Why hello there! You might be asking, “Emily, what’s a Multi-Hyphen Career?” Well, dear friend, I’m about to blow your mind. A multi-hyphen career is one that incorporates more than one skillset or interest. “MORE THAN ONE?” you ask? YES! MORE THAN ONE! Insane, right? WRONG.
I’m guessing you probably grew up hearing a lot of the same messages I did. “Everyone has one true calling they need to follow!” Or, “you need to find your passion to be happy!” Well that’s bullshit! I bet “they” never told you that your one true calling and passion could be a multi-hyphen career, did they? And you were probably told to focus on one thing to get very good at it, because nobody likes a generalist.
The world needs more generalists.
A multi-hyphen career is definitely a real thing that many people are gainfully employed with, including me. But it doesn’t mean that this type of career is easy – in fact it definitely will put you at a higher risk for burnout if it’s not managed with a lot of empathy for yourself. So I put together a few ideas to help you manage your multi-hyphen career.
Here are a few ways to manage your multi-hyphen career:
- Ditch the double life.
If you’re spending energy hiding the crowdfunding campaign for your next film from the people at your day job, ask yourself why. Yes, we all need to be mindful of how one career stream affects the other. But when we’re managing a multi-hyphen career, hiding entire portions of our personalities can be damaging to our mental health.
The more you hide, the less comfortable you feel pursuing all of your interests. And it’s not just about hiding yourself away from others, it’s also about hiding yourself away from you. The more you buy into the belief that you are meant to do one thing and one thing alone, and that your time spent on other career streams is in some way bad or detrimental, the less opportunity you give yourself to truly shine in all areas. Just be free baby!
- Shift your priorities when you need to.
It’s easy to get caught up in the idea that you should be able to do all of your various projects and businesses and jobs at the same time. It can also feel really upsetting when you’re not able to finish everything you wanted to finish. Know that this does not mean you are failing at any one career stream. Notice when this happens, and shift gears to focus on the career stream that needs immediate attention. This is essential in balancing out your workload and preventing burnout. If you miss a webinar one day, it’s not going to set everything back by months.
- Write yourself a cross-over episode.
Understanding how your skills go hand-in-hand with one another can help with a few things. The “Double Life” situation, and solving problems that one career stream might be facing with skills or resources from somewhere else. List a few scenarios to illustrate how your career streams support each other.
- Leave room to discover new things.
With so many things on the go it can be very easy to run out of time in a day, or week… or month. Again, we’re going to work really hard to prevent burnout, and one of the easiest ways to do that is to dedicate a pocket of time every week to doing something totally different – without exception. It’s ok if the block of time needs to shift around in your calendar, but make it a priority to explore something different every week for at least an hour to keep things fresh.
- Let go when it’s time to let go.
Ohhhh this is a tough one. Sometimes, a career stream will stop serving you the way it did when you started with it. It’s totally normal. And it’s essential to recognize when a project or career stream is taking more from you than it’s giving. Letting go can be incredibly hard, especially if you founded the project or business and need to let it go to other people. But think about the sunk cost fallacy – the idea that if you’ve invested so much into this thing, you need to see it through. Look, if it’s hurting you, it’s time to say goodbye. It’s only going to open more doors for you in the future. And if you need a little validation, we have a quiz to help you decide what to do.
Follow your instincts.
Your multi-hyphen career is going to shift and change endlessly. The more you do the more you want to do. Give yourself the permission to explore new career streams when the time is right, and to say goodbye when things are no longer working for you. At the end of the day, you’re doing what’s right for you and that’s the coolest f*cking thing anyone has ever done. Ever.