Having passion for your work matters, and you might be one of the lucky few with a 9-to-6 so satisfying you “never work a day in your life”.
But even so you’ll always have other talents you itch to use and other interests you’d love to fulfill. For example, a lawyer might contemplate doing graphic design for a crust, while a designer longs to make wine. One of the first stumbling blocks to working in your dream job is the need to maintain a certain income.
We often get stuck thinking it has to be one or the other: “I can either earn a decent living OR write my novels.” Join the movement of people calling themselves “slashies” and do both.
Slashies are those party guests who don’t answer the question, “So what do you do?” with a simple “recruitment” or “accounting” answer. Instead they’ve created a life that makes the most of all their skills and interests as an “accountant ‘slash’ counsellor” or “dog trainer/architect/sculptor”.
Emilia Rossi is one such slashie who has found a way to indulge her passions and pay the bills too. By day, she’s the Online Marketing Manager for a Melbourne-based telecommunications company. At night, she’s the co-founder and operator of not one but two online businesses – a fashion jewellery boutique, and a second-hand wedding classifieds site.
On her motivation to eventually manage the websites full-time, she says: “Working in the online space means I will never be desk bound.” She can work wherever there is internet access and looks forward to one day operating her businesses out of a suitcase while travelling the world. Although Rossi finds it stimulating to work on her businesses at night after a full day in the office, it puts the squeeze on her free time. To make room, she gave up TV three years ago and cut down commuting time by moving close to the city.
Ali Cavill took things more quickly. She quit her HR Manager role in NSW health for a career in fitness, but still earns money using her HR expertise. To bump up her income, Cavill combines two to three days of HR consulting each week with her work as a personal trainer, mentor, and public speaker on health and fitness. She enjoys keeping a foot in her old field of HR. “I think it is important to maintain those skills and keep currency of that job on my resume, however I offset that with the passion I receive from my fitness,” she says: “My life now is amazing and I am the happiest I have ever been.”
Some slashies don’t earn any extra income from their other jobs, but volunteer their under-used talents for a meaningful cause. Sonya Forrest, Operations Manager for an eLearning development company gives up evenings and weekends to support a not-for-profit fighting to end human trafficking. Forrest says the downside of her Ops Manager job, is: “I’m often frustrated I feel a bit removed from the end user.” Her strong social conscious compelled her to lend her skills to Project Futures after seeing the documentary “I am a girl” on a flight for work. “I was moved to tears and had to do something.”
Forrest contributes a broader set of skills than she gets to use and hone during the day, including graphic design, fundraising and event and project management. But making a difference is her main motive for volunteering. “I am driven by the desire to leave a positive mark on this world – to know I made a difference and to know I help people. Maybe one day my two lives will merge but for now, they run in parallel.”
Don’t give up your day job – take these steps towards your dream
• Learn from others – seek people doing what you want to do and engage them in conversation on LinkedIn and Twitter.
• Volunteer – find volunteer roles or offer your services to not-for-profits to satisfy your passion and practise new skills.
• Moonlight – stay happy in your day job by living your dream attention after hours. Or if you want to go full time, continue building the business until it eventually supports you.
• Go part-time – drop down to three or four days in your day job to free up time to pursue your passion.