“What do you do for a living?” used to be an easy question to answer.
At school you were asked to make a black and white choice to the question of “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and for the rest of your life you were One Thing or Another. You were a designer, or an accountant, or a doctor, or an artist.
But now this book reveals how a generation of ‘mashers’ are leading a ‘plural’ work and careers revolution where you can be both a designer and an accountant, a doctor and an artist, and be happier, more fulfilled and better paid at the same time.
Along the way Ian and David introduce readers to an army of ‘mashers’ who are already making the most of all their multiple interests and skills to live more authentic lives. Interviewees include Dave Stewart, Phill Jupitus, Sarah Beeny, Worldwide CEO of Saatchi and Saatchi Kevin Roberts, entrepreneur and co-founder of the ‘Do Lectures’ David Hieatt, Zookeeper and business owner Steve Sampson, and a whole platoon of mashers whose plural careers include making an award-winning film series, running a spice trading company, writing a bio of Florence and the Machine, setting up a DJ agency, and blogging for the London 2012 Olympics.
Innovative businesses need ‘Mashers’
Mash-Up isn’t necessarily a call to arms for an army of potential freelancers but is a mind-set that offers value to businesses too. Ian and David explain how organisations that encourage ‘mashing’ mindsets can maintain a competitive edge. At Saatchi & Saatchi and Global Design & Innovation Company IDEO they allow employees to carve out their own roles and work cross-departments, creating what IDEO CEO Tim Brown describes as ‘T-Shaped’ people who “have a principal skill that describes the vertical leg of the T – they’re mechanical engineers or industrial designers. But they are so empathetic that they can branch out into other skills, such as anthropology, and do them as well.”.
Such people, Ian and David argue, are what have enabled Saatchi & Saatchi and IDEO to provide broader and more innovative solutions for their clients.
Pluralize or Die
Mash-Up explains how this ability to be a multidimensional individual or business isn’t just an asset today but an imperative. We are living in what Fast Company editor Robert Safian has billed ‘Generation Flux’ in which an unprecedented amount of change in the last five years has made big plans and long-range forecasting, on both an individual and business level, impossible. ‘Generation Flux’ is the mind-set that is needed to survive. It’s a mind-set that embraces instability, a business model that is agile, a career with no ‘Five Year Plan’ – ultimately, a world where roles, departments, careers and businesses are ‘mashed’.
Author Ian Sanders explains about dealing with the ‘what do you do question’ in this short video: