New York City is full of “slashes” as in people who are “waiters/actresses”, or “finance analysts/ writers”. No one here really only has one gig. We live in the city of the side hustle.
I was thinking about all of this (side hustles, career transitions, and second career options) because of an article I read in the New York Times last week about Afghan girls who dress as boys until puberty if their parents don’t have a son. Wondering why this made me think of career stuff?
Well, the piece focused on many aspects of these girls’ lives, but the bit that caught my attention was a quote from a 15-year old girl discussing her future career plans. She said she wants to be a journalist, then possibly a politician.
It was the “then” that totally caught my eye. I thought back to when I was a child who wanted to be an artist, then an actress. Or a writer, then a psychologist. I’m sure if you think back on your childhood, you might have a similar story. After finishing the article, my question to myself, and to anyone reading this is: When did we stop thinking that way? When did we start believing that we could only have one career? That we have to give one notion all we’ve got, and if it doesn’t work, we fail?
I think it is totally possible to have one career, then transition to the next. These days, it might be necessary to think in those terms. Why not think about your second career while you are still planning and plotting for the first?
I work in the media industry. I love the media, and journalism, and the multiple facets it represents, but I would be foolish not to acknowledge that the industry is a little shaky these days. We are in the midst of a transition, and it is impossible to see the end result. But when the dust settles, we’ve still got skills that can be used somewhere else in a different way. This applies to every profession.
When you think about what you want your second career to be, ask yourself about the things that attracted you to your first one, or if you want to do a total 360, ponder the things that interest you now.
I’ve read a lot of career books, many of which are aimed at Gen Y’ers. Most of these books include exercises that are supposed to help you get in tune with what you really want to do, but I think the most important thing any twentysomething can do is open themselves up to the idea of having multiple careers that span multiple industries. You too can be a nurse, then a writer! Why the heck not?
Have you made a career transition, or have one in mind? I’d love to hear you ideas :) And if you are curious about reading the article that spawned this post, check it out here: Afghan Boys are Prized, So Girls Play the Part