“Slash youth” has become a new term in China, referring to young people who do more than one job, like being an actor/director, captain/science officer or banker/tech entrepreneur. The term “slashes” was devised by US writer Marci Alboher in her book One Person/Multiple Careers: A New Model for Work/Life Success in 2007. The term in Chinese is “xiegang.”
The need to take on multiple jobs, according to Hu Xiaowu, deputy director of the Institute of Urban Science at Nanjing University, is mostly because of financial instability. Young Chinese believe economic stability is a thing of the past, and so attempt to ensure multiple income streams. “Slash careers” are becoming a way to combine economic security with work that matches people’s passions.
Peng Jinhua, a senior financial commentator and deputy chief of Teller magazine, noted that slashers could gain experience and knowledge from different jobs because careers are often connected, and being able to choose which they want to pour energy into keeps them from getting bored and restless.
Yet, Peng warned that only when a slash career fulfills passions or makes young people less anxious about money can it help them lead a rewarding life, since juggling jobs is not suitable for everyone, and there would be some challenges in learning new skills and finding a balance between work and down time.