Becoming A Slashie: A Smart Career Choice Or A Path To Burnout?

What does this string of words mean to you?

Accountant / Entrepreneur / Surfer / Activist / Father / Philanthropist / Blogger.

You got it. This person is a shameless slashie.

Or slasher.

Or multipotentialite. (Sounds like a rare rock formation found deep in a cave.)

Or, for the more formal among us, a portfolio careerist.

RISE OF THE SLASHIE.

Some of my first childhood memories are of relatives asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I’m sure if I asked for a virtual show of hands, many of us would have this experience in common.

It seemed that society was set up such that we had to pick a field and stick with it.

Once chosen, we would study it at university, get a job in that field and do that work until we retired. From a young age, we were programmed to believe that if we didn’t follow that path, the fabric of society would begin to unravel.

We had to do our part.

True?

EVIDENTLY NOT FOR EVERYONE.

While it’s a fact that many people have found fulfillment and success at the hands of an intensely focused career, the straight and narrow isn’t right for everyone.

And for those who fall into the latter camp, their day has officially come.

Journalist / Author / Speaker Marci Alboher, who penned One Person/Multiple Careers (heed the slashes) defines slashies (or slashers) as individuals who've created a "portfolio career" involving multiple identities.

Meaning, their income is a combination of part-time work, temporary work, freelance assignments or a personal business—or they work a full-time job, while pursuing other money-making interests or hobbies.

The key phrase here is multiple identities—which takes my mind right to multiple personalities. And indeed, if you’re not suited for this lifestyle, it might make you feel a tad schizophrenic.

So, who is the slasher lifestyle right for? Any why do people go down this path?

Ironically, job security comes up as a popular reason.

Here’s what Irene McConnell, Managing Director of personal branding consultancy Arielle Careers has to say about it:

“Anyone who has found themselves fired, retrenched or simply stuck in the wrong job understands the importance of moving multiple careers forward and not putting all career eggs in one basket. By juggling multiple careers, one can have options....”

INSURANCE AGAINST UNPREDICTABLE SETBACKS.

The slashie emerged like a phoenix from the last major global economic downturn of 2008/9.

McConnell’s message is that, if you’re concerned with the possibility of another downturn, being a slashie is a smart option. Don’t give up your security to pursue your dreams. Keep your main course in the center of your plate…just surround it with tasty side dishes.

Very sensible advice for those not fully prepared to embrace their inner slashie-ness.

But something isn’t sitting quite right with me.

Am I alone in envisioning a scenario where balancing a full-time career with an entrepreneurial pursuit for the rest of your working life could become, em, how do I put this…

A RECIPE FOR A HEART ATTACK?

Let’s look at it from another perspective. If you became rich tomorrow, and money was no object, what would you do with your life?

Did you give one answer, or several?

If you gave one answer, and you really mean it from the bottom of your soul (remember money is no object), your slashie potential is low. It’s okay, though, we need specialists in the world.

Don’t let the multipotentialites make you feel like there’s something wrong with you for not joining their club.

Because they can’t even pick a single term to describe themselves. Just saying…

If you’re decisive and committed, be proud. It’s who you are.

But if, from the bottom of your soul when money is removed from your reality, you tend toward multiple identities – also be proud. It’s who you are.

Emilie Wapnick, author of How to Be Everything, spells out what she calls the three superpowers of a multipotentialite (her term):

1. IDEA SYNTHESIS

Innovation has been proven to happen at the intersection of at least two fields, which is the realm of the multipotentialite.

2. RAPID LEARNING

Multipotentialites dive deep into many disparate topics. They’re most comfortable being a beginner and are less afraid than most people of learning new things.

3. ADAPTABILITY

Multipotentialites can morph into whatever they need to be in any situation because they’re so versatile.

Fast Company recently tweeted that adaptability may matter more than any individual accomplishment on your resume.

ANY OF THOSE SUPERPOWERS STRIKE A CHORD IN YOU?

If so, and you’re thinking of adding a slash or two to your career portfolio, here is one major factor to consider:

Are you a strong multitasker, hyper organized and an efficient user of time?

If you’re lacking on this practical level, even the sexiest superpowers won’t save you. So, be honest with yourself.

Could it be that you’re avoiding a deeper issue, such as being burned out with your current career, but you can’t muster the motivation to make a more profound change?

Again, be honest.

But if you’re truly destined to become a slashie, need to not limit yourself to one path.

PROVIDED YOU DO THESE THREE THINGS:

1. SAVE YOUR MONEY.

Have enough set aside to deal with any impending setbacks or unexpected disasters.

2. HAVE ONE CONSISTENT AND DOMINANT ROLE IN YOUR PORTFOLIO.

If you’re too flighty, recruiters will sniff you out immediately. As will prospective clients for whatever your side hustles may be. Plus, it’s more stable for your income to have a major focus.

3. REMEMBER YOUR BRAND.

Never forget that you’re a brand. Every brand has to stand for something. Every element of your career portfolio needs to map back to your brand purpose. Don’t get sloppy with your reputation.

ONE LAST THOUGHT.

Da Vinci was a Painter / Scientist / Engineer/ Mathematician.

Michelangelo was a Sculptor / Painter / Architect / Poet.

Multidimensionality was accepted (even expected), cultivated and revered in Renaissance society. Perhaps we haven’t done ourselves any favors by buying into our culture of the boxed identity.

Which brings me to the most compelling point that Emilie Wapnick made:

Embrace your inner wiring – whatever that may be.

By Steven McConnell, director of marketing at Australian personal branding services company Arielle Careers.

Money Matters and Miami Beach: Here's the Lowdown On This Year's GWA Coworking Conference

The GWA Coworking Conference is coming to Miami Beach on 11 - 13 September this year. It's a packed agenda for the flexible office community of users and providers to connect, collaborate, or many just relax by the poolside.

At this year's event, you will meet the people investing in the flexible office industry and the organizations predicted to drive the next generation of spaces. We spoke to Jamie Russo, executive director at GWA, to find out more about the event:

What can attendees expect from this year's GWA?

In my experience, the biggest benefits of attending a conference are the connections you make. You must put yourself out there to be exposed to new ideas and opportunities. Reading blogs and participating in social media is one thing. But you're much less likely to find the next strategic focus for your business, an investor or a solution to your biggest business challenges online.

You find them through connections with people. Community is a core value for most of us in the industry. Communities develop and strengthen with in-person interactions at conferences.

And what benefits does the GWA bring to its attendees?

I would say the highlights are: exclusive access to our full Flexible Office Industry report, access to business growth resources, member forums, a listing on our workspace search site and a discount to our annual conference.

This year's event is focusing on investors in your self-proclaimed "meet the money" topic - why did you choose this theme?  

The topic is broader than investors - it will dig into a variety of ways to capitalize a shared workspace. The sources of capital are growing as the industry quickly evolves. Lenders are "getting" our industry better than ever before, private equity is looking for good operators to acquire, asset owners are looking for operating partners and companies like Staples and Verizon are looking for operating partners. We want to make sure our attendees are in the loop on how these relationships work.

Aside from the amazing beaches, why do you host the event at Miami Beach? 

I consider the amazing beaches to be a positive challenge - how do we keep people in sessions while competing with a premium spot right on the boardwalk? Miami is coming into its own as an entrepreneurial hub and along with that, is home to dozens of flexible workspaces.

What are you most looking forward to on this year's agenda? 

Besides the Bootcamp class at the onsite Spartan gym? I think our main-stage sessions are all very timely and help operators think about positioning for success in our quickly evolving industry. This year, we're hosting highly-facilitated break-out sessions after each main-stage session to give people the opportunity to really dig into the aspect of the topic that's meaningful to them. This is also an opportunity for attendees to connect with each other and those conversations that lead to those serendipitous opportunities.

What makes this event different from other such events for the flexible working sector? 

As an association, we sit at the intersection of the broader landscape of flexible office.  Our annual conference brings together voices from across the flexible office landscape, including coworking, serviced office, corporate workplace leaders, architects, building owners and service providers.

What's your most memorable experience from previous GWA events?

This is a tough one. We put a lot of effort into developing a meaningful agenda. But a lot of the magic comes from the chance to connect and build relationships.

This industry is probably unique in that people in it have a real passion for the work they do. The fact that the industry is grounded in collaboration among members of spaces translates to owners of spaces. It's a willing-to-share group. So, to some extent, know what you want to get out of the conference to evolve your business, ask for it, and you'll get it.

I would also say the conference is probably the most fun conference I've ever been to. When people love their work and have strong relationships with their peers, that tends to translate into people bringing some personality to the table. It's my favorite event of the year, hands down.

What advice would you give to someone attending GWA for the first time?

Send me an email and I'll make sure you meet at least five people at the conference that will impact your business and your life. 

 

From Startups to The Farm SoHo: PR Advice For Entrepreneurs

From Startups to The Farm SoHo: PR Advice For Entrepreneurs

The success of your business, whether it be a new milestone, an extended feature or greater sales, does not automatically result in recognition. This is where Public Relations (PR) enters the picture.