Book Review: One Person/Multiple Careers: A New Model for Work/Life Success

10 years ago

“Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else.” – James Matthew Barrie

Can you answer, “What do you do” with a single response? I assume most BlogHer members might struggle coming up with concise wording. Enter the use of the “slash” descriptive. As in:

- Pharmacist / jewelry maker / eBay seller
- Manager of human resources / caterer / art collector
- Systems engineer / Champaign importer & connoisseur
- For many of us: / blogger is part of our identities.

Marci Alboher calls this the “slash” phenomenon – when you add a slash or two to your job description. Alboher is the author of the book: One Person/Multiple Careers: A New Model For Work/Life Success and she explains:

When the disparate threads of one’s life are woven together in this way, the whole of you comes out.

Jane M. Von Bergen interviewed Alboher in the Philadelphia Inquirer and writes:

Alboher used to be slash-less, just a plain old lawyer in New York. But once she got interested in people with multiple careers, she noticed them everywhere - just the way pregnant women suddenly notice that everyone at the mall has either a belly or a buggy.

Alboher is not alone in her thinking. According to a guest post by A.J. Jacobs over at Brazen Careerist, he predicts that the double-job trend is making a comeback. Who wants to be pigeonholed into just one profession during the paycheck collecting phase of life? Pity the doctor, the lawyer, the accountant. Hooray for the mortgage broker who does stand-up or the sales rep who peddles landscaping talents on weekends. Jacobs writes:

All the great figures of the eighteenth and nineteenth century had at least two simultaneous jobs, maybe more.

Modern work is starting to learn from history. Cali Williams, an author and blogger at Work+Life Fit wrote in her review:

Not only does Marci share the stories of over 60 people who have found what she calls their “/” career, but she lays out how you can do it too. For example, an interesting common theme involves professionals—lawyers, accountants, etc.—who want to pursue endeavors in the arts. A “/” allows them to continue to support themselves financially in one job that many of them enjoy without sacrificing the ability to also pursue a creative career as well.

Like every other work+life choice, having one career and wanting another is not necessarily an “all or nothing” proposition. One Person/Multiple Careers adds an important and overdue perspective to the conversation. It confirms that creatively combining work and life is an “everyone” issue.

But keep in mind, slash careers aren’t just for lawyesr and accountants. Leslie Madsen Brooks, a BlogHer contributing editor for Research, Academia & Education wrote in her post: “Slash” and braided careers in academia, or how I learned to embrace career chaos:

In academia, the slash is integral to the job. Most institutions grant tenure and merit increases based on research, teaching, and service to the institution and community. What that means is your average faculty member at a research university needs to be a scholar/writer/researcher/professor/adviser/dissertation chair/committee member. At a small liberal arts college, it might look more like professor/study abroad adviser/ad hoc academic technologist/accreditation committee member.

Making sense? It did for me. Alboher’s book is a how-to guide filled with profiles of others juggling multiple slashes. The best section for bloggers is Chapter 4 explaining how Writing, Teaching, Speaking and Consulting are four slashes that go with anything. She calls these skills the black pants of your slash wardrobe. If you have an area of expertise, then “work all the channels of delivery in which each slash fuels the others.”

Cindy Krischer Goodman writes The Work/Life Balancing Act blog and agrees that slashes have a complementary nature. She notes some of Alboher’s practical suggestions:

Multiple careers seem like a great way to avoid burnout or to keep a safe job and venture into something more risky. But how do you overcome obstacles and negotiate work arrangements? Some tips from Alboher: keep multiple business cards, multiple resumes, and find slash-friendly employers.

So buy the book! Keep in mind that I’m asked to review a lot of career and personal finance books and most of the time I lose interest within the first couple chapters. But Alboher ideas spoke to me and I’m a newfound fan. Be sure and check back on Friday to read her Ten Money Questions interview.

Now… what’s on either side of your slash? I’m curious to learn how you’re making money with more than one identity? Share your thoughts and slashes below.

---------------
Nina blogs about money at Queercents. My slashes include: software sales / international business traveler / real estate investor / landlord / blogger

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