Why Career Monogamy Might Not Be Such a Good Thing

Having one source of income traditionally has been seen as the low-risk approach to managing your career. Work one job, keep your nose to the grindstone and you'll be fine. You won't have a lot, but you'll have enough. Like investing in T-bills, a long-term full-time job meant you were safe and secure.

However, we know that has changed. With more than eight million jobs lost since the recession began, and more than 15 million people out of work, we know that no job is safe and secure anymore. And investing in the debt of other countries is a lot riskier today than it ever has been.

Modern portfolio theory says that we should diversify our investments to reduce risk. Shouldn't we be doing the same with our careers? If you wouldn't put all of your savings into one stock or mutual fund, why would you put all of your energy into one career?

Author Paula Caligiuri says you shouldn't. In her book 'Get a Life, Not a Job: Do What You Love and Let Your Talents Work for You,' she argues that a diversified portfolio of career pursuits makes more sense than relying on one employer for all of your income.

Caligiuri practice what she preaches. She's a work psychologist, professor at Rutgers University, a speaker and career coach. She suggests that people can gain more fulfillment, greater work-life balance and real financial freedom by pursuing "multiple career acts" instead of the traditional single career.

Her book outlines four approaches for adding career acts:

1. Leverage expertise or talents.

Do you have a skill or ability that others would pay for? Can you design simple websites? Have you successfully navigated the financial-aid maze for your own children and can help other parents through the process?

2. Expand a hobby, interest or passion.

What do you do for free that could generate income? A love of cooking could turn into catering gigs, for example (be sure to get the appropriate licenses, of course).

3. Pursue an occupation.

Can the services you provide to your employer be provided to others as well? A physical therapist in a hospital might offer these services to individuals, or to sports teams.

4. Generate sources of passive income.

There's no such thing as a free lunch, but there may be products or services you provide that don't require your active involvement day-to-day. Caligiuri gives an example of rental properties.

Not all of these will work for everybody, but 'Get a Life, Not a Job' is filled with exercises and assessments to help you become more aware of your talents and your options. Don't wait to start diversifying your career until it's too late.

Next:My JOBituary: May That Stinkin' Job Rest in Peace

Read Full Story