Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Slash Effect

I'm currently reading One Person/Multiple Careers: How "The Slash Effect" Can Work for You by Marci Alboher, author/speaker/coach (2007).

The quote in the first paragraph of the Introduction grabbed my interest right away:
A single fixed identity is a liability today.  It only makes people more vulnerable to sudden changes in economic conditions.  The most successful and healthy among us now develop multiple identities, managed simultaneously, to be called upon as conditions change.  Recent research also suggests that developing multiple identities is one of the best buffers we can erect against mental and physical illness. ~Gail Sheehy, New Passages:Mapping Your Life Across Time, 1995.
As a person of faith, this reminds me of similar advice to diversify given in Ecclesiastes 11:
Cast your bread on the surface of the waters, for you will find it after many days.  Divide your portion to seven or even to eight for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth.....Sow your seed in the morning and do  not be idle in the evening for you do not know whether morning or evening sowing will succeed, or whether both of them alike will be good.

A brief survey of my contacts on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn shows that few of us are "living the slash" of a diversified parallel career or if so, few are proclaiming.  At the same time, the international employment environment around us is changing to the loudly touted "gig economy" and even more so in the wake of the European financial implosions.  In the extreme, the "gig economy" is a workplace of freelance and subcontract opportunities, a workforce of free agents (Daniel Pink, Free Agent Nation).

Marci Alboher does a great job in her book of freeing the reader from both tyrannies: "regular" and "gig" employment.  She provides profiles from interviews of person after person who has a combination of "regular" employment and "gig" employment and other employment AT THE SAME TIME.

One example includes a corporate marketer by day who runs an eBay store by night to sell 18th and 19th century valentines with a cowboy theme!  Alboher provides many more examples to show how you don't have to chose either/or, that you can chose a menu of options and in appropriate proportions for each such as a main course, appetizer and dessert.

Here's to constructing a more creative menu of options, "the slash effect"!

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