TAIPEI, July 21 (Xinhua) -- A lawyer who is also a marathon runner, a construction site engineer who is also a best-selling writer and a translator who also plays music.
These interesting juxtapositions hardly surprise others in Taiwan because more and more young people on the island have become so-called "slashies," those who are engaged in more than one profession.
Chiu Ching-yi, an experienced lawyer who is now better known for running marathons, said at a forum on the subject held in Taipei this weekend that she became a "slashie" out of both interest and chance.
"At first, I was worried about my career prospects as a lawyer," she said. "Then out of the need to handle related legal cases, I went for further studies on civil engineering in university, where I joined the university sports team and started running."
Having been engaged in running for six years, Chiu had medaled at six of the largest and most renowned marathons in the world by 2018 and also published a book on the topic.
"Becoming a 'slashie' is not the objective, but rather about doing what I like, having different life experiences, and getting to know new people and new areas," she said.
Although the phenomenon of engaging in different professions has long existed, the term "slashie" only became popular in the past few years in Taiwan with books published on the subject, some even teaching young people how to become "slashies".
Lin Li-ching, a construction site engineer who is also a best-seller writer, said working different jobs can balance his income when business is slow and also balance his mood as they bring different senses of fulfilment.
"Working on a construction site makes me happy because I can see the immediate effect of my work, but I also like to switch to writing and public speaking from time to time when I feel bored with construction work," Lin said, adding that writing and public speaking also earn him more money.
"In a big city like Taipei, being a 'slashie' is very easy because there are plenty of job opportunities," he said. "Instead, knowing what one really wants is rather difficult."
He advised young people to carefully develop different professions based on their own interests and talents and be prepared to invest time with little to no payback. "You cannot simply copy others' modes of success."
Compared with people like Chiu and Lin, who voluntarily venture into different professions, there are also people who are forced to work two or more jobs out of economic pressure.
Wang Tsin-chiu, an office worker who also drives a taxi in Taipei, said he works two jobs to make ends meet since his wife stays at home to take care of their 4-year-old son.
"I have to work harder because we need to save money for my son's future education and our own retirement," he told reporters, adding that housing prices and other living expenses are high in big cities like Taipei.
With two jobs, Wang makes about 120,000 to 130,000 new Taiwan dollars (about 3,868 to 4,190 U.S. dollars) a month, a large part of which goes to paying his rent, about 50,000 new Taiwan dollars a month for a small apartment just big enough to shelter his family, and his son's kindergarten tuition fees, about 20,000 new Taiwan dollars per month.
"This is why people in Taiwan do not want to have children," he said, half joking, pointing to a bitter truth.
Figures showed only 181,000 babies were born on the island last year, 7.2 percent fewer than the previous year. Women now also tend to give birth to children at an older age, even at an advanced age, compared with 10 years ago.