Saturday, January 24, 2009

Knowing Myself

When I die
I want it to be said that I wasted
hours in feeling absolutely useless
and enjoyed it, sensing my life
more strongly than when I worked at it.Now I know myself from a stone
or a sledgehammer
.~ David Ignatow~
A number of years ago I left my 9 to 5 job and worked for a while doing various odd job/part-time kinds of things. I pieced together a few things at a time, rearranging the pieces periodically, doing a number of very interesting things. I later learned that this is called "portfolio work". In an article by Dr. Tara Fenwick, she defines not only portfolio work but the one dilemma I encountered.
What is Portfolio work?

Portfolio work is a non-traditional, flexible career form. Individuals contract their skills and knowledge to various clients and organisations, in effect creating a ‘portfolio’
of work activity for themselves. Portfolio work is a form of own-account self-employment (a business with no employees besides the owner-operator) where the owner sometimes resembles an employee. Portfolio work has been studied
most often in terms of the personal transitions involved. Particular interest
has centered on how portfolio workers craft a career identity. How individuals
‘construct non-organisationally sustained accounts of their working lives’ is a
focus for Gold and Fraser (2002), who examined portfolio workers’ strategies for
successful transition.

For a while, I had a hard time explaining what I "did" , and without a job title floundered around in search of an identity, a label others could understand. In the middle of it all, I quit worrying about whether anyone understood what I was doing and quit trying to craft a new identity for myself. I just was, and I was pretty happy at it too!
In that sweet uncomplicated time, I, "learned to know myself from a stone or a sledgehammer."

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