The Slash Career – the latest career trend
Does the slash career bring more control, or less?
A slash career usually allows people to follow more than one career path. Can this allow us to better follow our passions?
Creating a career path in today’s uncertain and ambiguous economic times is less straightforward than it was for our parents. Back in the day they left college, got a job, maybe made a few upward moves and everything was hunky dory. But today, the linear career is being replaced by a number of different options. Stephen Toft in his post "The future of Work is Human" suggests that one of the expectations around the future of work was that "Companies will consist of a small core of employees and a large cloud of temporary and contract workers." But pundits also suggested that the gender pay gap would be closed by 2020 and we all know how that is working out.
Shift in working patterns
But there is no doubt there is a shift. In response to the recession, we saw the emergence of the Portfolio Careers, which is having a series of jobs, one after the other usually for a short period of time. Historically this was called job hopping and considered to be a sure sign of fecklessness. We then saw what I called Cluster Careers with even further diversification, to include multiple, activities in seemingly unrelated fields possibly in rotation. Here, there tends to be one main revenue source and another side hustle. I know "Pete the Feet" a marine engineer, who is also a chiropodist.
Today the Slash Career is emerging in a much more concrete way than before.
What is a Slash Career?
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
Do you struggle with what you want to do with your career? We can help you find the path you need. Contact 3Plus NOW for more information about our Coaching Services.
What is behind the Slash Career concept
1. Disappearance of linear careers
Slash careers are becoming more mainstream across the board for a number of reasons. Having a non-linear career at one time wasn't part of employment thinking. Employers even penalised non-linear careers in their recruitment processes. Today organisations are looking for increased agility and flexibility in terms of employment models, so that is starting to change. Going forward, employers will hire freelancers, temps, part-timers, remote workers, flex and project managers o people on fixed-term contracts. Truthfully hiring processes are not showing the same degree of agility, so we need considerable progress there. People with slash careers tell me don't feel they are taken as seriously as a full-time specialist and say that bias exists favouring those with a more linear background.
It can also still mean a lack of financial security, both long and short-term for the employee. I know a mix; some who prefer to work this way and others who would prefer the security of a linear career.
2. The possibility to manage different passions
We tell people to find their passion when they are looking for a job. But what if you have multiple passions and interests? For many, pursuing a linear career can be frustrating if they are not able to tap into all their talents. Very often doing something as a hobby may not be enough. Natasha is a Brussels based lobbyist and public affairs specialist, but with a strong artistic side and excellent linguistic skills speaking 5 languages fluently. She is reaching a point where she wants to shift from a portfolio career to a slash career and is looking for ways to do that. She hopes to reach a point where she can devote the same amount of time and energy to all activities, now that they are also equal revenue generators.
3. Control of work/life balance
With a slash career, many people who feel unfulfilled in the daily grind of corporate life can reorientate their energies towards achieving greater balance. The issue isn't always about the idea of hours worked, it's about the notion of control. Pauline a Paris based HR Consultant / NLP practitioner / Hypnotherapist told 3Plus: "I had a very stressful commute and long hours. My day would start at 0500 and sometimes I wouldn't be back in the house until 2100, or even later. I felt out of control. I looked at moving into the centre of Paris, but property prices are high. My kids are settled in school. I decided I needed a change to my lifestyle, personally and professionally. The switch to a slash career gave me flexibility to manage my own time. I probably work the same hours but I feel I could change it if I wanted to. Perhaps it's about empowerment."
A slash career suits those who are multi-talented, as well as having multiple passions. And herein lies the rub. Very often people are passionate about something, but not good enough to make it into a revenue generator. So part of the analysis is assessing not just your skill level but your financial situation too, as accurately as possible.
Building a slash career
Growing a slash career takes time. Quite often they kick off in response to circumstances, either personal or external. They are frequently related to remote or virtual working. They can also be about monetizing a hobby and paying it forward. Not- for- profit or charity work is also a popular option. My observations are that there are some people who genuinely want a slash career. But for others it's forced on them by organisational and economic shifts. You also have to make sure you must have the right personality to handle both the financial uncertainty and frequently working on your own. Many people like the idea of it, but in practice it is a little different. Building a personal advisory board is a good step to put support in place.
It also requires recruiters and hiring managers to make the same leap. Not sure how that is working out either.
Found that interesting?
Learn more about our services
Make your dreams a reality with a professional evaluation of your career to date.
The evidence is in. More women in your company can deliver 35% greater financial returns. (Catalyst)
Dates for the Diary
November 12th European Commission DG GROW
Informal talk on how to deal with sexism - 12.30 - 1400
November 25th Council of the European Union - Corporate Event
How to deal with sexism and harassment in the workplace
Download and listen free podcasts
How to Create an Effective USP What is a USP? Our Unique Selling Point or UVP (Unique Value Proposition) is our key core message about where...read more
How to Rethink the Modern Workplace for Gender Equality New research shows that diversity and inclusion is a top priority for leaders. So why...read more
Menopause in the workplace In this podcast with Nicki Williams award winning author, keynote speaker and Founder of Happy Hormones for Life,...read more
How to Cultivate Empathy in the Workplace Nancy Milton, international business communications expert, keynote speaker and author, share some vital...read more
Taking Care of your COW Tanvi Guatam, international Personal Branding expert says there is a misconception out there that a personal brand is...read more
The importance of Hard Talk Dawn Metcalfe, author of Managing the Matrix and Hard Talk, shares with us tips to achieve the lasting communication...read more
When Does Female Rivalry Turn into Sabotage There’s a lot of stuff written on social media about female rivalry and competition between women. Some...read more
Goal setting tips to boost your career The happiest people are those that really love their jobs. Those that don’t, dread Sunday nights and...read more
Sexism: How to stage a Bystander Intervention in the Workplace In this power coaching podcast, we're going to tackle one of the questions...read more
How to Get Noticed by Head Hunters & Recruiters In this power coaching podcast, we're going to tackle one of the questions asked multiple...read more
Conference swag bags no longer feel like a welcome gift, and instead tend to feel like a waste of resources and effort. Here are some tips to improve them.read more
Make your employer brand attractive to women so that you can attract the top potential candidates.read more
We use it casually every day, but now we need to work out the best social media etiquette for professional use. Remember, your whole reputation could be gone with just one click.read more