“Slash career” – a host of skills on a single business card
The number of people listing multiple job titles on their business cards has been growing of late, as we move from an era in which people had a job for life to one in which it is increasingly common for people to build their own, sometimes eclectic, careers. Below we examine these so-called “slash careers”. You may need to revisit your own career plan and set yourself upon a new career path.
What is a “slash career”?
“Slash career” is the term popularly used to denote the career of someone who has multiple jobs, so called because the different job titles are separated by a forward slash sign (/) – for example, someone might describe themselves as a comedian/author, a lecturer/yoga instructor, or a salesman/writer. People with slash careers are known as “slashers”.
There are different types of slash careers. Some slashers perform multiple jobs concurrently, while others have a main job combined with one or more sidelines, or pro bono work – that is, voluntary work using the skills they have built up in the course of their paid career. Some of the work may be undertaken in the employ of a company or other organisation, whilst other work is performed on a freelance basis.
In the past, having multiple jobs was largely seen in a negative light, simply as a way of making ends meet. Having a slash career is now seen more positively, as a way of building your own ideal career.
Slash career examples
An obvious example of a multiple concurrent career would be someone who works as both a singer and an actor, or someone who freelances as both a designer and a writer.
Rohto Pharmaceutical is an oft cited example of an organisation promoting the main job-plus-side job type of slash career. In February 2016, the company introduced a programme to enable its employees to use their skills outside the company and in different jobs within the company. Employees taking advantage of this system have included a qualified pharmacist who wanted to work in a pharmacy, and a production manager who set up a local craft brewery.
The upsides and downsides of a slash career
A plus point of a slash career is that you can enhance your personal worth by combining skills acquired in different job arenas. Someone with a finance or real estate background, for example, could equip themselves to work in FinTech or real estate tech by acquiring IT skills.
It can be hard to make a complete career change if the experience and skills you have gained to date are not required in your desired field. But, making a career change is easier if you can – as a slasher – carry on working and earning in your current field whilst gradually mastering the skills you need for your new career.
Another advantage is that building working relationships with a number of companies or organisations broadens your business network. This is particularly important in the case of freelancers who don’t have access to a workplace noticeboard and need a network of personal contacts to find work.
A downside of a slash career is that you need good time management skills successfully to combine multiple jobs. If you devote too much time to your side jobs you might end up neglecting your main job, and your physical and mental wellbeing might suffer if you spend too many hours of the day working. It is vital that you place a limit on your working hours, and devote time and energy to your private, as well as your working, life.
Food for thought
If you are a company employee, you need to make sure that any side work does not violate company regulations. You must take care that you do not provide inside information about one company to another, or damage the interests of the company by helping a competitor.
As AI (artificial intelligence) develops, some people may lose their jobs to computers or robots. We shouldn’t believe we are set for life because we have mastered a single job. We are likely from now on to need to differentiate ourselves and enhance our career value by combining multiple careers.