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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 additional time 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 usually credited for popularizing the time period “slash profession.” She wrote a e book about individuals who pursue a number of pursuits and revenue streams searching for 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. Daily 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 just like being a freelancer — but totally different, mentioned Vicki Fan, CEO {of professional} providers agency Mercer’s Hong Kong enterprise.

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

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

Rising development

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 stability.

“As a slashie … I’d assume that will be simpler to stability,” he mentioned, including that many individuals additionally wish to be YouTubers/web influencers.

Ho, the non-public coach, mentioned technological developments enable individuals to hunt totally different profession alternatives simply.

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

Vicki Fan

Mercer Hong Kong

In keeping with 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 need to be in place, and that is from an employer’s perspective,” she mentioned.

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

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

Concerns for potential slashies

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

“It is fairly a giant danger,” 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 similar time, the Taekwondo health club the place he coaches additionally needed to shut briefly, and courses had been moved on-line.

We now have been working so laborious, I’d say thrice as laborious, however incomes perhaps half as a lot.

“We now have been working so laborious — I’d 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 initially, Chung mentioned.

“As soon as I stop my job to turn out to be 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 information of the roles they take up, be disciplined and have assist from their households, he suggested.

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

Evaluating the resumes of a slashie and a conventional worker, hiring managers might query whether or not a slashie may 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 focused on going again to common 9-to-5 jobs.

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

“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 Yolande Chee contributed to this report.



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