A look at people with multiple professional identities -- Lawyer/Writer, Rabbi/Comic, Police Officer/Personal Trainer -- and how they craft lives they love to live, balance their pursuits, manage their time, network, and find new opportunities.
Not the kind of book I would normally pick up, I must confess.
But it's written by Marci Alboher, who I got to know when she moderated the Lawyer/Writer panel I was on in the fall, and she's terrific, so when the copy arrived I couldn't wait to read it. And it's really good. I wrote Marci an e-mail after reading it, telling her I think it works even without the self-help angle, the same way that the Po Bronson books do. The market for this should be bigger than just people looking to start slash careers of their own. Interesting case studies, and I loved how she incorporated the occasional personal aspect from her own life into the narrative.
Really, it's more than a book about slash-careers -- it's a book about uncovering the professional life you want to lead, and about thinking outside the box, not being limited to the traditional 9-to-5 job, and finding ways to turn interests and hobbies into real pursuits. It's about putting dreams into action, and finding concrete ways to go from being a frustrated writer "on the side" to actually being a writer, for real. Or not a writer. A chef, a personal trainer, a comic, a pilates instructor, a real estate agent. Too often -- way too often, really -- I find myself imagining that no one really likes what they do, and that it's all a pipe dream to really think I can figure out a way to be happy. That it's not the point of a job to be fulfilling but that it's the rest of my life that has to carry the burden and I'm putting too much pressure on myself to say that I want to find a professional life that's fulfilling and satisfying and that I really want to spend time doing -- work that doesn't feel like work. And that if I didn't have this romanticized notion of work, I could just get a job at a law firm, make a lot of money, and deal with it. And that no one in this world is really happy and life is pointless and.... It's a depressing death spiral.
Marci's book is the cure to this death spiral of negative thinking, because she profiles a heck of a lot of people who sound like they really love what they do -- and even if they're not "superstars" by any traditional measure (meaning: they're not in US Weekly or Sports Illustrated), they're fulfilled and satisfied and happy and productive and are absolutely superstars because they've figured it out. Lots of people, across lots of different job categories, who've figured it out. It's inspiring. It makes me think I can figure it out too, and it's not hopeless for any of us.
Marci's got a web site too. You can hold a "Slash Salon," which sounds dangerous. I hope the book becomes a big hit. It should.