"A person should set his goals as early as he can and devote all his energy and talent to getting there. With enough effort, he may achieve it. Or he may find something that is even more rewarding. But in the end, no matter what the outcome, he will know he has been alive." – Walt Disney

From animator and voice actor to film producer and entrepreneur, Walt Disney had no stop button. He was an inquisitive, curious, passionate and enthusiastic individual and had many diverse and fulfilling careers.

He was not the only one to move in so many different directions. It seems more people than ever are stretching the average work week to engage in multiple careers.

In Australia, fresh challenges and opportunities are attracting people to other careers in addition to their main occupation.

According to ABS Jobs in Australia figures released in September 2018, approximately 15 per cent of employees (over 1.9 million people) held more than one job in 2015-2016. In 2011-2012, the figure was 1.8 million.

Quoting Walt Disney in her book " Make Your Move: Career Dynamics for Changing Times", Career Wisdom Director Lois Keay-Smith AFAIM called these people "portfolio careerists".

"Some jobs are quite narrow in focus so two or more roles may provide greater opportunities to play to your spread of strengths and skills," Ms Keay-Smith said.

"The type of people this work suits are more attuned to change due to the vagaries of income fluctuation, crave variety and like meeting and working with different people and environments. They are self-motivated and good at connecting and engaging with their network, as this is where many of the opportunities come from.

"For those who are self-employed, a part-time role or contract can provide some stability and regularity of income while they pursue clients."

It appears ‘insecure work’ is becoming the new normal.

According to the report The Dimensions of Insecure Work: A Factbook by The Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work, ABS data showed paid full-time employment with leave entitlements between 2012 and 2017 dropped to 49.97 per cent, whereas part-time work rose to 31.7 per — the highest to date. The rest of the workforce was made up of self-employed, casual and underemployed workers.

"There is less stigma towards portfolio work," Ms Keay-Smith said. "The ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ label is less prevalent as Gen Y and Z explore their options."

Those who have more than one career fall into two categories. They are classified either as concurrent – in which they have two careers at the same time – or sequential, in which a worker begins a new career after employment in another field.

"Multiple areas of interest are great for people who value variety in their work," Ms Keay-Smith said. "It can also be seen as a good way of diversifying income, rather than relying on one source as there is less job security these days.

"A portfolio career isn’t new but has perhaps become more known and accepted due to work being more piecemeal as well as people wanting more control, freedom and flexibility in their careers. It is not for everyone, but certainly has benefits if the portfolio is designed around your values, passions and strengths.

While the concept may sound fulfilling, it takes dedication, organisation and time management to pull it off.

"Can you drop your hours at job A and/or arrange some time and labour-saving on the home front? If you crave variety try to ensure it’s not more of the same, but provides other work aspects that you enjoy or can add to your skill set," Ms Keay-Smith said.

Taking it to the next level

Physiotherapist by day, yoga instructor by afternoon and DJ by night, Kylie Pearsall’s resume is an impressive one. For someone who was told to ditch her ‘less important’ roles after graduating in physiotherapy, her passion for opening others’ eyes
to new possibilities and concepts is undiminished.

"As a physio, when you can shift someone from pain or dysfunction you improve their quality of life," Ms Pearsall told Leader.

"As a yoga teacher, it’s actually not dissimilar, but it works on more than just the physical level. It also taps into an ancient wisdom.

"Music brings me so much joy that being able to share music and create an experience for people with the soundscape is beyond fulfilling."

Ms Pearsall said she had not quite found the perfect life-work balance and didn’t think she ever would.

"I’ve always considered myself a physio first and foremost – financially it’s always been the most rewarding – and of my three roles it’s perhaps been viewed as the most ‘professional’ although I bring the same level of integrity to all three," she said.

She tries to keep to a six-day week but still finds herself working the full seven days much of the time.

"I don’t always find time for myself," she said. "Burnout is something I’m familiar with – that means I can recognise the signs early and navigate away from it – but it’s an ever-present risk inside the juggle.

"It’s important to have a clear why. Have a clear sense of what it will take to deliver on each role and create structures for that to happen."

Sandra Argese is a Journalist at The West Australian Newspapers and is a writer for 'Leader', AIM WA's magazine for members.