China Focus: Young Chinese embrace a "slash" career

Source: Xinhua| 2019-08-02 16:58:56|Editor: Xiaoxia
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SHANGHAI, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- After landing, flight attendant Gan Yaojun immediately starts up his phone camera, immersing himself in his second career -- teaching netizens how to keep fit and dress fashionably.

"I chose to become a flight attendant because I wanted to travel around the world. But after I started working, I found that I could only travel on the same routes over and over again," 28-year-old Gan said, defining himself as a flight attendant/fashion blogger.

Gan is among the "slashie" generation who find career fulfillment through juggling multiple jobs and titles.

Despite the limitations of his job, he did not simply choose to quit. Instead, he turned his hobby into a side business by taking photos and making short videos to teach young men how to skateboard, exercise and match clothes.

At present, Gan has more than 40,000 followers on social networking platform Xiaohongshu. One of his videos which teaches boys how to roll up their trousers has more than 3,000 likes.

"Reading positive online comments after work is the happiest part of my day. My second job makes me feel fulfilled and become a better person," he said.

In the past, Gan was reluctant to get out of bed during breaks. Now for his blogs, he has to go to the gym regularly and shoot videos. "I have become more energetic and motivated," he said.

The number of people with slash careers in China has exceeded 80 million, with highly educated youth becoming the main force, according to a joint survey released by thinktank Tsingyan Research and several other organizations.

However, its popularity has raised concerns from critics, who argue that multiple roles risk undermining the performance of "slashies" in their full-time jobs.

It is not the case for Xue Zhenni, 34, who has adopted a slash career and struck a balance between multiple side jobs.

"My second identity as a tour guide has even promoted my first job -- a human resources administrator," Xue said, adding that she could build up interpersonal communication skills and adaptability, and maintain curiosity and effectiveness, which are all skills related to her first title.

Many people who opt for a slash career note that multiple side jobs can give them greater discipline and creativity, and hone different skills.

"I agree with the idea of focusing, but I don't think it's necessarily limited to a certain skill; otherwise, you may risk becoming outdated in this changing society," said 26-year-old Chen Yanyu, a financial planner/music blogger/psychological counselor.

Yang Xiong, director of the Institute of Youth and Juvenile Studies at Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said the Chinese economy is transitioning from high-speed growth to high-quality development. "It requires a higher level of professionalism and more skills for young people in order to adapt to the changes."

Yu Hai, a professor at Fudan University, believes that slash careers reflect the hobbies and nature of the "slashies."

"When you are working, you invest not just your time and energy but also your emotions. And if you can secure a career you love, your emotions will not be exhausted, and you will not be prone to burnout," Yu said.

Yu believes that the emergence and popularity of slash careers is making people aware of the diversity of employment choices.

"Even if you don't like your current job, you don't have to complain or be depressed. You still have opportunities to explore in more fields," Yu said.