When it comes to career, do you ever feel like you’re trying to reach a place without ever reaching your destination? What if success was actually something completely different for each of us? You don’t have to choose one “job” or be good at just one thing.
The advantages and possibilities offered by the choice of a multi-faceted career are many. Those who choose this strategy are called multi-hyphenate (multi-dash), because their job title often contains several descriptions, separated by dashes (pizza maker-blogger-book author).
Being a multi-hyphenate means choosing and creating an attack plan, and having the freedom to undertake different projects, not to be cornered. It means choosing a lifestyle.
It means taking back some control.
Choosing a career like this means making sure you don’t become extinct in a world of work that is changing at the speed of light.
It means diversifying in order to be in the best position to have a long and fruitful career, especially in a period in which everything seems to be out of our control.
What is the correct definition of success?
The definition of the word success is often linked to the achievement of goals such as fame, wealth, etc. But now is the time to create our definition of success.
There are many different ways of living our life and making money. Having a multi-hyphenate career means having to create your own definition of success, without being able to make direct comparisons with others.
We are not forced to have one job for life. We are not forced to choose a single career and keep it there. Is success still what they always told us?
The common characteristics of the various generations
We are all the product of the environment and the economic circumstances in which we grow. The members of the various generations have characteristics in common.
THE SILENT GENERATION (1925-45) – Values shaped by War and Depression, they are very dedicated and risk-averse workers.
BABY BOOMERS (1943-64) – The first generation to get along economically better than their parents. They can fight to grab scarce resources, from education to jobs.
GEN X (1961-80) – The generation responsible for the “work / life balance” concept. They have more skills and are more independent of previous generations.
MILLENNIALS (1982-2004) – Also known as GEN Y, they are the first global generation. They adopted the technology when they were young, and are the best trained generation to date.
GEN Z (2000-2014) – They were born in a world already online, and will probably do jobs that have not yet been invented. They have new values, such as having a purpose in life and social activism.
Despite these large generational differences, the structure in the world of work has remained largely unchanged. Millennials have no historical memory of the “good old days” when the economy seemed more stable, so they are perfectly comfortable with the idea of starting something new from scratch.
Each generation is convinced that they are doing things the right way, but the main thing is this: we must look ahead and accept the current reality. Nostalgia is only needed if we can learn a lesson from the past and apply it to the future.
There have been major changes in trust in the authorities, in the type of skills needed, in the places from which we can work, in the culture of work in general.
The traditional system based on the organization chart that defines corporate roles is now often obsolete.
Having an activity outside of “traditional” work can prepare you to face the challenges that these changes will inevitably bring.
Move your idea of success to be multi-hyphenate
Adopting a multi-hyphenate approach means marrying your idea of success, and having different projects and different sources of parallel income. It’s not about having several jobs we hate, and struggling to make ends meet.
It is a question of choosing to dedicate ourselves to projects (hyphen, dashes) in which we believe, which we are passionate about, and which give us the economic tranquility that we need. After all, how many jobs are really “safe” nowadays? Many jobs will soon be replaced by machines, and the future is uncertain.
How can we pretend that the “fixed seat” is stable or secure?
It is clear that our work affects the way we perceive ourselves and our purpose in this life. How many of us identify with our job title? When we introduce ourselves to someone, we often try to use our title as a business card.
But how much can a simple title really say about us? A multi-hyphen description can give a clearer idea of who we are, and what we do.
We create our own brand. In the online world, each of us has its own brand, which we can use to be visible and capture the attention of potential customers / collaborators.
It is not just a matter of creating a brand, but of constantly maintaining it, of taking care of it and updating it.
Being ourselves, even at work, is fundamental. We cannot afford to lose the sense of who we are, otherwise work risks alienating us.
Find your work balance
We are in the midst of a battle against our fear of becoming irrelevant in a rapidly changing system. It is no surprise that exhaustion from work is a growing phenomenon. People fear that changing careers means starting over from scratch. But in the current landscape, a career change can simply take a little effort to learn something new.
For years we have glorified the concept of busy, committed, building the myth of the worker who never stops, who is always productive. But the reality is that nobody is productive in every minute they dedicate to work. Why not use this awareness to frame the way we understand productivity?
We get to know each other better, accepting what our personal characteristics are, and we use this information to find the best balance.
Work and private life: how to regulate yourself
Is mixing work and private life a good thing? It is not an easy question. With new technologies, we find ourselves increasingly connected and interconnected. If our boss sends us an email, we check it, even if it is evening and we are on the sofa at home.
It will probably never be possible to completely “turn off” the work switch, but we can use some tools to better control this mixture. Distinguishing what is urgent from what can wait is the first step.
Society is convincing us that something needs to be “achieved” in every aspect of our lives, but it is also important to understand when to be out of service.
The tools of the multi-hyphen method
1) Find your unique blend . If you have a multi-hyphenate career , your CV will be very different from traditional ones. Depending on the environment, some aspects of your career may be more relevant than others, but what matters will be the common thread that unites everything, that is you.
2) Build and maintain a micro-audience . To be a multi-hyphenate, we need to build an audience. This does not mean being influencers with millions of followers, but having a group, perhaps even a small one, of people who know us and appreciate us for what we do.
3) Always be in beta mode . We can no longer plan with the same security as before, because we cannot predict all the rapid changes that will occur. We will never be able to perfect a skill, because there will always be something new to learn.
4) Embrace the era of personalization . Our online experience is sewn on us, from advertisements to services that are sold to us. So why not also create a tailor-made career for us?
5) Be your PR. Your online space is your showcase . Use this showcase to attract the type of job you are looking for. Learn to sell yourself.
6) You don’t have to “drop everything” . It is often a good idea to have a stability base that allows you to create an action plan.
7) You are a multi-hyphenate, not a multitasker . Being a multi-hyphenate does not mean sketching from one project to another without ever stopping; you can take some time to concentrate properly.
8) Act micro, think macro . Follow global trends, but always think about how to use this knowledge to achieve your small goals.
9) Use your energy wisely . Think for working hours and energy units. Do not let the projects stop one another, or you risk not being able to follow one well.
10) Don’t do anything for free . There is a big difference between “making yourself known” and “working for free”. Your time and skills have value, even if you have just started. Do not be exploited by those who use the excuse of “gaining experience”.
The four F’s: Failure, Feminism, Flexibility and Feelings
Each project brings with it the fear of failure. Failure should not be glorified, but acceptance is an inevitable part of the multi-hyphenate approach. This career choice will inevitably make some people turn up their noses, but it’s a small price to pay, given the benefits.
Several studies show that women have less self-confidence at work, so this type of approach may seem more frightening for a woman. In reality it can offer opportunities that until now seemed impossible, such as the reconciliation between maternal and working life.
Being a multi-hyphenate wouldn’t make sense if it weren’t for flexibility. The same flexibility which is still seen by many as a privilege will soon be a fundamental right.
Working on your own can be alienating in the beginning, especially if we are used to being surrounded by colleagues and friends. We must not allow work from home to isolate us from the real world.
Online connection versus offline connections
We are surrounded by online tools for making connections. From Facebook to Linkedin, from Youtube to Instagram, creating new connections has never been easier.
However, we do not give up face-to-face connections. Knowing someone in person will be increasingly effective, allows us to exchange opinions, experiences and ideas, and to establish links that a virtual connection can never supplant.
PR events, fairs and similar events are the perfect opportunity to get to know potential customers and collaborators in person.
The relationship with money
Money has always been an uncomfortable topic. We feel embarrassed, and often this can be convenient for the employer, who grants the increase only to those who have the “courage” to ask for it. Managing a multi-hyphenate profile also means negotiating your rates, asking for increases and compensation for extra work.
The online world offers many ways to earn, from selling products, to creating content, to crowdfunding. Each of us has different economic goals (and needs). Understanding what they are allows us to plan our working life.
Our relationship with “savings” is also changing profoundly. The new generations have a very different idea of what saving means.