I was very late to the party when I started listening to the CTRL, ALT, DELETE podcast by Emma Gannon. I then started following her on Instagram in the run up to the launch of The Multi-Hyphen Method. My interest was well and truly piqued.
The book couldn’t have arrived at a better time for me. It perfectly articulates what I was struggling to piece together in my own working life.
Emma examines how most of our working lives are spent chasing someone else’s version of success. A career ladder. A job for life in a massive corporation. The big house, expensive cars, lavish holidays and unapologetic consumerism. A predictable formula where we all die in the end.
How many people get to the perceived top and don’t achieve the professional sense of nirvana they’d been promised all their lives?
She asks you to really think about what your own version of success is; whether it be flexible working, more recognition, pushing boundaries or social engagement and build upon that. In your own way.
Her assessment of work culture is spot-on. The concept of the 9-to-5 job could not seem more archaic nowadays. Personally, I totally resented it. It felt like such a waste of everyone’s time to be done, exhausted and mentally checked out by 3.30-4pm everyday and yet having to stay at my desk for at least another hour trying to look busy.
The Multi-Hyphenate lifestyle she describes is not about being lazy and work-shy though, far from it.
It’s about letting go of the old and embracing the new. Using technology to enable to live a more fulfilled life. Not being defined by your job and it’s associated title. Letting hobbies and joyful moments help you flourish in your work. Having space to breathe.
Emma explains the lifestyle in an anthropological context, providing plenty of supporting evidence and case studies. In chapter 7 she details the Multi-Hyphen toolkit which is a concise breakdown of what you need to do and how to do it. It’s simple enough, some might say basic common sense, but if you’ve been lacking on direction or knowledge then it will help get you on the right path.
It’s not all empowerment-speak and motivational quotes though, Emma discusses failure and fear as standard states for all to experience. Though this book is for everyone, she covers feminism and the confidence gap affecting women and work. She rightly points out that nearly all the roadblocks that we face are entirely about a lack of confidence. Just knowing this gave me a boost, because I knew every excuse I’d made myself about not doing this sooner were all because I was frightened of completely imagined scenarios.
Chapter 10 covers our personal relationship with money (or lack thereof) which is an absolutely essential part of work and life. The book would be incomplete if money was not mentioned and she offers practical advice without being at all preachy.
Just like in the rest of the book, Emma encourages you to make your own assessments and gives you the determination to actually do it.
The Multi-Hyphen Method is an uncomplicated read and I found my myself nodding in agreement at pretty much all of it while managing to learn a thing or two as well. Did you know Sir Ian McKellen’s great-great Grandfather helped invent the 2 day weekend?
From a personal perspective, it helped to galvanise the plans already forming in my head. There’s little more comforting in learning you aren’t ‘the only one’, you are a part of the change that is heading it’s way to becoming the ‘normal’.
I absolutely recommend this book if you’re even a little dissatisfied with workplace status-quo. Or if, like me, you’ve got an idea but think perhaps you’re trying to spread yourself to thinly by simply being able to do than one thing.