Russ Juskalian, 30, is a journalist based in Munich who has reported from Southeast Asia, above the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland and from the Himalayan foothills in Indian-controlled Kashmir.
As you’d expect, he writes articles related to his travels. But, unlike most journalists, he also sells his photos, giving him a second career as a photographer.
If that weren’t enough, in his spare time, he teaches classes in science writing, international freelancing and travel writing through an online program offered by the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
“My schedule varies dramatically from week to week, month to month,” he says. “Because I have so many competing things going on—writing, editing images, pitching, preparing for upcoming classes, grading student work—I tend to compartmentalize my time, so that I have a series of tasks that I must get done before moving on to the next ones.”
So-called “slashers,” like reporter/photographer/teacher Juskalian, are part of an emerging trend known as the “portfolio career.” And if you’re the right personality type, it can be an incredibly rewarding—and profitable—career move.
How Portfolio Careers Became So Big
Marci Alboher, author of “One Person/Multiple Careers,” defines “slashers” as individuals who’ve created a “portfolio career” involving multiple identities. Their income comes from part-time employment, temporary work, freelance assignments or a personal business—or they work a full-time job, while pursuing other lucrative interests.
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Barrie Hopson, co-author of “10 Steps to Creating a Portfolio Career,” says that this type of career offers a much more fulfilling work-life blend, not to mention a safety net of several jobs—so if you lose one or choose to quit a job, you’ll still have other sources of income.
During the heart of the recession, people took on portfolio careers out of necessity. So now that the job market is improving, why is the slasher lifestyle becoming even more common? “Increasingly, people are finding that they don’t want to do the same thing day in and day out,” Hopson says. “The traditional, single-track career pattern of the last century (think ladder) is now more difficult to find, and if you do pursue that, you’ll almost certainly have to move between companies.”
That said, portfolio careers aren’t for everyone.