I never thought it was for me. I thought people that worked more than one job were either desperate, broke or both. That was until I had an unlikely opportunity turn into something more.
In January of 2015, during a meeting of United Way Partner Agencies, the conversation turned to a big presentation that all of our agencies are required to give to our allocations panel. In this room full of nonprofit experts, very few were comfortable giving a presentation. I offered to lead a workshop on presentation skills and they took me up on it. One agency director liked it enough to recommend me to her state association who invited me to speak at their conference and then a funny thing happened; they paid me.
That day changed a lot of things for me. I enjoyed myself so much that I wanted to do it again and again. The first thing I did was hit up some of my friends that I knew were working at two careers to ask them how they did it. Between their advice, and a lot of intense self-study, I’ve learned a lot about this movement that I call the Slash/Economy, where there’s a slash / in your job title. I’ve learned that its both a science and an art but if we are to survive in this new Slash/Economy, here’s what we need to know:
Do What We Love
There’s an old saying that do what you love and you’ll never work again. It’s great advice to end up broke because very few of us can feed our families only doing what we love. That said, at least one side of our slash needs to be something we love doing. That love with fuel the passion for getting up early and staying up late to get better. Success in the Slash/Economy starts with love.
Keep It Fun, But Make It Work
In talking with friends of mine that are making it big in the Slash/Economy, they’re all doing it because it’s fun and they love it, but at the same time, they do it consistently as if they had to. Doing it when you want to is a hobby and there’s nothing wrong with that, but having a second career requires a mindset of viewing both sides of our slash as work.
Be Ruthless With Time
Working two fulltime jobs while having a family and other commitments requires above all things, the ability to bend time to meet our needs. The biggest lesson I’ve learned in my time as a Slasher has been that I absolutely must keep myself scheduled in a calendar that I can trust myself to look at. This means keeping everything in one place no matter how big or how small. If we’re going to do everything well, we must be ruthless with our time.
Choose To Be Great
The difference between a professional and a hobbyist is a commitment to excellence. It’s not enough to be good at one career and great at the other. If we’re going to use a slash to describe ourselves, we must be great at both. This takes time and it takes commitment, but more than anything it requires that we choose to obsess over both our careers until we’re truly great at both of them.
Build A Personal Brand
A lot of the people I’ve interviewed with want to leave the Slash/Economy one day for the career that they love. Until that day comes, they’re feeding their families with one career and their soul with another. The only way that anyone ever gets to leave though is if they either quit doing what they love or get so well known for what they love that it will pay all of the bills. Those are the only two ways out. This means we must become experts, get the packaging right and nail the promotion. If not, we’re just like the poor souls in Hotel California, we can check out anytime we like, but we can never leave.
I never thought it would happen to me, but I’m now a proud Slasher. The more I learn about the subject the more excited I get because I see so many others that are killing it doing what they love and paying their bills at the same time. Survival in this new Slash/Economy requires new skills, but when we love what we do, show up to work, are ruthless with our calendars, choose to be great and build a personal brand, we’ve got the foundation for a great start.