Your Professional Life is Going to Get Slashed
That May Be a Good Thing!
By Arbora Global Partner Laurence Stybel, Ed.D., C.M.F. in Platform for Success
Rezaei-Kamalabad has a career as an automobile mechanic/artist. From a shop in Cambridge, Massachusetts he has an automobile repair shop/art gallery full of steel sculptures that blend different faiths. According to the BOSTON GLOBE story, his motto is “God is in the detailing.” (May 11, 2013)
Of course, Cambridge is an unusual part of the world.
Five pages later, the same BOSTON GLOBE section profiled the life of Fredrick L. McKissack of Chesterton, Missouri. He was CEO of a construction company and author of more than 100 books for children about black history.
These two men have little in common and lived in different sections of the country. But they both have slashed professional lives: two or more different sources of actual or potential income. Slashed lives are not unusual. One friend of ours is a paediatrician and also CEO of a physician group practice. Another friend is a litigator and a television producer. A third friend has a psychology practice but also is a professor of psychology
SLASHED PROFESSIONAL LIVES HAVE VALUE
We now know that 1946 to 1972 was a time of relatively linear economic growth in the United States. Sticking to what one knows best was the best career advice one could give a young person. Things have changed and linear economic growth has been replaced by unpredictable economic change. The same linear logic that was so appropriate in the past has become problematic.
People who have slashed professional lives may be more valuable to employers because such people are forced to think in non-linear terms. In one important sense, women are the role models for slashed lives: mother/professional/daughter/wife. As difficult as the juggling has been for them, it has given them a degree of business nonlinear thinking that may be well suited to our times.
WHAT’S TO BE DONE?
Schools are not preparing graduates for slashed careers. To be specific, everyone knows that not all of today’s Law School graduates will find full time careers as lawyers. Do law schools that trained students to assume roles that no longer exist have some responsibility to prepare graduates for slashed lives?
Companies might look more positively on job candidates who have slashed professional lives as they can contribute unique non-linear perspective so valuable in a world where the only certainty is that the future will not be like the past.
In an increasingly non-linear economy, Boards of Directors should want to have several strong women at the table. A perspective of having lived slashed lives may be invaluable to shake up linear thinking.
Finally, we live in a world of short job tenure, elongated middle age, and fears of living past one’s ability to be self-supporting. Try to meet successful role models who manage to live slashed professional lives. Diversification of income sources is good. You need inspiration.