The Burgeoning 'Slash': Who are they?

Just by looking at the title of this article, most people probably don’t even have the tiniest clue of what I want to talk about. Slash, which is called Xié Gàng in Chinese, talks about a certain group of people that partake in more than one job (usually two or more different types of occupations) at the same period of time. The term “slash” has been rising in popularity over the past few years, especially in Taiwan. It seems to have become a trending phenomenon for young adults or older grown-ups, not only in Taiwan, but also worldwide.

Out of pure curiosity, I made a small online survey for my non-Taiwanese friends, since it may be interesting to see how they view the unfamiliar word “slash”. The first question was about their first impression of seeing this term, and 60% said that they had a negative impression. This seems to match my expectations for the outcome of the answer proportions. For those of you who are reading this article, feel free to answer my simple survey questions, too!

The next question includes the definition of slash, and then asks whether the survey participant’s perspective changes after knowing the definition of the term. Interestingly, 55% said that their viewpoints changed from negative to positive, which I anticipated. 35% answered no change - positive first impression before and after knowing the meaning of slash.

Regarding question number 3, the question was “Would you consider yourself to be a ‘slash’?”, and 75% responded that it could be a possibility. Another 20% chose yes. For the young adult generation, choosing to start their own businesses or participating in more than one type of career has been the two flourishing career paths that many embark on. Even though the term slash started around 10 years ago when Marci Alboher, a New York female journalist and counselor mentioned it in her bestseller book One Person/Multiple Careers: A New Model for Work/Life Success, this fresh word has finally risen above sea level and gained attention in the world. Slash seems to symbolize the innovative and somewhat unconventional working environment that the global society offers, and it is no longer difficult to understand why Xié Gàng Ching Nian, or ‘slash youths’ in Chinese, are increasing rapidly these past few years. It is not difficult to envision that the slash population will still continue to increase in numbers.

women placing sticky notes on wall Photo by You X Ventures from Unsplash This particular word has been lingering in my head recently, which made me want to write this article. Reflecting upon myself these past two years - despite the fact that I am not ‘officially’ a slash, since I am not involved in more than one type of job at this moment, you can also say that there is not a single, correct definition that describes who slash really are. For how I define slash, it can be used to portray people who are highly interested to gain expertise in various fields - for example a person may be an expert in a specific field since he or she studied it in university, yet that person also has the desire to explore other industries. Therefore, slash also seems fitting when used to depict a person’s personality.

Now, perhaps you have a bit more understanding of who slash are. Would you consider yourself to be a slash?