“I've always done more than one thing”, Zenna Atkins

That simple quote from the Guardian’s interview with Zenna Atkins (former Chair of Ofsted, now CEO of GEMS UK, Europe and Africa) highlights that although we often talk about the  concepts of Portfolio Careers and Sovereign Individuals as new ideas, they are – for many groups of people – just business as usual.  Senior executives, like Atkins, frequently divide their time between interests.  Similarly in the creative industries, self-employment is the norm as it is for many professionals (doctors, dentists, lawyers, accountants etc).  The chances are that the tradesman who recently decorated your hall, fixed your plumbing / electricity / plastering was self-employed too.

The reality is that the traditional organisational career is a relic of the 20th century and is already in the minority.  Organisations are increasingly concentrating themselves into a tight core of essential skills and outsourcing as much as possible.  In the 1990s, outsourcing meant often equally large outsource partners.  Today, the rise of technology and changing attitudes means that outsourcing can mean individuals too. 

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