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Can’t decide on one career path? Maybe you don’t need to

Tue, 01/08/2019 - 09:11
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Recently there has been a lot of discussion around constant change in our surroundings, technology, workplace and careers and what impact it would have the career paths of people already in employment, as well as those who would be looking for employment in the next few months and years.

One article caught my attention. Written by Emma Gannon, author of a book called ‘The Multi-Hyphen Method’, she considered an option that people will pursue a variety of jobs, their careers more like a portfolio, rather than ‘a job for life’.

What is the multi-hyphenate method? 

The dictionary meaning of the word ‘multi-hyphenate’ is ‘a person, especially a celebrity with several professions or skills’. Although the meaning makes a specific reference to celebrities, this is also relevant to people from all walks of life who are pursuing different professions or using their skills to do different jobs. 

You probably have done this yourself at some point; pursuing studies, being in part-time employment or being involved in a small business with friends. Also you could probably think of friends and family who have a day job but also have a freelance job on the side, whilst others have a few different part-time or seasonal jobs.

The constant change and impermanent nature of work have challenged our beliefs about having a job or a career for life and there is an imminent need to reinvent ourselves to adapt and lead a productive and fulfilling life. This is especially relevant at present given the longer life expectancy, extended working life, managing stress and increasing living expenses. 

Adopt it in your life

To adopt the multi-hyphenate method it is important to think ahead and have a plan. This will help you build a career path, which involves acquiring different skill sets by taking on different roles or working with a variety of organisations. 

Building a strong foundation of varied skills, contacts and having the right qualifications can support your plans to adopt the multi-hyphenate method in your life. Pursuing education, e.g. with a BTEC Higher National qualification, is instrumental to developing transferable skills and knowledge, which could be applied in different sectors and contexts. 

Depending on your interest, you could pursue more than one qualification to build your knowledge and work in different roles. You could also ensure you update your skills set and knowledge by undertaking continuous professional development and building your profile as you go along.

Map it out

To get started firstly make a list of your own skill sets, interests and relevant potential business opportunities. It is good to start small and then expand your horizons. You could consider different areas - designing websites, making cupcakes or being a photographer. Whatever you wish to do and however disconnected this might be to your day job or what you have done previously is absolutely fine. 

The multi-hyphenate method is about exploring different avenues, some familiar and some new. What’s important is choosing to do something which motivates you to get out of bed even on the coldest day!

Make time for what’s important

The next big challenge is finding the time to do this in addition to all the other commitments you have already. Nevertheless, if you wish to improve your overall well-being and satisfaction it is certainly worth doing. 

I have often found that one of the most effective ways to introduce something new in your routine is by analysing your day and identifying time when you are not being productive. Now dedicate this time to the interests you’d like to develop. To begin with, as little as 15 minutes could make a difference. Hopefully as time goes on, you’ll want to dedicate more time to your new endeavour.

You could also make use of your daily commute, wake up early or go to sleep slightly later than normal. Watching less television or spending less time on social media platforms can help you to find some time to start the work you would like to do. Some people might like to block Saturday or Sunday afternoon to get started. 

This could be the beginning of a wonderful change which could influence your career choices and lead you to a road less travelled as part of your professional journey perhaps, but certainly one which is more fulfilling and exciting.


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