One person/ multiple careers. Slash career is more than just a fancy word.
Understanding the meaning of Slash
When we think about slash, what may first come up with might be the punctuation — “/”. But if we use the word “slash” to describe a person, the meaning of it extends to people with multiple occupational identities — an UI designer/ blogger, consultant/ career coach, or editor/ teacher.
This also brings up a popular phrase — “slash career”, which means people make multiple income streams simultaneously. Having a slash career was initially popular among those creative workers, such as illustrators, but this became more mainstream especially with millennials in other traditional fields as well.
Benefits of slash career
Many people might be skeptical about having a slash career. On the one hand, performing different jobs is considered as a way to bring greater diversity and satisfaction in career life. On the other hand, it may also mean the lack of depth in one specific field and thus less chance to climb to the top. Personally, I think the benefits of having multiple careers outweigh its demerits because it helps achieve stronger fulfillment in both personal and professional life.
Having multiple occupations can reduce tediousness and burnout from repeating one single job, and can help achieve a greater work-life satisfaction. Imagining you’ve been doing/are going to do the same work for 30 or more years, you might become the expert in your arena, but it might also be extremely hard to find joy from it anymore, even if it’s something you felt passionate about in the first place. But if you have different jobs at the same time, it’ll allow you to switch your brains from time to time, to keep yourself intellectually stimulated and motivated. There will always be fresh ideas and experiences, and you’re thus more likely to feel fulfilled.
Financial reliability can also be enhanced if you earn multiple income streams. An additional income can be a supplement to your overall portfolios, which means higher quality of life and greater financial ability to face emergencies. The side job can also be a back-up plan whenever there’s difficulties in your main job. Therefore, developing a slash career usually means a more financially reliable and risk resistant career.
A side business can help develop a wide skill-set, because to have something as a career usually requires you to pick up skills not offered where you currently are or what you previously studied towards in school. The expansion of skills can not only increase your self-confidence for one thing, it also enhances your enticement to employers. Those with diverse skills are normally more competitive at recruitment.
A larger and diverse social network is also easier to be built with a slash career, since you are exposed to new people and professionals who share the same interest/experience with you. Interpersonal relations in this way are easy to be established and new opportunities may be discovered too.
How to have a slash career?
Explore what you’d like to do as a side career
The very first step is to identify where your potentials and passions are. For example, you’re working as an accountant, but do not wish to let go of your passion in photography. Then perhaps your potential side hustle could be a part-time photographer.
After exploring what you feel passionate about, the next step is to acquire essential skills and knowledge. This can be achieved through many ways, such as online courses, books and coaches. A more satisfying side career is ideally based not only on your interests but also on your talents.
Seek opportunities more actively
The premise of starting an additional job is you’ve had a 9-5/desk/corporate job already, in order to get necessary needs met, i.e. mortgage or bills of basic living. Based on this, you may then take more initiatives in finding opportunities. Taking actions to move yourself closer to what you’d like to pursue. Still taking photography as an example, in order to start it professionally, you may start with learning what equipment is suitable to your level, and what shooting techniques are essential. Then moving on to the business side: what can bring you first clients, what platforms provide good opportunities for freelancers, and how you’d like to operate your social media channels for self-branding, and etc.
Manage your time well and be more productive
Managing simultaneous careers is definitely not easy because it usually requires a high level of time management skills in order to schedule different work well at the same time. The first thing to do is writing down everything you need to do and identifying what is within top priority by creating a simple to-do list with the help of tools like TickTick. Then, try to organize your tasks with Kanban (for project management) and Calendar (for time blocking) to plan out and keep a balance between tasks from different careers. Please also remember to avoid burnout by having an objective estimation on the time you spend on your tasks.
- Take your time when initiating a new side career. It’s better to deeply immerse yourself in one particular career and master it first, and then layer in another slash.
- A side business is usually easy to start with virtual work. This is because modern technologies make it low risk and little barrier to entry. It is less economic and effort-intensive to get an online business off the ground.
- Be brave to give up if necessary. Whenever you find the side job you’ve chosen is not something you are truly capable of doing, or something consumes you endlessly, then there’s no point in insisting.
To wrap up
Compared with a traditional linear career path, having a slash career may sound skeptical in the beginning. But if you see it from a broader perspective, it is optimistic in both personal growth and professional advancement. The word “slash” is not just a fancy word, but is actually associated with multi-passions, possibilities, initiatives and more importantly courage.