Earlier this year, if you’d asked me what I did for a living, I’d have said I was a slashie. It may sound like something from a rubbish horror film, but I thought it was the answer to my prayers.
For those of you who don’t know what a slashie is here’s a definition…
“slashies are simultaneously holding down several jobs, at a time when contracts are hard to come by and often not stimulating enough for those used to the fast pace of the digital world.”
Full article and definition featured in the Evening Standard here.
My slashie life looked like this – I wrote my books, I I freelanced as a marketing consultant, taking projects that suited me, and I began picking up other jobs here and there too. I designed websites, got involved with the trust that runs my kids’ school, and wrote my blog. To my delight, all of those things together – the bits that were paid – added up to just as much as working full time – especially when I took away the eye-watering cost of childcare.
Pretty amazing, huh? Except I didn’t feel amazing, and the day I should have felt the most amazing –when I was featured on Mother Pukka’s blog talking about what I do – I felt exhausted. I was ill, lying in bed on my family holiday to Gran Canaria. I’d burned out and it sucked. So when I came home, I made a list of everything I had to do. The list had more than 14 different ‘jobs’ on it.
There were my days in the office where I was working on a temporary contract, building websites for some fellow authors, governors’ meetings at my sons’ school, and my favourite: “Write next book.”
Looking at my list, I realised my jobs needed more hours than an average working week, let alone a school-day week, which is what I had hoped I could do. Not only had I failed to build a decent work/life balance – the children were basically being babysat by either iPads or the trampoline, and my husband was relegated to the Playstation, but I’d failed to focus on the thing I’d given up my time-consuming job for – my books.
I thought becoming a slashie would be the answer to my prayers, but actually I’d become a jack of all trades, master of none.
It’s been a stressful few months since April. I’ve spent a lot of time being cross at myself, but I think taking on too much was a valuable exercise. By burning out, I’ve managed to refocus.
Now I’m back to where I wanted to be at the beginning, writing for a living. It’s not as well paid, but it’s a living. I’m picking up my children and we’re even doing a joint Tae Kwon Do class together. I’m still actively involved in the school.
I’m disappointed to admit that perhaps there is no ‘having it all’ and sacrifices have to be made to achieve the things you really want. What I wanted was job satisfaction and to enjoy my children, but who knows, maybe in a few years I will need to revaluate what I’m doing and make some more changes.
Or…hopefully by then my books will have been turned into movies, and I’ll be living somewhere hot and drinking gin on tap
Aimee is a writer and communications mastermind, with a background in digital marketing. A once self-published author she is now represented by @juliasreading and working on her latest novel.
Aimee can also be found mostly talking about beige food and running, and loves anything that includes leopard print and/or pineapples – or in the words of her husband ‘tat’.