We are in a new era of self-identification. Lately, our introductions and resumes are lengthening in the effort to include multiple trades and ambitions. This practice is a deliberate diversion from the traditional singular occupation format. Our work title used to be a badge of honor. We’d fuse it to our introductions like a hyphenated last name. “John Doe, Attorney at Law.”
But the work force’s rising generation seems to find this introduction one-dimensional. A work-title is often not where the modern bio ends. Our primary stream of income no longer suffices as a meaningful description of who we are. We are aiming to satisfy a more comprehensive narrative of who we are. The professional millennial intro may go a bit like, “Jane Doe, Nutritionist/Yogi/Graphic Design Enthusiast.”
The singular 9-5 title is an inadequate description for a person raised in a generation defined by possibility.
There is a myriad of passions and interests deserving of equal representation. We are gravitating towards a more well-rounded, all-encompassing sense of identity. Identity is has evolved to include any measurable degree of our work, interests, hobbies, goals and expertise.
Where did this gravitation towards the multi-occupational identity come from?
Regardless of creative hobbies or passionate pastimes, your income-producing profession was the sole clarification of choice when answering frequent questions. This generation seems to have a discomfort with the pigeonholed concept of identity from days past.
This new introduction composition adds a more thorough narrative of who we are. It is perhaps a rebellion against the normative and narrow method of tethering self-identity to income.
Now we have acknowledged a need for our self-description to mirror, not only our jobs but also our more intimate and idiosyncratic goals and pastimes.
This is an enterprising generation, with a trending inclination towards entrepreneurship and autonomous ambitions that we deem worthy of acknowledgment. Following dreams is a notion that transcends childhood whimsy that you one day grow out of. And I believe this is where we demoted 9-5’s from defining the beginning and end of who we are.
We are no longer simply artists or engineers or accountants. We group our passionate endeavors, talents, hobbies and occupations into one large title. A copywriter may now be a copywriter/foodie/manatee activist/tennis enthusiast.
Curating an occupational wardrobe
The new backslash occupation harmonizes our many trades. Backslashes are accommodating and adaptable thin lines between our intermingled fields of expertise.
A well-equipped wardrobe, carefully curated and collected over time, perfectly sized and styled according to personal taste. And the backslash occupation offers the same comfort, personalization, flexibility and versatility.
Rather than searching for one fit or one niche, we can simply add them to an ever-evolving occupational wardrobe.
The backslash occupation keeps our options open and fresh, like an outfit ready for any occasion. Like our clothing, our occupational wardrobe reflects our style, experiences, who we are, who we’ve been and who we hope to be.
There is flexibility within backslashes- an occupation, income based or interest based, that fits various stages of the human experience.
Like our clothing, our goals, ambitions, and occupations complement each other. A perfect match between these cooperative entities of ourselves.
How to avoid multi-occupational fatigue
Multi-occupational identity can be a fulfilling analysis of our self-portrayal.
However, this preference towards Jacks and Jills-of-all-trades comes with a juggling act. You don’t want to cloud your clarity by doing too much at once. You will have to train yourself to focus on one thing. Lack of focus can prevent you from accomplishing anything at all.
In the same way that we can walk into our closets full of clothes and feel as if there is nothing to wear, the overwhelm of too many choices can afflict our occupational wardrobe as well.
It becomes difficult to manage these divisions of who we are. We have overwhelming occupational wardrobes full of jobs and extracurriculars. We have so much to choose from and even more to do that we end up with “nothing to wear.”
Here are few helpful tips to help overcome multi-occupational fatigue:
When occupation-juggling, it is paramount to identify priorities. Prioritizing helps streamline your activities into an efficient and effective hierarchy. From there, you can determine when and how much attention and effort each occupation gets. Multitasking is not effective when pursuing expertise.
Once you know your priorities, do not cut corners. If you have prioritized one of your interests, do not get sidetracked with another. Your passions don’t have shortcuts. Let secondary interests fall to enthusiast status for a while so that you can exclusively work towards your priority.
In the age of smartphones and Google, we have the world at our fingertips. Consequently, the journey to expertise can be tedious when things don’t come as quickly. In a culture of short-term satisfaction, there will be inevitable moments of impatience. Always remember why you began. Then use that foundation as the motivation to keep going.
Organizing your backslash occupations into a cohesive schedule will keep you from becoming overwhelmed. Try to batch your tasks so that your brain can enter flow state and transition to different activities more fluidly. Additionally, batching tasks will help keep you on track until an item is complete.
Action is the most important ingredient for the accomplishment of any goal. So don’t strive for perfection. Quantity will eventually produce the quality. The simple execution, simply doing, is what turns an enthusiast into an expert.
Lauren is based in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to writing here on Pursuit of Daydreams, Lauren’s daydreams consist of all forms of design: Graphic, Fashion, Web, Interior, Art. On any given day, she can be found preoccupied with at least one of the above. She is happiest with a bowl of ice cream in hand.
Also published on Medium.