Career choices are a thing of the past

Last week my colleague Els and her husband opened up a wine and tea bar in Leuven: Terroir. Els decided to feed her passion for tea and started following a tea sommelier course this past year, she uses this knowledge today in her own bar. She does all of this while running Make me Fly! together with Rilla. She fell in love with tea as well as with happiness at work, making it impossible to choose. Luckily she didn’t have to. It’s a phenomenon that’s getting quite common, it even has it’s own name… Just look up slash career in google. You will see combinations you never thought possible. An audiologist who makes and sells jewelry, a barista who delivers flowers at weddings, a programmer who creates illustrations. The options are endless.

More than one career path

We live in a time were a fixed career path is a thing of the past. Even if you wanted to, spending your entire career in a single company is a unique thing. Reorganizations, take-overs and changes follow each other at a rapid speed. When my parents first started working you would often spend your career at one place, obviously your role would change and you would get chances for growth, but your path was rather linear. My mum for example, she has been handling a primary school administration for as long as I can remember. A job that gives her a lot of fulfillment, she practices her other passions, like ceramics and flower arrangements in her spare time. My dad however is a professor as well as a business coach. His career path never existed out of a single path, he often walked multiple paths at the same time. He never believed in making choices when it comes to your career. Even as a student he adopted this mindset. He studied to become a civil engineer while simultaneously pursuing a bachelor in philosophy. Because he could and because he was passionate about both.

Live the way you want

There’s plenty we could learn from people with a slash career. People with this kind of career experience a better work-life balance. Being happy with your work-life balance has little to do with the amount of time you spent on each part but rather the amount of joy they give you. By combining different passions slash careers can fill up possible hiatuses. It gives someone the opportunity to someone who doesn’t feel quite fulfilled in their job anymore the possibility to supplement his career with another passion, while still maintaining financial independence. Which in turn leads to better balance. Win-win! Contrary to what you might intuitively believe employees with slash careers are often wanted by employers. These are people that exhibit discipline, creativity and a wide range of skills. Moreover these people bring entrepreneurial skills to the work environment. So don’t be afraid to bring this up with your employer. Because there’s a benefit to the company as well. Happy employees work better, stay motivated and are more flexible.

Balance your passions

A happy life doesn’t necessarily consist of less work and more free time. No, it’s about being able to fulfill your passion(s). The slash career isn’t a hype but a noticeable trend; a growing number of ‘millenials’ has one. This also explains the growing group of ‘creative generalists’ and ‘multipotenialites’ (someone who has multiple interests and passions). History taught us that success often lies on the crossroads of multiple passions, think about Jackie O., Laura Ingalls Wilder, Eleanor Roosevelt, Isaac Newton, Leonardo Da Vinci… Admittedly these are big shots… but everyday examples out of our coaching practice are just as inspirational: the bookkeeper with a picking meadow, the health coach with a clothing store, the engineer who builds wooden garden structures and of course our own coach/trainer/tea sommelier. Taking a different look at work, gives you breathing room.

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