were opportunities to build skills that were outside my day-to-day role and expand my network orthogonally, which paid dividends when my zig-zag career took another turn last year.

The rise of the side hustle – and its sibling, the gig economy – have been colloquially attributed to the post-financial-crisis job market and the Uber-fication of everything, though of course the second job was in no way created by millennials (or the employers who first decided internships should be unpaid and “entry-level” jobs should require previous experience). My grandfather delivered office supplies on the side while working 40 hours a week on the assembly line at General Motors so he could support his family of five. My mom picked up extra shifts at Sam’s Club after her full day as an administrative assistant to make ends meet as a single parent.

No, millennials didn’t invent the idea of multiple income streams. But the rise of the Portfolio Career is more than a stop-gap against the ballooning ratio of student debt to stagnant wages. It’s a framework for the future of work that openly admits three things:

1. It is unlikely that we will spend our entire careers in one industry, let alone one company. The world is changing faster than ever before, and entire industries are at risk as AI, machine learning, autonomous vehicles, and other technologies go from the fringe to mainstream. Specializing in just one industry could be limiting at best and catastrophic at worst (c.f. law, media, truck driving, and more). Diversification across skills and industries is the only way to stay nimble and relevant. 

2. There is no such thing as a perfect job. And that’s okay. It is unlikely that one job will provide everything you need to be happy: a healthy (and growing) salary, inspiring colleagues, opportunities for growth, creativity, mentorship, and meaning. Rather than jumping around indefinitely in search of the fairy-tale role, find something that meets some of those needs, then pursue side projects to fulfill the rest. 

3. This is not about work-life balance. It’s about work-life integration. As with a financial portfolio, a career portfolio can (and should) be rebalanced from time to time. Perhaps a life change (like a new child) or the current political climate makes an employer-provided healthcare plan more attractive than the flexibility of a freelance career. Or perhaps a hobby grew into a side hustle and is now strong enough to become a small business, creating a less risky path to entrepreneurship than quitting a job and going all-in from the beginning. A Portfolio Career provides more on- and off-ramps to match shifting priorities and risk tolerance, making work-life integration more feasible.

I believe Portfolio Careers are the future of work, and employers that want to attract top talent need to adjust accordingly. Contracts that prohibit side hustles (or worse: that claim ownership over any intellectual property generated during the term of employment) will hurt recruiting and retention. Businesses that expect lifetime commitment (while making no such commitment in return) rather than understanding “tours of duty” will be unprepared when employees “rebalance their portfolios” and leave. The tax industry is also advised to pay attention, as the proportion of filers who need to calculate estimated quarterly taxes (while taking into account W-2 salary) continues to rise.

The Portfolio Career may have been conceived out of financial necessity, but for many, it provides a sense of control and a roadmap for professional fulfillment in a world that feels ever more volatile and unpredictable.

6 Minute English-BBC

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Episode 170413 / 13 Apr 2017

In this programme, Dan and Neil discuss the trend for having more than one career. They also teach you six items of useful vocabulary.

This week’s question:

If the surname Baker was originally given to people who worked as bakers, what about those with the surname Bond, as in James Bond? Were they:

a) Farmers

b) Spies

c) Guards

Listen to the programme to find out the answer.

Vocabulary

portfolio
a group or collection of things

make ends meet
make enough money to live

serial
used to describe a repeated act, especially a criminal act

entrepreneur
someone who starts and runs businesses

add another string to my bow
learn a new skill

corporate
relating to a large company

Transcript

This is not a word for word transcript

Neil
Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English – the programme where we bring you an interesting topic and six items of vocabulary. I’m Neil. Today we’re talking about jobs.

Dan
And I’m Dan. And specifically, we’re looking at the trend for having more than one job…

Neil
Yes. On that note – Dan, were you ever asked this question as a kid? “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Do you remember your answer?

Dan
I wanted to be a ninja turtle. And you?

Neil
That doesn’t surprise me. I think I wanted to be a professional footballer. I wanted to play for England. Well, for many people, that question gets harder the older they become! It’s one reason why more and more people have what we call portfolio careers these days – so they can do a bit of everything.

Dan
A portfolio, as a noun, means ‘a case for carrying large pictures – or it can mean the collection of pictures themselves. But we also use it as an adjective to describe groups of certain things – in this case, careers.

Neil
Indeed, we could say someone who is a part-time teacher and a part-time musician has a portfolio career.

Dan
Sounds like a good combination. First, let’s do today’s question – it’s job-related. Many surnames in English originally come from professions. The surname Baker, for example, was originally given to people who worked as… bakers! What about the surname Bond, as in double-oh-seven, James Bond? Who had this surname? Was it?

a)    Farmers
b)    Spies
c)    Guards

Neil
It can’t be spies, can it? So I’m going to guess guards. C.

Dan
Great, well let’s find out at the end of the programme.

Neil
Now, the portfolio career. Emily Wapnick is the Canadian author of a book called How to Be Everything: A Guide for Those Who (Still) Don’t Know What They Want to Be When They Grow Up.

Dan
Which specific example of a portfolio career does she mention?

INSERT
Emily Wapnick, Author
More and more people are doing multiple things and multiple jobs – and it’s not just to make ends meet. A lot of people are choosing this kind of lifestyle. They’ve got, you know,  three different businesses that are just thriving. Or they’re a serial entrepreneur. Or they’ve got a career in two different areas. There’s a guy that I mention who is a psychotherapist and a luthier – he makes violins – and he’s very successful in both.

Neil
Emily is clearly a fan of this kind of working. She says she knows a man who’s both a psychotherapist and a luthier – someone who makes violins.

Dan
She says this trend is more than just about working to make ends meet – in other words, working to make enough money to live. And she used another interesting expression – a serial entrepreneur – what’s that exactly?

Neil
Well, an entrepreneur is someone who starts and runs businesses – and the use of serial here as an adjective describes someone who does the same thing again and again. Though we should say, the adjective is more often used for criminal activity – such as a serial killer or serial murderer.

Dan
Not the kind of portfolio career I had in mind. A serial entrepreneur, on the other hand, starts and runs business after business.

Neil
Another thing, because Emily believes the world of work is changing fast – it’s sensible to be able to do more than one thing. In other words, it’s wise to add another string to your bow.

Dan
A great phrase, which really just means ‘to learn new skills you can use in the future’. I’d like to learn Japanese – that would add another string to my bow.

Neil
So desu, ne? But choosing a portfolio career is not for everyone, of course. It often simply comes down to money.

Dan
Here’s Charles Handy, writer and philosopher, and the man who popularised the term portfolio career in the first place.

INSERT
Charles Handy, writer
80% of the people in corporate jobs hate them, or are dissatisfied with them. Whereas if you’re doing your own thing, 80% of them really like the freedom and the entrepreneurial spirit, even if they’re not making an awful lot of money. It’s a balancing job really, you’re free but you’re poor. Or you’re slaved but you’re richer.

Neil
Sounds like a difficult choice – be poor or be a slave. What would you choose, Dan?

Dan
I’d rather be poor and free, thank you very much.

Neil
Well, let’s explain a term he used – a corporate job. What does corporate mean?

Dan
Quite literally, it’s the adjective from the term corporation – a corporate job is a job at a big corporation, company or organisation – usually well paid, and with certain benefits.

Neil
Could we say James Bond has a corporate career?

Dan
Yes, I guess so! And thank you for reminding me to answer today’s question: which profession does the surname Bond come from?

Neil
And I said the Bonds were guards.

Dan
I’m afraid you were wrong. Bonds were originally peasant farmers who were bound to work for a particular lord. This word goes back over 1,000 years… the spying game came much later!

Neil
Indeed! Let’s spy today’s words once more. We had portfolio – which can be used in different ways. There’s a portfolio career, as well as the original meaning of a portfolio of art. Any others?

Dan
Yes, people talk about a portfolio of investments – when you invest in several companies at once to reduce the risk.

Neil
Talking of money, we had to make ends meet. People often work a number of different part-time jobs to make ends meet – to make enough money to live on.

Dan
Though having a lot of part-time jobs is not the same as being a serial entrepreneur. Serial means doing something repeatedly, usually a crime!

Neil
And an entrepreneur is someone who starts and runs businesses.

Dan
I’d love to start a business… First, I need to learn a new skill – add another string to my bow and learn yoga. Then maybe one day I’ll run a yoga business.

Neil
Not for me though, I prefer the corporate life – a secure job in a big corporation!

Dan
OK, but then you can come to my yoga classes after work!

Neil
Alright.

Dan
And that’s the end of today’s 6 Minute English. Please join us again soon.

Neil
And we are on social media of course. Make sure to visit our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube pages.

Both
Bye!