Is a portfolio career really just a late midlife crisis?

I’ve been considering changing careers – or rather having more than one running simultaneously. And setting up an online fabric shop seems to offer the softest landing.

I’ve been writing for money my whole adult life and I’m starting to yearn for a simple life. I love writing, and it’s a fantastic way to earn a living. But it’s intangible. And as a newsagent’s daughter I’ve got product-selling in my DNA (though not necessarily the 5am-Sunday-morning-paper-round strand).

The problem is I still love words – so what’s the solution? Maybe a portfolio career?

The last time someone said to me: ‘darling I have a portfolio career’, it was a well-respected national press writer – a person I respected and thought, to that point, was reasonably well balanced. And to my shame my instant reaction was: oh blimey, late midlife crisis coupled with the inability to take the heat in your one true career. You flaked. Admit it. Covering UK politics got to you in the end.

But now I’m not so sure. Because ever since that conversation a few years back I’ve been thinking: maybe there is room for more than one career. Maybe I’m actually wrong to write portfolio careers off as a slightly less destructive version of having an affair, getting a facelift, buying a Porsche and being arrested buying hash in Cannes.

Portfolio careers are big, and have been for a number of years. They are the understandable reaction by my generation to the desperately depressing idea of a job for life; a recognition that doing the same thing your whole working life is probably not great for your psyche, and is certainly not as necessary, or possible, as it once was.

So, I’m checking out this whole portfolio career thing. Who knows, I might even enjoy it! I certainly love fabric, sewing and selling real things. And in reality that was the only real qualification I had to become a writer – a love of words and writing. So let’s see if I can add Simple Life Fabrics to my writing to create a new portfolio career.