Hong Kong ‘slashies’ reject conventional jobs to pursue a number of careers

It has been seven years since Gary Chung left his job in finance and product administration.

The 44-year-old is now a self-professed “slashie” — somebody who pursues a number of careers in lieu of holding a conventional full-time job. 

“I made a decision to be a slashie as a result of … working in Hong Kong, the time beyond regulation work, the depth — I could not stand it for fairly a very long time,” he instructed CNBC.

Since taking the “leap of religion,” Chung has labored as a marriage cameraman and phonics instructor — however for now, he is chosen to concentrate on being a Taekwondo teacher and sports activities merchandise gross sales coach.

What’s a ‘slashie’?

American writer Marci Alboher is often credited for popularizing the time period “slash profession.” She wrote a guide about individuals who pursue a number of pursuits and revenue streams in quest of a satisfying work life.

One different instance is Hugo Ho — a private coach/social entrepreneur/monetary planner who lives in Hong Kong.

“I do not do the identical factor day in and time out. Day by day is totally different,” the 31-year-old instructed CNBC. “I’m so refreshed and motivated day-after-day.”

The idea of being a slashie is considerably much like being a freelancer — but totally different, mentioned Vicki Fan, CEO {of professional} companies agency Mercer’s Hong Kong enterprise.

“Freelancers are typically … hour- or project-based, and they’re proud of sort of troughs and peaks by way of work,” she mentioned.

Being a slashie is “extra formalized,” she defined. “They’d be making use of for comparable roles that full-time individuals out there might be making use of for as effectively.”

Rising pattern

Anecdotally, this path appears to be more and more widespread in Hong Kong and all over the world.

Chung, the Taekwondo teacher/sports activities merchandise gross sales coach, mentioned lots of people need good work-life steadiness.

“As a slashie … I might suppose that may be simpler to steadiness,” he mentioned, including that many individuals additionally wish to be YouTubers/web influencers.

Ho, the private coach, mentioned technological developments permit individuals to hunt totally different profession alternatives simply.

For slashie work tradition to be extra embedded, two enablers should be in place, and that is from an employer’s perspective.

Vicki Fan

Mercer Hong Kong

In response to Mercer’s Fan, there was a rise within the variety of slashies, particularly on account of the pandemic.

Nonetheless, she doesn’t see slashies changing the mainstream workforce.

“For slashie work tradition to be extra embedded, two enablers should be in place, and that is from an employer’s perspective,” she mentioned.

The primary is a redefinition of labor to focus extra on expertise or tasks, and fewer on working hours and processes. “Many firms’ current roles don’t work like that,” Fan mentioned.

Secondly, slashies must have alternatives and entry to advantages corresponding to well being care. In any other case, there’s more likely to be a cap on the variety of individuals prepared to be slashies.

Concerns for potential slashies

Chung is below no phantasm concerning the trade-offs between a conventional occupation and his personal unconventional profession selection, having given up a secure revenue and a job with medical insurance to be a slashie.

“It is fairly an enormous threat,” he mentioned. “As a father of two, it is actually a … massive leap of religion.”

The coronavirus disaster additionally hit him. With retail companies struggling, he didn’t get a lot work as a gross sales coach. On the identical time, the Taekwondo gymnasium the place he coaches additionally needed to shut briefly, and lessons had been moved on-line.

Now we have been working so laborious, I might say thrice as laborious, however incomes perhaps half as a lot.

“Now we have been working so laborious — I might say thrice as laborious, however incomes perhaps half as a lot,” he mentioned.

It is vital to be financially prepared for a drop in revenue, particularly at first, Chung mentioned.

“As soon as I stop my job to develop into a slashie, I believe I used to be incomes just one third of my (earlier) wage,” he mentioned. Slashies-to-be should even have good data of the roles they take up, be disciplined and have assist from their households, he suggested.

Mercer’s Fan mentioned employers might also view slashies otherwise in the event that they apply for a full-time function.

Evaluating the resumes of a slashie and a conventional worker, hiring managers might query whether or not a slashie will be devoted to the job.

No turning again

That is unlikely to be a priority for Chung and Ho — each males say they are not excited about going again to common 9-to-5 jobs.

Ho mentioned he would “positively not” return to a conventional full-time function.

“I take pleasure in being a slashie as a result of I can have my flexibility,” he mentioned.

Chung mentioned he now earns greater than he used to and enjoys what he does.

“I actually love what I do now,” he mentioned. “As a slashie, as a Taekwondo coach, I haven’t got to work a lot, so … I can spend extra time with my household.”

— CNBC’s Vivian Kam contributed to this report.

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