Do you ever feel like you are trying to be two things at once? I certainly do. I am an engineer. A photographer. A mother. A wife. A friend. A teacher. A blogger. A corporate worker. A small business owner. Shall I list them all? No wonder I needed to focus on balance this last month.
The focus on balance led me to this book: One Person/Multiple Careers: A New Model for Work/Life Success by Marci Alboher. As I finished it over the weekend I had to sit for a while and think about what I took away from the book. It had many strategies for managing a “slash” life like mine. Filled with stories of people who have dual careers such as computer programmer/theater director and lawyer/minister, it gave real life examples of people who have made multiple careers work. Marci covered the difficulties and pitfalls, but the rewards too. It allows a new answer to the age-old question, “What do you do?” It validated that I am not alone on this crazy path.
In fact, it’s led to me to reflect that for my entire adult life I’ve been some form of this more-than-one-thing-at-a-time path. After graduating with my bachelors in electrical engineering, I worked full time as I pursued my master’s degree in the evenings. After gaining that degree and a new job, I relocated to Oregon and started a hobby of scrapbooking. (I pursued scrapbooking with a passion equal to a job, completing book after book.) The scrapbooking led me to become a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator soon after my son was born. If that’s not crazy I don’t know what is: Working at my engineering job, new mom, oh, and let’s do this side business too! To be fair, I didn’t really pursue Stampin’ Up! as a business, but when I started to teach stamping and scrapbooking, I realized how much I loved teaching. I was hooked. It got to the point I loved the teaching more than the stamping, I only stopped that to move to Italy. Is it any wonder that I found something else to fill the void? Travel, photography, blogging – all led to this new passion and desire to teach in a new realm.
The funny part: It’s starting to all make sense. I used to feel like someday I would have to choose between “being” the engineer or the photographer, but now, I don’t feel that way so much. I will probably always default to pursuing multiple things at once. I think that is who I am. It’s just how my energy flows. So it’s no longer about choosing one answer to the “what do you do” question for me, it’s about balancing the different parts to a cohesive, satisfying and not-too-overwhelming whole. It’s about letting myself embrace the idea of the “slash,” that it’s ok to be more than one thing at a time. That I am more than one thing, and I always will be. We all are.
In my “About” page you’ll see the fruits of all of this contemplation – I identified myself as a Photographer/Teacher/Engineer/Mother. I could add about five more slashes on there, but those get to the heart of who I am right now.
How would you answer the question, “What do you do?”