Does it bother you that when meeting someone for the first time, the first thing they ask is “What do you do?”
We identify ourselves by our jobs. Others develop an idea about us by the profession we have or have not chosen. The titles we have and the roles we play become how we see ourselves. By answering this question, we often only share a small piece of who we are. However, we also live in a society that wants a small sound bite and desires to know who we are in a small concise manner.
Brene Brown addresses the subject of slash careers in her book The Gift of Imperfection. She describes herself as a mom/ partner/researcher/ writer/ storyteller and a list of several other things. She also shares the story of meeting a woman who designed jewelry (Brene was wearing some of her earrings) and when the question was asked, “How long have you been a jeweler?”, the woman replied, “I wish, I’m a CPA, not a real jeweler.” Brene found it funny as she was standing there wearing jewelry that the woman had created.
Not long after I left my career as a full time grief counselor at a respected agency, I realized that I would no longer have just one job. Gone were the days of being able to answer the question “What do you do?” with one answer. Although, I have found that depending upon the circumstance, I may only provide one answer.
To share any day of my life is to share that I am continuously moving back and forth between the different realms of my life. Although by nature I crave structure, the new routine ebbs and flows which at times can be frustrating.
I have friends and acquaintances who suddenly felt I was not working after I left my full time job. I even heard, “Well that’s good that you are working again.” when I chose to join my current clinic.
What? So teaching 3 college courses is no longer considered work? Keeping my house organized and planning/cooking meals is not work? It is sad that simply because one’s life doesn’t mirror what mainstream society feels it should be that comments like this are being made. I find validation when I meet with others like my friend Emily, who has shared the same has been said to her.
As I have written multiple bios of myself (not an easy task) for different events, trainings and resources, I have become more acceptable with acknowledging that I have slash careers. I can no longer be placed into one category.
So what do I do?
I am wife/friend/counselor/life coach/speaker/trainer/blogger/writer/advocate/college instructor. My hobbies include decorating/reading/exercise/gardening/being outdoors/traveling. In all honesty, I could share even more.
- I can not share with you a typical day in the life because there are never two days that are the same.
- I try to get up most morning to workout at 5:30 – some days are better than others.
- Currently I see private clients on Tuesday and Thursdays with some on other days of the week. I also teach on Tuesdays evenings.
- I provide clinical supervision to 4 students on a weekly basis.
- I must prepare and grade weekly papers for two classes. In addition to Tuesday I have a two hour class on Wednesdays.
- I am in the process of preparing an online CEU class offering and provide CEU trainings in person bimonthly.
- We don’t have a housekeeper, so that falls to me one day of the week, typically Friday or Saturday.
- I have to regularly schedule my friends as we are all busy women.
- Fridays nights are typically our date night at home.
- I write a blog and spend a little time each day focusing on posts and connecting with others.
I share this post not to somehow prove that I work but to demonstrate that each of us perform multiple roles throughout a day. Each of us can fall into the category of having slash careers. We shouldn’t be ashamed if we no longer fit into one category on our IRS form (this year I was listed as a counselor). We should be proud that our talents are multifaceted.
So, what do you do?
How do you identify yourself? Have you established a slash career?