When asked what you wanted to be when you grew up could you list multiple dream jobs, but found it hard to settle on just one true calling? Was deciding what subjects to study at school an almost impossible choice to make?
Contrary to what some may think, saying 'I don't know what to do with my life' may not mean you’re lost or unsettled. It could actually mean you’re a special type of person called a multipotentialite – also known as a slashie. What’s more, being one could bring you more career success than you think...
What is a multipotentialite?
It may sound like a term you’d find in a biology textbook, but a multipotentialite is actually a fitting description for iconic figures you’d find in history books. A multipotentialite doesn’t have one ‘true calling’, but has talents in multiple areas.
People like Leonardo Da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin and Aristotle were all multipotentialites. These men had many varied interests and creative pursuits and were able to excel at two or more different fields.
Are you a multipotentialite?
One of the tell-tale signs of a multipotentialite is an extreme eagerness for learning. As a multipotentialite, you have an insatiable curiosity and love to explore and master new skills. You’re known for enthusiastically throwing yourself into mastering a particular skill or becoming an expert in a topic before quickly wanting to learn about something else.
When it comes to the workplace, multipotentialites often feel the need to change roles every few years because they find themselves getting bored, particularly if there is a lack of development opportunities. Once you feel you've learnt all you can, you start craving something new to focus on.
Being a multipotentialite may also mean you’re drawn to multiple career paths. For example, it's not uncommon for a multipotentialite to be interested in a career as a professional writer while being equally as passionate about pursuing a music career - often at the same time.
Use it to your advantage
While some may see you as indecisive and say you need to specialise in one thing and one thing only, being skilled in multiple disciplines can bring a lot of interesting benefits.
A multipotentialite is often an ideas person and innovation is one of their key strengths. When two or more different fields with differing viewpoints meet, innovative ideas are most likely to happen at the point where the two intersect. A multipotentialite can take advantage of this as they're able to call on their expertise in a variety of disciplines.
These types of creative thinkers are particularly valuable in the workplace, as they can provide new and interesting solutions when problems arise.
As a multipotentialite, your passion for learning means you’re likely to study more than one qualification in your lifetime, or have multiple short courses on the go. You might even be more interested in a double diploma or degree to suit a variety of interests.
You may think it sounds like the scene of a horror film, but it’s actually this ability to work across multiple roles which has led some to refer to multipotentialites as slashies, for example designer/filmmaker, or photographer/teacher.
Multipotentialites can be drawn to careers that offer variety, for example teaching where they’re able to cover a range of subjects, or creative industries such as design, filmmaking or photography. Other multipotentialites might have a ‘day job’ that focuses on one particular passion, allowing them to work on pet projects at night or on the weekend.
Because multipotentialites are often very agile and adaptable (a result of regularly moving from one thing to the next), they thrive in dynamic and ever-changing working environments. Being experienced in various fields can also open up a multipotentialite to more opportunities as they’re open to pursuing different career paths (often at the same time), without being locked into one ‘true calling’.