The “Slash” Career

Maybe you have a “Slash” career. I’ve had one for 10 years. A “slash” career is a life that is made up of more than one job, or related careers. For example, I am a writer/creativity coach/training designer/workshop leader/speaker. That’s a lot of slashes, but it makes sense to me.

From in an article titled, “Is it Legal to Work Two Full-Time Jobs?”

Having a slash-career means that one skill doesn’t get used every day and exhaust you. It also means that if you have a part of your career that needs nurturing and building, you can do that, because the other parts are floating your boat, not sinking your ship.

In many ways, we are all slash-characters in our own lives: we are employees or employers, parents, spouses, children, cooks, story-tellers, mentors, members, and also exhausted, brave, over-committed, tired, cheerful, and grateful. It may not be much of a leap to a slash-career, unless you are trying to turn each segment into a full-time career.

Ten years ago, having a slash-career was suspect. Now, it’s common. What’s interesting is the way people explain it. I find myself not saying I do more than one thing, because people want to know what it is I do, not listen for a long list to choose from. So to people who are in the corporate world, I would say I’m a training developer. To another writer, of course, I’m a writer, too. That need for connection is strong.

The slash life is interesting and varied. When I was in the corporate world it was called “wearing different hats,” or “multitasking,” and was valued, but only up to a certain point. The point was the paycheck. It seems you got paid according to the lowest-valued of the jobs you did. The administrative assistants who did part of the job of their supervisors, did not get supervisor pay, they got admin pay.

According to the Department of Labor, 7.8 million people work more than one job, and about 300,000 people work full time at two different jobs. Severn percent of all Americans work more than 60 hours a week. We are turning into a slash-job nation. In more than one way.

Quinn McDonald is a writer, creativity coach who is in Dallas teaching One-Sentence Journaling.


7 thoughts on “The “Slash” Career

  1. I’m glad I read this post. Sometimes I realize that I am doing so much and try to cut back on doing all that I love instead of making myself much better.

  2. I have slash jobs too. As many of us do. But that does lead to working more and more hours it seems. I don’t think that is necessarily a good thing. I’m trying to figure out how to cut those hours to have more play hours and less work hours.

    • I’m a workaholic, Deb, and I have the same bad habit. Ideally, you will work on the part of your job that is on the upturn of the business cycle and have excellent time management. That’s on my to-do list. Now, where did I put it?

  3. I think the era of long-term corporate jobs was a fairly short aberration, historically. One of the roles of a corporate organization is to intermediate between people with skills (“pros”) and people who need those skills performed (“clients”). As an employee you generally don’t need to find your own clients. In purely economic terms you pay for this service; by becoming employees, pros “hire a marketing team”. Sort of. Some organizations raise the role of intermediation to highest priority — ad agencies, for example, could be described as marketing teams for creative pros.

    Like other middlemen (publishers, record labels, newspapers, etc) the value of the intermediation function is dropping as everybody is getting direct access to everybody else. The industrial era (for want of a better term) is ending.

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