In this time and age, linear career paths are getting too mainstream. I wrote in an earlier article that job-hoppers are not committing career suicide. What you may not know is that these job-hoppers represent an increasing number of multipotentialites.
Multipotentiality can be defined as the ability and preference to excel in two or more different fields, all of which could lead to plenty of career opportunities. Also known as polymaths or multipassionates, they are the ones that do not believe that they have a single purpose in life. Instead, they believe that to have a good life, one has to have more than one purpose. So, they have various things that have triggered their enthusiasm over the years they are keen on digging further.
At times, those things are distinct from each other – they do not share any similarities. For example, one of my friends works as a management associate and does vlogging on the side. It serves her well – both fields were ones that she was truly interested in and the seeming disconnect between the two definitely serves as an excellent way to get a conversation going.
While today’s education systems teach us to seek and specialise in one career field, multipotentialites seek to challenge that education ideology by exploring more than one learning journey. Those that do bow to the mission of the education institutions to become specialised employees in a certain field will eventually move to another field soon after they realised that their current position ceases to offer the mental nourishment they require.
The Types of Multipotentialites
I bet you did not see that one coming – yes, multipotentialites can come in many forms. There is some truth in the notion that they all had various reasons for switching careers. However, what this process is that even if you feel like you have pursued the wrong major in university and landed a job in the wrong industry, you can still make things right.
Always reminds yourself that it is never too late to switch careers and find your true purpose in your career. You have time.
1. They belong to the first type of multipotentialites: those who travel on different career paths,
Richard Branson is a good example here. His birthchild started off with Virgin Records before establishing a foothold across various fields: Virgin Atlantic (airline), Virgin Mobile (telecommunications) and Virgin Galactic (space travel).
2. There is another type: those who opted to have multiple different endeavours simultaneously.
These are the people who seem to have an endless amount of energy. I am positive that we all recognise someone who cannot seem to take a break. In university, they held a position in the student council, were captain of their respective sports teams, working part-time at the local café while volunteering at the local charity centre – in addition to being an exceptional academic performer. They then specialise in a particular field before reaching a point where they crave something more.
There are others who will find one way or another to unite their interests as one.
Have you heard of Nerd Fitness? It was founded by fitness instructor Steve Kamb after he combined his passion for video games, movies and other things that “nerds” enjoy with fitness.
A small but growing number of multipotentialites are developing a sense of entrepreneurship before becoming entrepreneurs themselves. Often when you are a sole entrepreneur, you have to become adept at virtually almost everything – or at least be capable of fulfilling an extensive range of responsibilities. You have to excel in key business areas such as marketing, accounting, website development and other business areas that seem insignificant in the first place. You can outsource some of them, but there is only so much you can do so before it becomes unsustainable and hence, unprofitable.
Final 2¢: “How do I know if I am one of them, a multipotentialite?”
Here are a couple of indicators you may want to focus on:
- You may have a whole list of passions you want to explore or have many hobbies that you want to alternate between.
- Once you have specialised in a particular field, you become bored and feel the need not to specialise further.
- The things that give you mental nourishment may have no direct relationship with each other.
- You enjoy learning new kinds of stuff.
If any of that resonates with you, then hoorah! You are a multipotentialite! Do not toss this gift away, and I would highly recommend that you allow your passions to have their moments to shine.