Lots of multipods have more than one career or job title. They’re actors/waiters, lawyers/filmmakers, graphic designers/bakers/virtual assistants, and so on. This is what Emilie calls the slash approach.
Having a slash career means working in more than one discipline at the same time, often because the money you make in one field enables you to spend time in another. You’ll often hear of as yet undiscovered musicians and actors waiting tables to pay the bills. But some people also work in more than one field simply because they like them all.
A cause of discomfort
Unfortunately, lots of people are uncomfortable about their slash careers. Having more than one job can be a source of embarrassment, low self-esteem, and even resentment.
Some people who work more than one work see themselves as not having “made it” yet. Some worry about not being an expert in anything. Others just worry that other people will see it that way.
But most slash careers serve a purpose, whether that’s helping to pay the bills, fund a dream, explore career options, or provide some fun. So, if a slash careers are necessary, wouldn’t it be healthier to adopt a more positive attitude towards them?
How to reframe slash careers
Last year, I was at a conference called Alive in Berlin, where I heard Pamela Slim talk about creating a body of work. She mentioned an idea that I think would help a lot of multipotentialites to feel better about having multiple pursuits or jobs.
What if, instead of seeing yourself as an actor/waiter, you saw yourself as an actor AND a waiter? What if, instead of seeing yourself as half of one thing and half of the other thing, you saw yourself one thing PLUS another thing?
By seeing yourself as a plus rather than as a slash, you focus on what you have rather than what you don’t have. You have both the skills of an actor – empathy and voice projection, for example – and the skills of a waiter – customer service and math, for example.
With this view, instead of focusing on what you believe you lack, whether that’s experience or expertise, you’re able to focus on the extras that you bring to the table.
You begin to understand that you add value simply by being able to combine the knowledge and skills of two or more unrelated areas, creating innovation at the intersections. It’s a glass half full kind of situation.
Change your mindset
If you’re currently working more than one job and you or the people around you see that as a bad thing, I’d encourage you to reframe the situation. Instead of viewing yourself as half of one thing and half of another, see yourself as both things.
Realize that you are not less valuable as an employee because of your slash approach. If anything, you are more valuable, because it means you have more to bring to the table. It’s something to be proud of!
Do you have a slash career? How do you explain it to other people?