Drawing a parallel career
Nowadays, you can have many faces. One can be an actor and a Youtuber, a management consultant and an angel investor, and so on.
According to NHK, one in three Japanese workers has (or has had) a “side job. In other countries, working outside of one’s day job is called “moonlighting.
The first impact is a lockdown during a pandemic. The experience of mass layoffs due to the economic slowdown and the establishment of a telecommuting culture led to a surge in the number of people working multiple jobs.
Of course, while this type of work serves to guarantee stable employment and the economy, the value of this type of work as a “parallel career” to achieve self-fulfillment will also attract more attention in the future. Rather than the widely known “side job,” which is no longer viewed as a sub-subsidiary of the main job, the meaning of a “multi-axis career” will become more important in order to survive in the age of VUCA.
Nevertheless, only 20% of all people in Japan have a side job. Few people may still be able to muster the courage to take a step forward in this new-trend way of working.
In this opinion piece, we will examine how to draw up a career to make your life meaningful and how to deal with the risks of juggling various titles.
Insure what you love
I recently tried the cinematic mode on a friend’s iPhone 14 and was amazed at the precision of the results. If you have the right idea, you can make a great movie with a single smartphone. The bar for unleashing creativity is getting lower every year. (Although the price of the iPhone is increasing every year.)
According to Adobe’s “Future of Creativity” study, more than 165 million people have entered the creator economy since 2020. In Japan, one out of every seven people is a creator of photos, videos, and creative writing.
In addition, according to the Creator Economy Association, 60% of side job creators and 30% of hobby creators earn around tens of thousands of yen per month. Indeed, the means to directly generate income without relying on so-called corporate deals or affiliate marketing are diversifying.
There is a live-streaming service that allows users to make a monthly fee to distribute Nikon content, such as Substack, and C2C marketplaces that allow users to sell their creations and skills directly to others.
Frankly speaking, I feel that it is too risky to take a 100% “do what you love and live” stance, but at the same time, it is doubtful that a work style in which one is fully committed to one company will be safe in the future.
For example, Lee of the Milken Institute, a US think tank, points out that white-collar workers, rather than blue-collar workers, will be the most vulnerable workers in the face of the pandemic and the ensuing economic downturn. Underlying this is the change in business models and automation through the introduction of software.
Other factors that could shake up one’s day job include labor migration from mature to growing industries and the replacement of occupations by machines.
In such an era, diversifying one’s source of income will become important in terms of risk avoidance.
As a side business, generate income as a safety net through a favorite activity or hobby to which you can easily devote resources. The time has come to “insure what you love” instead of “make what you love into a job”.
To work as you like
There is a guesthouse that I enjoy meeting various people every time I visit, and I end up visiting it again and again. I once met two CPAs there. One was a nomad runner, traveling around the country while working as a CPA, and the other was a CPA but working for a consulting agency. I thought it was wonderful that both of them had built solid careers for themselves, while still keeping their lives focused on what they love to do, not on their jobs.
In this day and age, perhaps due in part to the spread of remote work with the Corona disaster, it has become easier for people to choose a path other than to find a job as a new graduate following the rails that Japan has laid down for a long time. Furthermore, as lifetime employment and membership-based employment are fading away, more and more Japanese companies are introducing job-based employment. As a result, the expertise of workers will become more important, and careers will depend more on individual interests and motivation.
However, it is quite a hurdle to step out of the career you have accumulated and into something new, and you have to carve out your own career path, including what skills you should acquire and how you should acquire them. In order for us to “live” today in a way that is honest to our “likes,” it will still be essential for us to have access to places for re-learning. On the other hand, “recurrent education” for re-learning has not taken root in Japan. In fact, while the average percentage of university students aged 25 or older in OECD countries is approximately 20%, including a significant number of working students, the percentage in Japan is only about 1.9%.
In response, there is a movement among universities to promote recurrent education. EBILAB Inc. is working with Mie University to establish and offer a recurrent education program. The content of the program includes a curriculum designed to foster DX fields that require applied skills, reskilling, and career advancement, in line with the Recurrent Education Promotion Project adopted by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology to support employment and career change with a focus on DX and other growth fields. In addition, 62% of listed companies have introduced recurrent education and are developing various programs. Therefore, we believe that it is also very effective to use in-house relearning programs as a means of creating opportunities for relearning.
In any way possible, we live in the age of VUCA, and we need to update our knowledge. In order for us to live doing what we love, it is important to always look for opportunities to learn and to be eager to expand our own skills and knowledge!
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Moonwriters and Online Communities
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All kinds of work on the side.
From moving help to assembling Ikea furniture, people are paying a lot of money for tasks they don’t have time to do themselves. According to data from Airtasker, a task matching service, trash removal, gardening, and cleaning are at the top of the list.