I love having multiple jobs but it's not always easy. TOP 5 struggle that slashers run into
I don't remember the first time I read about slashers, but I remember it gave me a moment of enlightenment: there is a word for for it! I am a slasher! Yes! And I am no freak, there are many of us! Now that I have once seen the word "slasher" I see it every now and then in an article (like the one behind the link e.g). In one other article the description of a slasher is far from freak but sounds almost like a hero instead: "Slashers are a modern tribe of workers who have two or three jobs (or more), and who dabble in varied and sometimes radically different environments, dare to go against the flow, do things very differently from everyone else, and juggle with cultural codes as well as professional identities…"
Wow. So that is the hero-side of me ;) But being a slasher is not always easy. When focusing purely on tasks/ jobs that I do, everything usually goes very smoothly. What it comes to the environment where us slashers need to cope, I believe many slashers have struggled with the following 5 things.
1. Slasher needs to explain again and again what they do for living.
It is not only my grandmother's generation, but even the same aged colleagues of mine keep asking: "What exactly you do for living?" "Oh, you changed job?" "I don't really follow what you do for living"... I had hard time explaining people what I do for living since I got kids and started my own company... and worked same time... and had few non-paid projects going on... I have no hard time no more to explain. I am a slasher. I have turned into walking dictionary when I answer. "I am a slasher." "No no, not a horror movie or third gender, but a modern type of worker..." And then I go on with explaining how work life is changing and there are more and more people like me... I must admit, it sounds more cool than "from project to another" explanation! But I do need to explain. A lot.
2. Slasher has hard time in LinkedIn and other apps where you need to list your "current position".
I really really wish someone at LinkedIn is reading this and correcting this error. The profile doesn't understand my cool new slasher title, but keeps on asking "is this your current position?" I want to yell at LinkedIn: "DO YOU READ ME: I HAVE MULTIPLE CURRENT POSITIONS". But noup, the intelligence of the app is not enough. Wake me up when they make the change. On the other hand, it is to some extend a lot of fun to keep on changing the title...
3. Some organizations have hard time making a contract with slasher
I am prepared for the day when an organization rejects my service because I have multiple jobs, until now I have always got into a contract but I can tell you, it is not always simple. Normally the person hiring me is not the problem: they know what I can, they have seen my reference, they have maybe called for my reference, they want to have me. Sometimes the management / HR is a problem. They don't know what kind of a contract is needed. I of course try to help with my previous experience, but believe me, there is as many style as there is organization to deal with a slasher! I hope this is getting easier in the future when there are more slashers out there.
4. Gear for working: I have three phones and three laptops!
It's not only phones and laptops! It's systems and apps and e-mails. Maybe 101 passwords to remember... Several e-mails to check, several intra news to follow. Well, someone might say, why not selling my service and billing as consultant. That would be freelancing and in my case I have a company and I could easily do that... BUT even if we are living in very modern society with robots just behind the corner and intelligence in all devices and services, (in the very near future, at least) we still have very stiff and sticky and old fashion way of getting things done in organizations. Instead of buying a service the organizations are more comfortable with recruitment processes: we hire, we hire, we hire. We are still not good in buying complex services/ project services from freelancers.
5. Surviving between the jobs not to mention making babies
I have been slashing since 2011. I have had 3 babies since and oh boy I have struggled in many ways with the systems. In the beginning of my slashing career I was freaking out when not having the next job in sight, now I am getting used to the uncertainty and I trust that the next responsibility is behind the corner. I was to some extend also ashamed of my several positions and projects in the beginning. But only because of the culture and environment surrounding me. The actual jobs and tasks I have always loved, felt committed and impassioned. Slashing for almost a decade has been great journey, enabling me to see various organizations, cities, even countries. I have given birth to three beautiful babies and though there has been a nanny or my husband taking care of the babies together with me almost all the time, because I have not stopped working, but always had some projects going on while babies have been small. This is something not so easy to explain to the Finnish system of daycare (where they limit the hours that siblings can stay in daycare when new baby is born to the family). One good way is to recruit your own nanny, and now, since two years living next to grandparents also help a lot! Another struggle was related to me getting pregnant and having my company's contract cancelled and I didn't manage to get any new contract with a big belly (I failed in convincing that my company would keep on going strong even when I had a baby on the way) even though I had hired staff and was far in recruitment process for hiring new staff. That was shocking, very irritating and caused me a lot of stress. I really wish the work-life is getting easier for slashing parents and especially women (normally nobody is questioning the ability of a dad to keep on having responsibilities while expecting a baby in the family...).
Don't get me wrong, I am not whining with this list! Overall, I am not planning to stop slashing because of these types of struggles just mentioned. I am far too addicted to multi working, all the interesting jobs that I have had and the sense of freedom!
P.S. While this blog post has been waiting for the right moment as a draft, I have just heard I got a full time teacher contract so I am seriously thinking of putting my company totally a side and giving up all other projects... for a while at least! Do you have any similar experiences?