Would you like a slash career?

Ok, that’s not a job in a horror movie. Slash career is “one individual with multiple careers”. The phrase was originally coined in the book One Person/Multiple Careers: The Original Guide to the Slash Careers, by Marci Alboher. People with slash careers are those making multiple income streams, simultaneously, from different careers. Sometimes they are connected by transferable skills. There are also different strands of the same function which loosely connect them. For others they are ways of monetizing different interests. The key thing is that they are all equally important to the Slash Careerist.

A Slash Career initially was associated with artistic or creative careers. Very often it was challenging to get a break into the career of choice and salaries were low. It was common place to find: writer/ waiter, actor/ gardener, painter/ dog walker. What it really meant was a main career or passion, plus a side hustle which paid the bills. The side gig could be easily pushed to one side to pursue the main passion. Now we might see:

  • Recruiter / Career Coach / Trainer
  • Chef / Food Writer / Photographer
  • Brand Evangelist / Vlogger / Content Marketer
  • Events Manager / Yoga Teacher / Candidate Sourcer
  • Lobbyist / Painter / Translator

Some notable slashers include:

Benjamin Franklin (Publisher/ Politician/ Technologist)
Leonardo da Vinci (Artist/ Inventor)
Jessica Alba (Entrepreneur/ Author/ Actress)
Sanjay Gupta (Neurosurgeon/ CNN Correspondent)
Dan Milstein (Computer Programmer/ Theatre Director)
Robert Childs (Psychotherapist/ Violinmaker)

To more traditional employers, a person with a slash career may not be as fully committed to their ‘day’ job as the company would want. As a slash career requires good time management skills to successfully balance multiple jobs on a daily basis.

If you spend too much time struggling between your main and side jobs, it can adversely affect your physical and mental well-being. Achieving a work-life balance with a slash career would be fruitful but only if you know when to work your way around the clock.

Being able to devote and divide time and energy to your professional and personal life is vital to a slash career.

  • Enjoy variety. Variety is the spice of life; perhaps you can consider turning a hobby into a career sideline. If you enjoy taking photographs, you can start by freelancing or even transforming some landscapes into stock photos!
  • Kill that burnout. Instead of burning yourself out completely in a primary career and using all your leaves for stress-free getaways. Invest your extra energy into something exciting so that you keep that physical and mental stamina running high!
  • Experience the inter-contentedness of multiple industry sectors. How is disruptive technology changing healthcare system? How will IoT (Internet of Things) solve environmental issues? Lines are blurring between various industry sectors – make sure to be right there when it all fades away.
  • Unleash your multiple identities: You may be a tech research guy spending all day in a lab, but that should not stop to come on the cooking channel, or talk on next TEDx event.
  • Future-proof your career. Today you are A/B/C. Fast forward three years, you become A/C/D/E, and in another four years, you are C/E/F. Be industry relevant, be future relevant.
  • The path to success. You might not be very successful in your current career, slash career provides you with an alternate path to success. It is never too late to start in a new industry – a slash career gives you the ability to explore your options!
  • Economic Securities. Enjoy multiple income streams. Having multiple careers mean having multiple sources of income. Your day job salary can be for your necessary living expenses while your side jobs can be for your own personal expenses and savings!

So if you are the boss, traditionally you would want someone to focus on the job that you hire them for. So why should employers hire people with slash careers? I’m generalizing on this one.

  • They are motivated and take initiative. A person with a slash career is not indecisive or unfocused. It means that they are passionate, hardworking and motivated. Slashers continuously pour themselves into other jobs – effectively using key transferable skills and finishing tasks well beyond the usual 9 to 5.
  • They have a diverse skill-set. Employees with interests outside of work are well rounded, and well-rounded individuals are valuable assets to any company. They can wear many hats, have diverse skills, and are often great problem-solvers.
  • They are creatively fulfilled. Slashers are not individuals who dread going to work every morning and sulks in misery. Employees with side careers are creatively fulfilled and passionate about their multiple careers.

At a company where brainstorming, innovation, improvement, and problem-solving are huge priorities, creativity is absolutely vital. If someone is creative in their endeavours outside of work, you better believe they will be created in all their work for your business as well.

Check out my related post: Could your next boss be a teenager?

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