Career Like An Artist

October 23rd, 2012

Interesting blog posted on Twitter today by Alexandra Levit on a career management technique I have been encouraging my clients to use for several years now: identifying their next professional move rather than only chasing opportunities or waiting for a promotion.

Artists, entrepreneurs and leaders abound in this habit. They observe, absorb and adapt what they see around them, what they learn from others, what they imagine and integrate to create something new. It is the way they think. Come to think of it, this is the way kids think until we suck initiative out of them with rules and regimens that teach them to wait, follow, memorize and obey.

With many traditional jobs going the way of the dinosaur, more and more people are inventing opportunities for themselves and putting together their own career track. You can learn more about this idea in The Portable Executive.

Whether out of desire or necessity, many executives and professionals are, like artists, putting together a portfolio of projects they do. This approach is a natural for those of you in career transition. However, if you want to explore or gain experience in areas that are not within your current job function, you can raise your hand for or even propose a steering committee, assignment or help a colleague or leader succeed. Alternately, you can add to your expertise and gain greater exposure through professional or charitable volunteer assignments.

Done well, a Career Portfolio is not just about randomly putting together a set of freelance gigs. It is a strategic investment of your time and talents in creating a marketable work portfolio that is aligned with trends in your field and marketplace needs. The portfolio career focuses on the future, on the challenges and not on a guaranteed, secure job in which a company or entity ensures your career progression and stability.
Like artists, Career Portfolio professionals will be in a constant state of anticipating and meeting the future. They are prepared to focus, pitch, audition, test out, and build so that they are always visible, professionally fresh and able to recognize opportunity (not wait for it).

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