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Note: Background images in February 2003 are selected from the analyticalQ photo gallery.
Photo: farewell party in Houston, May 1997

Bon Journal

Branding the portfolio career

This morning I stopped by the local print shop to enquire about the status of the business cards I had requested. The owner had not designed anything as I was too unspecific. Instead, he asked me to sit at his computer and select the fonts I liked while he went out to run an errand.

It was five minutes before I realised that I was still looking at fonts beginning with the letter a. There were hundreds of fonts in his Coral Draw software programme. After twenty minutes, I learned that I liked non serif type fonts --- like this.

When the owner came back, I gave him my fifteen choices. Then we started talking about the different business cards I wanted.

My idea of a portfolio career originated from my desire to pursue the various interests I had. However, it has become a defense against the current employment situation. In times like this, diversification is the only way to spread the risk, avoid disappointment, and most importantly, to get paid at all. The industries I've worked in have contracted and the job market has dried up --- this echoes the conclusion reached by many of my friends and contacts. Through a portfolio career, you do different things and get paid in different ways.

The different careers I have are mutually exclusive, however. As a pianist, I don't necessarily want to broadcast my academic or industry side. Similarly, one friend suggested that I delete the "pianist" from "Anne Ku, writer and pianist" signature on my e-mails. It doesn't seem "serious" he said if I wanted to write a book.

So how do you brand a porfolio careerist? I'd like a different font for each of the hats I wear. Because the recipient of my business card differs, I'd like to provide different kinds of information. After discussing these issues with the print shop owner I became even more confused and undecided than before.

"Go home and think about it," the print shop owner advised.

And so I decided to contact my branding guru for advice.

15 February 2003 Saturday

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Anne Ku
writes about her travels, conversations, thoughts, events, music, and anything else that is interesting enough to fill a web page.