Multi-tasking Careers

Is one career path enough these days?


Words by Fiona Call
September 22nd, 2015

Before the turn of the 21st Century, having more than one job at the same time was rare. The traditional route for many post-university or college students was to settle into one secure and comfortable career path, which paid enough to ensure financial stability for a future well into retirement.

However, since the recession of 2008 and 2009, life for the 20-something generation has changed dramatically. Graduates were now left with few options in the job market, let alone in stable or desired sectors. Subsequently a multi-tasking working population was born as a result, those who would return from a 9-5 job to work in the evening at home or part-time elsewhere in order to pay the bills. Some are labelled “slashies”, for example the DJ/Event Manager/Writers who also sing in their spare time.

An increasing amount of us are choosing to hold down various jobs for enjoyment, in order to break the monotony of everyday life. Due to the shortage of jobs in recent years, graduates have taken jobs that haven’t interested them, or for which they are overqualified, which increases dissatisfaction in other areas of life because work becomes unfulfilling.

Trends in social media have helped to popularise the current type of “slashie” – particularly on Instagram, where young and influential users are modelling, writing books, blogging, incorporating PR samples into posts, and subsequently making millions from it. These Instagrammers are doing something different every day, a far cry from our traditional 9-5 jobs, but are promoting, making partnerships with brands, travelling and increasing their following. With many people turning to entrepreneurship as a side hustle, building businesses and brands are being made easier and more cost-effective with thanks to social media and their advertising tools. If we look at the ever-evolving Facebook ads, now we have options such as Facebook playable ads for even developers and gamers to advertise in a new immersive way.

It’s hard to argue that this kind of job doesn’t hold more excitement than arriving at the office every day and leaving at 5. On the other hand, it’s harder to pinpoint exactly what they do. The older traditions of society place an emphasis on your job title, as it was seen to determine your worth, class and financial position. Yet the new generation of young adults are dispelling the idea that it is necessary to hold one job title, or a title at all.

Going to university still builds on the the ideal of finding our dream job straight after graduation, and staying in that career sector up until retirement. Labour mobility is still not as flexible as it could be since qualifications and experience remain essential for us in order to secure a job, and going to university has the potential to pigeon-hole your range of career prospects come graduation.

For some, it seems that finding that one perfect job represents true fulfilment in life. The idea of feeling excited for the working day ahead, and loving every challenge that your job presents you with, is a rare but accessible dream. But surely your career shouldn’t remain the be-all and end-all of life goals?

It is important to find balance in everyday life, in terms of time with friends and family, hobbies and work. Social media users are finding ways to make money from hobbies, and are even turning them into careers. A huge example are fitness bloggers, who use their expertise and passion to make a living from their love of it. They also advertise sportswear, diets and healthy foodstuffs which helps to bring in money and influence. Whilst this is a highly non-traditional career, it is without a doubt profitable and a newer form of finding one career path.

In a society where permanent positions are scarce, with competition for each place even fiercer, we could easily argue that one path can provide optimum satisfaction. Given that graduates have to work hard to graft the perfect CV and gain invaluable experience, surely reaching that dream position should provide us with satisfaction. But the key term here is enough.

The younger generation is more impatient, wanting results from their work instantly rather than a slow burn to success. Multi-tasking is a way to help young people accomplish various goals and vary their CV skillset, without needing to change from more secure and stable jobs in order to do something more creative. It may be even be helpful in reaching one dream job quicker. Some clearly find satisfaction in a changeable and unpredictable work day, whilst others prefer the solid stability in turning up to the same office, but we cannot deny that no career goal is one size fits all.