The emerging career trend changing the gig economy.
From a young age, it’s easy to feel as if we’re destined for a single career path. Before we’re barely out of nappies, we’re eagerly asked ‘What do you want to be when you grow up’, and adults appear satisfied with a single answer of ‘a vet’ or ‘a teacher’. Throughout school we’re encouraged to study a handful of subjects, then even fewer A levels, before applying to five different Universities for practically the same degree. It’s a system that works for some while hindering others. Traditionally most of us pour forty hours a week into one occupation. We’re purposefully conditioned to work tirelessly towards a single career path with tunnel vision, mistakenly placing importance on the singularity of focus as the key to success. But who actually enforces the rule, that in order to prosper, we’re required to stick to one occupation? and why is the pursue of a single occupation so heavily ingrained in British society?
Imagine being a scientist and a circus performer, a hairdresser and a builder, a writer and a photographer. Welcome to the world of slashing, the career trend that’s encouraging multifaceted to pursue multiple professions at once. Don’t be startled, it’s far less aggressive than it sounds, the portfolio careerist if you like. Over the past ten years, those choosing to become a slashie has slowly, but surely been on the rise, with studies finding that as many as one-third of Brits expressed a desire to work outside their day job and to spend more time pursuing passions. Slashies are confidently ridding themselves of labels, boxes and pretty much any form of confinement in an effort to embrace the freedom and fluidity of multiple career paths.
The term ‘Slashing’ was coined by Marci Alboher, author of One Person/Multiple Careers, to describe the ‘slash’ in the job title of someone who has more than one occupation. In recent years the lifestyle has gained momentum and technology has allowed advances in access to other money-making avenues, with sites like eBay and Air BnB providing an opportunity for individuals to generate income outside of their regular day job. In 2018 author Emma Gannon released ‘the multi hyphen method’ which essentially encourages us to work less and create more, with the advantage of the digital age providing the opportunity to work anytime, anywhere. Gannon pushes individuals to embrace our inner entrepreneurial spirit, whether you’re a pharmacist who uploads Mukbangs to YouTube, or an accountant who fixes cars, every one of us is destined for the multi-hyphen method, or to become a Slashie, to me and you.
Being a Slashie is not the same as babysitting in order to become a dancer or reluctantly waiting tables while pursuing an acting career. Being a Slashie appears to be weaving together a patchwork career of which every element is enjoyed. It’s a lifestyle that aims to enforce a better balance between maintaining a successful career, while feeling genuinely happy.
For the graduate, the idea of the slashie lifestyle is somewhat appealing. After three or four long years working, living and breathing a single degree subject, young twenty-somethings are eager to spread their wings and dabble in more than just what their traditionally ‘qualified’ for. Some may fear that a such a split focus could lead to employees that are ‘average’ at many things, but brilliant at nothing, and some are reluctant to become a slashie in case they become less employable. This could not be further from reality. Being a slashie is not the redundancy of passion and dedication to your career, it’s simply the expansion of these things across many different sectors, and who doesn’t want to share the love, right?
Being a slashie means that you develop stronger time management and organisation skills than you ever could working a singular occupation. To be a jack of all trades should no longer be stigmatised and should instead be applauded and strived towards. After all, to balance multiple jobs requires someone who definitely has their sh*t together.
While for some the slashie lifestyle conjures terrifying images of job instability and financial vulnerability, this kind of lifestyle can actually offer the complete opposite. Slashing is not just suited to young graduates looking for new and exciting experiences but can also benefit those who have suffered redundancy. A single occupation means single income, and when this is suddenly taken away, it can quickly lead to all manner of financial hardship. Now imagine this situation as a Slashie, while one job closes its doors on you, you already have another on the go-to fall back on.
Through being a Slashie, your job satisfaction and enjoyment can be at an all-time high, even those who adore their job sometimes wish they could go back to bed, and we all need time away from even the greatest occupations. These days most of us have a fairly low boredom threshold, but there’s nothing to say that this should be considered a weakness. The desire to be regularly stimulated and inspired is something that should be interpreted as ‘up for a challenge’ rather than ‘rapidly disinterested’.
So, is the lifestyle of the Slashie actually just pipedream, millennial rubbish or is it something that could really work? Let’s face it, a struggling single father of three isn’t likely to be able to just up and leave his nine to five to embrace the life of a gymnast. However, the key to the slashie lifestyle as the future of work seems reliant on persuasion by a majority, so that one day that struggling father of three, may actually be able to slip into that leotard and master his backflips.
Slashie’s argue that the more of us that embrace this lifestyle, the more frequently employers will encounter applicants who choose to follow this emerging philosophy. While to most of us the drawbacks of being a Slashie outweighs the advantages, those who are navigating their work-life in this way swear by it.
Do you fancy the Slashie lifestyle? Let us know in the comments below!