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Summary:

If you’re feeling stagnant and you’re wanting some new challenge, you could ditch what you’re doing and start something altogether different. But that’s disruptive and scary. Author/speaker/coach Marci Alboher suggests an alternative in her book One Person/Multiple Careers: add a slash. Don’t stop what you’re already […]

If you’re feeling stagnant and you’re wanting some new challenge, you could ditch what you’re doing and start something altogether different. But that’s disruptive and scary. Author/speaker/coach Marci Alboher suggests an alternative in her book One Person/Multiple Careers: add a slash. Don’t stop what you’re already doing. Add something alongside your current work. You can have more than one occupation at once, Alboher suggests, and there are many good reasons to do so.

Creating a slash career allows you to personalize your work to your skills and interests, explore different facets of your personality with lowered risk to your wallet, and take advantage of today’s increasingly flexible and fluid workplace. Some slash careers add up to more than the sum of their parts — as I learned recently when the au pair coordinator in our neighborhood shared with me that she also works as an interior decorator, finding in the au pair host families a built-in source of clients and referrals for her design business.

Alboher’s book offers plenty of real-world stories and practical advice for how to combine whatever income-earning opportunities you want, from lawyer/filmmaker/mother to actor/realtor to cowboy/poet. Some of her tips on starting to slash that resonated with me include these:

  • If you plant a lot of seeds, some will die and some will blossom into thriving plants. The same is true for the various slashes you cultivate in your life.
  • Taking on a slash — or exploring your field from a different perch — can make you better at your original work.
  • When launching a slash that’s related to your original field, make sure to keep one foot in your old world. It will keep you connected to the issues and enhance your credibility as people learn about your new line of work.
  • When you try to turn a hobby into a full-time career, there is a lot of pressure to succeed. Instead, if you take it on as a slash, the pressure to succeed is off. You already have a career, so there’s a lot less to lose.

Of course the web offers many ways of expanding yourself with another slash: build a tech support business or emcee webinars or try virtual world entrepreneurship or serve as an online community manager.

The next time you need something new in your work, think about whether a slash might be the way to bring it into your life.

  1. [...] Web Worker Daily » Blog Archive Tip of the Week: Slash Your Career « Why you should have more than one career at the same time (tags: careers) [...]

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  2. Hooray for slash careers! They will become the standard I believe, especially as Gen Y grows up and pursues our multiple interests. Indulging in a slash career is a great way to decide if the second or third slash is really for you.

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  3. Anne

    Thanks for bringing the book to my attention.

    I wrote a somewhat related story (‘Find new cows that you can milk’) earlier this week.

    Here’s the link http://www.sergetheconcierge.com/2007/07/find-new-cows-t.html

    Have a good week-end

    Serge
    ‘The French Guy from New Jersey’

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  4. How does this idea differ from the “portfolio career” concept that was popular several years ago? Is it the same? Or is there a subtle difference. I get the sense that the portfolio careerist had separate careers, e.g., one business card says “writer” and a totally separate branding happens for the bed and breakfast biz, while perhaps the slash careerist puts him or herself forward as the primary brand. Is that accurate?

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  5. First, thanks Anne, for recommending my book and talking about the concept of slash careers on your blog.

    To answer your question, Barbara, the slash concept is in fact another way to talk about portfoliio careers. Slash careers, by whichever name you choose to call them, have always existed — from the prototypical reannaissance man or woman who has multiple passions to the moonlighter who takes on extra jobs to pay the bills. What I think is different about today is that it is so easy to take on multiple identities in our working lives that huge swaths of the population find it necessary to use a “/” to properly describe what they do.

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  6. Slashing Your Career can open new doors

    Ann Zelenka our colleague over at WebWorker Daily published a great piece entitled Slash Your Career. Before you ask why anyone would want to do this, consider the following: increasingly, many feel a growing sense of disengagement from their current

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  7. The one obstacle to a slash career may be a boss who believes all that you do (on the clock and off) belongs to the primary company paying your way — and has the lawyer-on-retainer to prove it, should a dispute on the topic ever arise.

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  8. Albeit this is an interesting notion, one challenge to consider is that it’s difficult to truly become good at something without having a singular focus. I recently read Seth Godin’s book called The Dip and he mentions in this book that the key to value is scarcity. When you’re the best at something, a true expert, you’ve become valuable to the marketplace because of your uniquity. I am not shooting this concept down by any means but one should consider that chasing various pursuits could come at the expense of becoming an expert at something else.

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  9. [...] A New Model for Work/Life Success by Marci Alboher. If one career or field is not enough, try slashing your work life. That means combines multiple jobs or businesses or income streams in ways that uniquely suit you. [...]

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  10. [...] harder to justify the cost of a conference registration. But these times are also times to put the slash in your career and learn something new, or finish up a nagging project to get some closure. While learning the [...]

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