Why Multi-Careering is the Next BIG Thing

Work is changing in our culture rapidly. According to the Business Insider, by 2020 it is estimated that 40% of the US Workforce will be considered Freelancers. That is a phenomenal statistic. On top of that, many young professionals want their work to be about more than one thing. This is a trend now being called Multi-Careering.

what is multi-careering

Is it possible to have multiple careers in your income earning years and be successful? This fast growing trend tell us many people think so.

Back in 2004, I began to see this trend as an Executive Recruiter. The younger generation wasn’t as “settled” in their work as generations past. Their resumes told the story. More than 3 years in the same job meant “getting in a rut” to the younger generation.

They wanted more control in their careers and in developing their skill sets. With all of the downsizing taking place, many young professionals saw a need “to look out for themselves.” I remember one young Financial Analyst being frustrated because he was a part of 3 consecutive Reduction in Force (RIF) with 3 separate companies in 6 years.

Whether it is out of necessity or out of desire, many working professionals want their work to be about multi-passions. Barna recently released some statistics about this multi-careering phenomenon and here is what they discovered:

  • 67% of the Millennial Generation (Gen Y) consider themselves to be entrepreneurial
  • 75% (3 out of every 4 adults) want to live a more meaningful life.
  • 91% of millennials think they will stay less than three years in a single job
  • 46% of people age 50+ expect to retire later than their parents did
  • 62% of employed adults expect to work after retirement age, and most because they will want to

What are the underlying reasons for this trend? While I am sure we can point it to many things, here are 3 surface level reasons I have noticed:

We have multiple passions we want to explore

We’ve been told for far too long that in order to be successful we have to choose one occupation and do that for the rest of our life. Like the Renaissance age, the ever-expanding Information Age is opening up opportunities for us to be about more than one thing in our work. More and more people are seeing that successful work doesn’t have to be tied to one company and one location.

We have a strong desire to make a difference in our work

The younger generation (and many others as well) have a strong desire to see real meaning come from their work. Many of them have witnessed first hand their parents in what they would call “soul-sucking” jobs. They watched them spend years doing work they didn’t enjoy with people they didn’t like all for the sake of having a nice house in the suburbs.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that the younger generation doesn’t want to do hard work, they just want it to make a difference. They want to see more impact.

We want control over the what, when, and how of our work

Work is changing as we know it large in part to the growth of the internet. The internet allows anyone with a “gift” to build a platform and get paid to do what they love. Never before in human history have you been able to live anywhere and still be financially successful in your work.

Think about it. It is possible to live in a small, rural town and have more customers than you can possibly handle – all because of the internet. Because of this opportunity, more people want to control the what, when and how of their work.

Question: How about you? Do you see Multi-Careering as the next BIG thing in our work? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

    Jonathan has been blogging since 2009 and is still in awe that the Creator of the Universe desires to have a relationship with him. His passions include spending time with his kids, reading, March Madness, surprise get-a-way trips with his wife, and watching funny YouTube videos.

    Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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    4 thoughts on “Why Multi-Careering is the Next BIG Thing

    1. As always JM, you’re ahead of the curve. I too have been seeing signs of this all over – even in the nonprofit world where telecommuting and job sharing is becoming more prevalent. Great post! – Craig Grella

      • Thanks Craig. I was tired of seeing smart, capable people shoved aside because they couldn’t choose just one thing. As a recruiter, I was focused on finding the perfect straight-laced resume and often had to pass over smart people.

        • yes, I can see how that can happen. I’ve got an 18 year old on my dev team – he’s brilliant. Others are virtual but not the obvious choices if you were looking at resumes. But they’re just good – perfect – and everyone has multiple jobs. Question is – will other larger employers pick up on this trend, embrace it – or is it just a function of our current economy?

    2. I agree with this, and am now embarking on my muti-freelancing lifestyle. It’s still tricky in the UK, but I’m certain it’s the only way to keep me engaged with work, ie if it is something I really enjoy, and one of the important things for me is variety.