One of my primary goals is to expand the work+life conversation to include all of the countless reasons for adjusting your work+life “fit” over the course of your life and career.
We hear a lot about the challenges of working while caring for children or an aging relative. We are beginning to talk more about finding creative ways work in retirement. Yet, there is one work+life goal that is important to many people but we don’t hear about. It involves adjusting your work+life fit in order to have multiple careers or to pursue an avocation, and it’s the subject of the new book, One Person/Multiple Careers: A New Model for Work/Life Success, by my friend Marci Alboher.
Not only does Marci share the stories of over 60 people who have found what she calls their “/” career, but she lays out how you can do it too. For example, an interesting common theme involves professionals—lawyers, accountants, etc.—who want to pursue endeavors in the arts. A “/” allows them to continue to support themselves financially in one job that many of them enjoy without sacrificing the ability to also pursue a creative career as well. In fact, one accountant showcased is also a cartoonist.
How prevalent is the desire to use flexibility to find time and energy to pursue another career or avocation in addition to your current job? More common than you might imagine. Here’s some interesting quantitative and qualitative data:
• Aquent, a company that provides marketing experts to organizations on a variety of work arrangements from full-time to project-based, surveyed 1,500 of their male and female professionals. When asked why they desired work flexibility, the top response was (32%) “I want time for hobbies or other interests,” and another 8% said “I like to balance multiple jobs.” In contrast, 21% said time to care for children, and 1% said care for elders.
• Anecdotally, during a recent speech, I was asked a number of questions about “how do I find time to..” start freelancing, be a personal trainer, or help my wife run her business. I was nice to be able to recommend Marci’s book as a roadmap to navigate this “/” work+life transition.
Like every other work+life choice, having one career and wanting another is not necessarily an “all or nothing” proposition. One Person/Multiple Careers adds an important and overdue perspective to the conversation. It confirms that creatively combining work and life is an “everyone” issue.