Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Confessions of a slasher

Before you become alarmed, I’d better explain myself. Marci Alboher, in her book One Person / Multiple Careers coins the term “slash” to describe a person with several co-existing career identities. (OK, I used the word “slasher” rather than “slash” in the title of today’s entry, but I just had to get your attention!)

Alboher, a former lawyer, now labels her “slash identity” as “author/ speaker/ coach.” She states that she, like the numerous people described in her book, thrives despite (or perhaps because of) the complexity of her work choices. And what incredible career combinations she has interviewed! Her book profiles an Olympian turned lawyer/filmmaker/mother, a computer programmer/theater director, a lawyer/minister, and many, many other “slashes.”

Alboher’s book shows us that, now, identity may be much more fluid than ever before. Why should we pursue only one career at time – particularly in the age of instant messaging, email and telecommuting? Why can’t we take on projects utterly unrelated to our primary careers? And why can’t primary careers change to secondary careers and then back again?

For me, Alboher’s ideas are just what I need to hear. For the first time, I feel that it’s not terribly odd to be a lawyer/tea entrepreneur/mother. In fact, combinations like that are becoming more and more typical in our rapidly changing workplace. This sort of complexity may not work for everyone, and it certainly involves serious compromise, prioritization, and let’s face it, juggling. Nevertheless, according to Alboher, it works for a growing number of people.

I particularly like her suggestion that we all have the wonderful opportunity to re-invent ourselves regularly. What a way to live – open to possibility and change, open to exploring all of our talents and interests (though of course not all at once). I can’t think of anything more inspiring and empowering.

Copyright 2007, East West Blends, LLC, All Rights Reserved

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