Erin Albert is a pharmacist/assistant professor/entrepreneur/writer/law student. You can learn more about her at www.erinalbert.com. Erin and I recently connected over Twitter when talking about the ‘slash’ – a.k.a. the portfolio career. She has been kind enough to write a brief post for the blog here, and my response is below her writing.
As an educator of today’s university students in a professional program, I’m often asked about career development: especially now, during this slowly recovering economy. On the day I wrote this post, a student asked me whether or not to accept a decent job offer she had received (but which required an immediate decision) or wait it out for the job she really wanted. I asked her: why not both?
Let me further explain. To put all one’s career eggs in one basket anymore can and could be a nightmare. With one job, you’re just one mere redundancy programme away from termination. However, on the other hand, the “slash,” or the person who has multiple careers and streams of income coming in at the same time, will not be as crushed by termination, because she will also have multiple streams of income, not just one.
The economic downturn has magnified the existence of the slash. Whether one wishes to call it “income patching” or “economic gardening,” the slash has a variety of careers occurring at the same time. For example, a friend I recently interviewed for my new next book (entitled, Single. Women. Entrepreneurs.) is an attorney/consignment store owner/notary. She literally holds all three positions right now. Another in the book is a pharmacist/wedding planner/entrepreneur/wedding planner educator. Yet another friend of mine teaches at the community college level and is an attorney/political reporter/radio talk show host/comedian.
I could go one with even more slashes from my life, but I think you get the picture. If any of my friends mentioned above loses one of his or her jobs, devastation, catastrophe and horror will not ensue. It will be in fact easier for them to recover, and probably also find yet another job, because they have multiple skill sets, multiple streams of thinking, multiple networks to tap into, and most importantly, more streams of income already coming in to their bank accounts.
Slashes are no longer limited to horror movies. They are actually a blessing and a solution to this economic recovery!
The Setsights perspective:
At Setsights I often say to coachees that they should aim for a job or jobs they enjoy. Naturally, people have wide skills sets, and often multiple part-time jobs can indeed be more satisfactory. I had a client who spends part of her time as a music teacher and part of the time as a writer, and came to me because she wanted to turn her hobby (web design) into a job.
Together we worked out that she could provide occasional web design projects to others, without having to make it a full time career. Today she’s happy: she gets to enjoy her web design, her teaching and her writing; all the “strings to her bow” are tuned.
Personally, I’m also a slash. I have always had multiple things on, from when I was a student/music teacher, to a student/photographer/lighting designer, and the modern day when I’m a coach/trainer/writer/management consultant/performer. I couldn’t be fulfilled if I removed a slash. Being fulfilled makes me happy, and the goal is Setsights is for me to help you be happy as well.