This book is the indirect result of my being ejected from architecture and masterplanning in the recession of 1990 (my third – they come and go, and life goes on). Cast outside the then reasonably intact sides of the professional box, needing to find ways of making ends meet, I took up carpentry and decorating, cooked meals (Dhal to die for!) and even wrote poetry in an attempt to keep the bank sweet. I found that many of my skills were transferable, as a result secured odd jobs of project management and risk assessment and then discovered that I rather enjoyed this odd way of earning a living, although at times the cashflow was decidedly thin.
Finding that other people wanted to try working in the same way, I started giving workshops on this new phenomenon: the Portfolio Career, a term coined by business guru Charles Handy. At one of these workshops someone suggested I write a book on the subject since at that time the old employment structures were beginning to give way to more flexible working patterns. In true entrepreneurial style I said: “Why not?” and Portfolio People was born.
The book seeks to demonstrate – through my own experience and that of others – that portfolio working is not only a viable (and potentially quite secure) way of paying the bills but also one which opens up possibilities for self-development and real fulfilment in work. Moreover, it can provide a robust platform for a new way of doing business, business with heart as well as head, as a route to healing the world and to reshaping and re-purposing work.
Portfolio People opened numerous doors for me and led to my delivering workshops, training and coaching, particularly in some of the UK’s top creative colleges, always with the aim of helping others do what they are passionate about and make a good living from it. Most importantly, it created the conditions for me to do what I love, to be truly and unashamedly me, and it gave me the freedom to challenge the accepted norm of largely unregulated commerce and the destructive exploitation that fuels it.
The book was published by Century, Random House in 1997.
ISBN 0 7126 7727 5