What’s the antidote to boredom, burnout, job insecurity, and other workplace misfortunes? The answer is to diversify into real estate by investing in your spare time, while keeping your day job.
A new model
Author Marci Alboher, in her book One Person/Multiple Careers: A New Model for Work/Life Success, shows how multiple professions and multiple identities can converge into a unified, better life.
Since I’m a real estate investor/author who also regularly works 8am-5pm, I identified with the examples of people in slash careers that most closely resembled mine. One such person featured in the book was Robert Sundaley and a college earth science teacher for over twenty years. During his summer vacation, he started investing in real estate. He was so successful that he now teaches other teachers how to do it and has self-published a book about his experiences.
When I started my second career in 2002, I was motivated to change because my day job was not giving me the satisfaction and sense of accomplishment I wanted and because I wanted an additional source of income. Still, I wanted to cling no to my regular job for the security it provided.
One career stems from another
My second career was buying houses to renovate and renting them out. After doing it successfully for seven years, I felt like I was the master of my own mini-universe. I wrote a practical book about my experiences (my third career) and I also give presentations (my fourth career).
However, reading One Person/Multiple Careers made me realize that I was not alone in the actions I took. I see now that it’s not uncommon for people to follow a cross-curricular career to balance their lives, like I did. Like when you buy a new car and suddenly see a lot of cars like yours on the road, I suddenly discover a lot of people who have slash careers.
First develop expertise in one area
As Alboher points out, writing, teaching, speaking, and consulting are four slashes that go with any other kind of work. Once you’ve developed expertise in an area, it’s natural to pass that know-how on to students, clients and the public – and that can mean wearing different hats.
The plain truth is that one identity can be a liability. This makes you vulnerable to sudden winds of economic change. To be successful and healthy, we need to develop multiple identities, which we can rely on when conditions change. Slash careers can also be an invaluable fortress against mental and physical illnesses.