Have We Become the Slash Generation to Compensate for an Economy that’s Failing Us?

Jane wrote an article about the Slash Generation over a year ago- Are We the Slash Generation?– and it’s one of our most read articles. Why? Well, beside’s Jane’s captivating writing skills, I’m convinced this interest in the slash generation prevails because the slash generation is ubiquitous and is already bleeding into future generations.

What is the slash generation? It’s a generation of 20 and 30 somethings that have multiple jobs and even multiple full time careers. For example: Actor/Yoga Teacher/Nutritionist/Graphic Designer, or DJ/Cafe Owner/Artist/programmer. We all have hobbies, such as occasional running or painting, but the slash generation has multiple JOBS. I’m a prime example of slash generation- my job title is presenter/product specialist/ demonstrator/ marketer/ writer/ actor/ director/ producer. I’m probably forgetting something.

Why is the slash generation on the rise? Well, the economic landscape is changing for millennials in their twenties and thirties- and the changes are affecting younger and older generations as well. Jobs that include pensions are now few and far between and companies don’t necessarily encourage employees to stick around. Changing jobs has become as frequent as changing your socks.

And there are good reasons to change jobs: minimum wage salaries don’t nearly keep up with inflation, most employers don’t reward you for sticking around, benefits are few and far between. So instead of sticking with one company, millennials are going wide and both starting their own companies and working with multiple employers on both a freelance and employee basis. Honestly, we sometimes need to do all these things to pay our bills.

The slash generation is a double edged sword: it can be very helpful to have multiple jobs and skills and to ‘go wide’ so that you have security if certain jobs don’t work out. But the slash generation is also sign of unfair economic times in America- where you can work very hard within companies and still not see anywhere near the kind of money you deserve. This is an era where companies can have spectacular financial success with their employees barely seeing a dime of that growth.

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In America, there has been a 72.2% rise in productivity since 1973 and only an 8.7% rise in pay rate

 

 

Would You Hire a Life Coach?

Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot of stories from friends who hired life coaches or executive coaches to either get out of a rut or find a new perspective on moving forward in their career/personal life. In fact, I just hired a screenwriting coach to help me push my career forward. I was on the fence about it for awhile before I actually pulled the trigger – I kept asking myself, “Can’t I just motivate myself?” But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I had nothing to lose but money, and even if I gained just a little bit of new knowledge about the industry I’m trying to break into, then it would be worth it.

Also, when I asked my dad for advice on whether I should pay for the coaching services or not, he gave me some great advice. He said that an investment in myself is always money well spent.

I’ve met with the coach twice so far, and it’s been pretty great. She re-energizes and focuses me. She keeps me accountable to my goals. (Granted, we’re only two weeks in and I’ve had no real deliverables, so we will see what happens going forward. But I’m confident that I won’t want to let her down.)

I think what’s great about coaching is that your coach allows you to see the big picture. They give you the Grand Canyon vantage point. Are the small issues you’re fretting about or spending time on really adding value to your life or getting you closer to your goals?

If you’re interested in coaching, the first step is figuring out what kind of coach you would want. They are usually bucketed into two categories: 1) Personal or life coaches, or 2) Business or professional.

Next, you want to make sure your coach is highly vetted. Recommendations from family or friends seem to be best. And you should make sure your coach is certified by the International Coach Federation.

If you don’t know someone who can give you a personal recommendation, a thoughtful Google search may direct you to the websites of coaches who deal in issues you might want to tackle (like, transitioning careers, new motherhood, etc.). These websites will give you a good feel of the coach and their methodology. They will often have free reading material which is also helpful.

Here’s a couple of life coaches websites, so you can get a feel for the different styles out there:

http://yourkickasslife.com/coaching/

http://erikadolnackova.com/life-coaching-for-women/

 

Unpacking After a Trip In Your Thirties

I just red eyed home after a thirty day work stint in New Orleans, LA, and San Francisco. I feel like the great warm state of California and the incredible city of New Orleans should have left me feeling refreshed but instead I feel in need of a break. A home break, not a travel break.

When I get back to New York after a work trip, I always feel excited and relieved. But I feel especially excited and relieved during the holidays, in December, when my little studio apartment feels like a box of love and light.

This morning, my body kind of ached to stay in my apartment and do nothing. The want was strong for money to just flow to me so I don’t need to travel for it anymore. My unpacked suitcase looked so neat in the corner of my home- I usually unpack right away, but this time I left my bag and slept.

I lit a candle tonight as I unpacked. I removed my items slowly and mechanically from their balled up state. I moved slowly through the evening, my body heavy. I wasted a lot of time attempting to bake a lone sweet potato that didn’t cook through. So I made a mess of things attempting to mash it. This sums up my time in my little bachelorette apartment. The remains of my laundry stayed on the floor as I shoveled sweet potato in my mouth and rushed out the door to see a play.

The evening is cold and bright. Holiday lights sparkle on balconies. My winter boots and puffy jacket are wrinkled from summer storage but they’re so warm and feel so good. I wonder where I put my winter hats.

There’s a lot to do and I need a break. There’s a lot of work ahead. Some good work. And a lot of people ahead. All good. A lot of holidays ahead. And I feel relieved. I feel overwhelmed. I feel dazzled. I feel distinctly New York.

And I have unpacked. I am home. This is what melancholy is to me. And I’m filled with surrender. Im filled with joy.

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Are You Working In A ‘Shadow Career’?

Have you heard the term ‘shadow career’? I hadn’t until I started reading Ed Pressfield’s book “Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work.” This is how Pressfield explains the idea of a shadow career:

“Sometimes when we’re terrified of embracing our true calling, we’ll pursue a shadow career instead. That shadow career is a metaphor for our real career. It’s shape is similar, it’s contours feel tantalizingly the same. But a shadow career entails no real risk. If we fail at a shadow career, the consequences are meaningless to us”

So I guess a few examples would be:

  • someone who wants to write movies, but instead pursues development of other people’s work
  • someone who wants to run for office and instead is a campaign manager for someone else’s political career

Pressfield says that if you’re in a shadow career, you’re hiding from yourself and can’t fully actualize or be fulfilled. If you have a passion or project you keep denying from yourself because you’re working for a job that eats up all of your time, you’re probably in a shadow career.

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I like this idea of ‘shadow careers’ but I think there’s a fine line between a ‘shadow career’ and a ‘day job’ to pay the rent. I work in the entertainment industry when I know I want to write for TV and film, but I can’t just quit and write all day. Or, is that just what I tell myself to avoid putting in eight hours of writing work? Pressfield might suggest I work for one year, scrimp and save and then take 6 months off to solely write all day. That’s similar to what he did – and how he “turned pro.”A film professor of mine in graduate school gave me similar advice. He said to take a day job and try and write on nights and weekends, but if after 2 years, I hadn’t made significant progress in my writing, I should quit and just focus on writing. But uh…that still doesn’t address the money/how to live issue.

It’s an interesting book. I was originally turned onto Pressfield’s work by fellow writers who love his motivational book “The War of Art.” It’s all about pushing through the resistance of creation to actually get work complete. It’s a pretty fantastic book, and very inspiring to those of us who need a kick in the butt to get writing done. Or anything, really.

So, do you think you could be stuck in a shadow career?

How do I Overcome Writer’s Block?

I was just listening to an amazing interview with the incredible Seth Godin on Marie Forleo’s Marie TV show on her website. Seth Godin is one of my absolute favorite bloggers for a very particular reason: he blogs every day and even when his blogs are one sentence long he almost always has something thought-provoking to say.

Hearing Seth talk in this interview was quite amazing, as he went more in depth on his philosophies on life and blogging than I’d heard before- or maybe I’d seen him write these things before, but it always helps me to hear brilliant people share insights once again, especially in a different format.

One of the things Seth said that stuck out at me was his solution to writer’s block. Marie asked him how he blogs every day without running out of topics and thoughts to write about and he said that he writes how he talks, and that works because no one ever gets talkers block.

Interesting! I guess it’s true that -unless you’re feeling social phobia when you’re talking in public- you don’t really get talkers block. If you were talking to your best friend, you probably wouldn’t get talker’s block. I definitely love the way writers sound when they write the way they talk- there’s an honesty and a rawness to that kind of writing that makers me feel closer to the author.

Here’s a link to the absolutely brilliant interview, filled with many words of wisdom including Seth’s advice about how finding your ‘true calling’ is ultimately bullshit, and how you shouldn’t wait around. I’m actually going to listen to the interview again tomorrow and take notes.

Hope you enjoy!

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How to Make Money On the Side in Your Thirties

I’m working at a tradeshow right now while writing this blog post- don’t tell my manager. Actually, you can go right ahead and tell my manager, because I’m writing this on a break.

Sometimes I work on side projects while I’m on a break from another job. I’ve spent many a lunch break reading scripts for my theater company, Mission to (dit)Mars. I’ve finished invoices as well as sent out receipts on my break. And I’ve definitely blogged whenever I can grab a free minute- including on the subways of Japan during my vacation. Because blogging is fun- not work.  But this summer and last summer I spent a lot of time working on a side project from my computer that was fun and made me some money…and I was worried about not having enough time to continue working on it during my usual business travel during the fall and winter. Last year I got sidelined and didn’t work on much of anything extra. I was quite disappointed in myself.

However, this year I’m way more determined to work on side projects whenever I get a free moment. It’s funny that the second I start really getting into working on side projects during any free time I have (even during a full ‘real job’ schedule), I start to see other people doing the same thing. A coworker I’m working with at this show has a real estate business on the side where she buys, manages, and rents out property- and she’s sitting a couple of seats away from me working on that. Another coworker of mine manages liquor sales and is scheduling tastings and demos during her break. I work with someone else who doesn’t go out with us for dinner most days after shows – she’s instead returning emails and scheduling events for her event management job… which she has on the side.

It seems to me that the hardest thing about making money from a side job is having the discipline to give up some of your free time. I hate turning down social time with my coworkers when I’m on the road, because they’re nice respites from work hours. But sometimes the only way to get anything going on the side is to say no to invitations to go out after work. And if I manage my time well enough, I’ll still have time to be social with my colleagues for a few nights. It just takes determination and planning. But I’m inspired by other people I know who are able to turn down social events and get the work done on the projects that really matter to them. These types of people are quietly getting amazing things done all around you while working at a ‘real job’- in fact, maybe you’re one of them.

If you want more information about starting a side business, I love Ramit Sethi’s material on making a business out of something you’re already good at. Once you have a side business started -even a tiny bit of one- it’s all time management from there.

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How Would You Answer This Question?

What would you say if someone asked you if you agreed with the below statement?

“I’m confident that eventually I will get what I want out of life.”

I would say yes. But I happen to be a pretty optimistic person generally (if, anxious).

In a study at Clark University completed by Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, 655 thirtysomethings were asked the same question – if they agreed with the above statement.

And guess what percentage said yes? 87%. Not only that, but more than three quarters said they still feel like “anything is possible.”  That’s pretty impressive, especially considering how many thitysomethings feel like they aren’t where they want to be career-wise or personally (That’s my informal, completely un-researched opinion after talking to my friends).

Arnett, the researcher, was surprised by these results, and while he said they are admirable, he also felt they were unrealistic. That’s because he also asked these thirtysomethings if they have gotten as far in their careers as they’d hoped to be by now. And 56% of respondents (born between 1975 and 1984) said they haven’t gotten as far in their careers as they’d have hoped to by now. And 17% said they are not in a relationship now but would like to be.

Maybe it’s because we may not feel like we’re at the ‘destination’ of where we want to be, but we’re enjoying the ‘journey’ a heck of a lot. Personally, I do love the fact that I have more time and freedom right now than people with children or very demanding jobs. That time has allowed me to explore screenwriting and TV writing as a career.

We also might not be settling for less. We’re realizing that it may take a longer time to get exactly what we want, but it’s way better than settling for a mediocre career or relationship situation that society tells us is what we should have in our 30s.

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