A Portable Career: A backpack for a briefcase

by | Mar 11, 2016

The Journey to my Portable Career

When I was younger my ambition burned with a steady inner hunger for positions of rank.  A portable career was far from my mind.  Although I’ve always been a “we’re-all-important” person, I confess that in those younger years, I always wanted to be the most important - to be the leader - by my definition.  As an entrepreneur, I always wanted to lead the team, have the most clout and the most influence. [Tweet "When my career lead me to the corporate world, I started to dream a different ambition"]; I wanted a board position, of course!  I would spend countless hours in the corporate corridors daydreaming of myself in elegant heels, with my briefcase, entering the boardroom.

Portable career

Portable career

And so it happened (because visualisation can do that for a person!) One day there I was - with a briefcase in the boardroom.   And on the first day it was fab.  And on the second day and the third and the 212th.  But somehow, on the 365th day it became my Groundhog’s Day. You know, the same old thing day in and day out.  I loved my job but I started to stare out of the windows to the bright sunny day beyond the permanently-chilly air-conditioning, and long to be there taking photographs instead of stuck in my glass-architecture office. [Tweet " I longed to wear pumps instead of heels - or better yet, flip-flops."] I longed to see what other people were doing in the world beyond my boundaries of results and business reports.  I longed to replace my briefcase with a back pack.  And so the journey from a briefcase to a backpack begins……from a geographically bound career to a portable career.  Well, at least for me.

What are our Values?

Each of us has a unique and profound set of values that drives our lives at any point in time.  My set includes five key words (and if you haven’t yet done a Values Exercise, I encourage you to be in touch with me - I’ll tell you how).  Often, when we’re asked our values, we simply repeat the values that we were raise with as a child: discipline, or love for example (great values!).  Or, we repeat the values of our most influential working environment: integrity or customer-centric for example (great values!).  But when stretched to articulate and define our own values - well, sometimes we can be surprised.

My value of FREEDOM arrived at me in bold capital letters quite unexpectedly.  It was not a value I thought I held dear because it had not been part of my accepted make-up and family values.  But it was mine.  And FREEDOM is what is important to me.  For me Freedom means:  'I want to freely navigate the global career and global financial systems so that I can move around at my will and choice and in the style I choose for my lifestyle.’  (It’s a mouthful but it’s really important to define your values according to your own definition) Read: Career Coaching for Professional Women – career strategy

Is a Portable Career for you?

I was asked recently to describe myself using a metaphor.  I chose a backpack.  Not an ordinary backpack - a very elegant backpack where one carries one’s laptop and tablet and phone and cables and other tech bits and pieces.  The type of backpack that when you arrive in a place people know you mean business - despite that you’re a leisure item.  This is me. For now.  A traveling backpack with a portable career.  Is it you?  Here are the five questions to ask yourself if portable careering is for you;

  • Are you wondering of there is more beyond the confines of your cubicle / city / country?
  • Do you have a skill set that can be re-engineered to suite a global marketplace?
  • Are you ready to reduce your footprint in the world and embrace less stuff?
  • Do you love to travel across borders - in the virtual and in the real world?
  • Are you flexible?

I know Professionals, Business Owners, Speakers, Consultants in various disciplines, Teachers, Trainers, Coaches, Agriculturists, Lawyers, Marketing Experts, Tour Operators, Mining Professionals and Engineers who successfully work and travel around the globe as Portable Professionals.  Read:4 ways to fast track your career with international experienceAs business becomes globalised, Business Owners, Leaders and Executives are managing remote teams from anywhere they are able to access the internet or a telephone line. [Tweet " I believe that becoming a Portable Professional is the career of the future. "] It requires us to develop global mindsets, global brands and portable skills.  Watch this space over the next months as I share with you how you too can reframe your career and contribution into a global footprint and borderless business bringing your talents to a global marketplace.

Find out how to develop and manage your career in a way that will maximize your talents, overcome any obstacles and give you the opportunities for growth you deserve with Career Coaching 

Michelle Clarke Contributor
Michelle Clarke is a Global Leadership Coach who helps her clients to develop strong and authentic Personal Brands and to navigate the complexity of 21st century leadership with impact.
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