Jul 28, 2014

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Latina Cubicle Confidential™–Are You Working the “Latina Shuffle”?

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Latina shuffle

Are you working a regular job while you plan for opening your own business?  Do you come home after a full day of work and put in another 6 hours into the book you just have to publish or the blog you want to have syndicated?  You are not alone, Mujer.  Throughout my career, I’ve had to carry several business cards all at the same time!  One friend called it the “Latina Shuffle”!

In the past, some may have thought of this as just creating options in case your current job fell apart.  Today it’s called the parallel career.  It is no surprise many young, educated and smart Latinas are thinking carefully about creating career options.  Many saw how difficult their parent’s lives may have been during decades of corporate downsizing and restructuring and have vowed never to be vulnerable to the whims of an employer.   For others it is simply about doing all the things we love to do, regardless of whether one job is enough.   Carrying two or three business cards is the only way to fully explore all those passions.  Latinas have a strong entrepreneurial spirit—in fact we are the fastest growing group of small business owners in the US.

If you are working two gigs or creating an alternative career during your spare time, how do you describe your professional life to others?

It’s important to manage your many professional identities so that future clients, collaborators, and yes, your future boss can understand your career interests.  If not, you can confuse others about what your interests may be and send a message that you are scattered, tentative or unfocused.   For example, if you find yourself saying,  “I’m a store manager but that’s just my “day job”, my real passion is creating apps for smartphones.” Be careful!  This isn’t sending the right message and the world is so small, you never know who might hear your comment.  Unless you have saved enough to walk away from your “day job” and support yourself for a solid six months, don’t risk losing your job over your parallel career before you’re ready to launch.   Even more important, don’t send a message to a potential software developer that your software endeavor may be a hobby.  Instead the best statement you can make is one that you tailor to each of your target audiences.  If you were speaking to a developer about your new app, speak only about your interest in developing products that address a specific need.  There is no reason for you to explain your other work.  Focus on convincing the developer to work with you because of your enthusiasm about software development.    They don’t have to know everything there is to know about you.

In order to keep your parallel careers in order, it is important to be clear about how you use your social media.  Use LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ with different audiences in mind.  Use different Twitter handles to tweet about the different issues you care about with careful thought about the audience you want to attract.  As you attend business networking events, plan ahead to determine what you want to achieve at that event.  It is not always to your advantage to tell everyone about everything you are doing all at once.  Yes, I have been known to overwhelm innocent bystanders right after saying “hello”!  Tell me about your parallel career at Latina Cubicle Confidential™ or join me live at the next LatinaVIDA

 

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MariaHernandez

MariaHernandez

Dr. Maria G. Hernandez has 20 years experience consulting in both the United States and Mexico to senior executives in Fortune 50 companies and facilitated change initiatives for elected officials and their staff. She has worked in academia, business, nonprofits, technology startups, and public agencies. Visit the Latina Cubicle Confidential™ Facebook (link below) or join Dr. Hernandez live at the next LatinaVIDA™-Visibility, Identity, Direction, Action.

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Comments

  1. I am in love with the concept of a Parallel Career. Such a beautiful way to put it. I definitely segment my social media with Linked In for my HR Role and my Blog for my writing and life coaching.

    Thanks for sharing this…always feels better to know I am not alone and other sisters are “shuffling” right along with me!

  2. Maria, I love this piece so much and will share it. A Latina doing the shuffle once told me she carries two laptops everywhere she goes (!!); on a business trip, she’ll work for her employer during the day, go eat dinner, and go back to the hotel to work on her business for another 3 or 4 hours. “I have to do this; I get more done when I’m traveling then when I’m home with my kids,” she said. “Te complicas mucho tu propia vida,” my mom used to say to me during the years when I was doing the shuffle!

  3. Nicole Bueno says:

    Love that what I’ve been doing for several years has a name and that I’m not just crazy for taking on so much! Thank you for sharing.

  4. Nancy (Ortiz) Ramirez says:

    I want to know more about how to start a business. I work during the day and my kids are now adults and have wanted to open up a baking business for the last 10 years or so. I love to bake and cook. I watch all the cooking channels and want to do this.

    • Hi Nancy–Thanks for posting your message. I’m thrilled you are thinking of starting a business! Let me encourage you to join the Facebook community of New Latinas who are also starting new businesses or managing ones like yours. You can find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/LatinaLeadershipNetwork/ This is one of the most active groups of Latina entrepreneurs, professionals, and small business owners you will find. We are 3,000 strong and growing. Just introduce yourself and let others know you’d like to talk with anyone who is in the culinary arts or owns a restaurant and I bet you’ll get lots of good connections to start asking about a baking business. Be sure to tell everyone where you are located so that people can connect you with local resources too. Let me know you got this by writing me at mgh@mariaghernandez.com. Adelante Mujer! Maria

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