Meet Sam Hope. He’s a talented multi-careerist who is also a hero. We venerate those who keep us safe, and Sam is one of these individuals. He’s a firefighter who recently also started a job in the private sector. We struck up a conversation on LinkedIn, and I’m so glad that we did. You’ll find his commentary below insightful and instructional.
- Parole Officer
- Auxiliary Firefighter (Retained or part time in other areas)
- Business Continuity analyst
- Auxiliary Firefighter
On his motivations for many careers
As a parole officer, there came a point where I hated my job and my mental health deteriorated because I had attached my personal value to my contribution to public safety but did not feel that I was achieving anything. Firefighting satiates that need. When I transitioned to business continuity and risk management it allowed me to maintain that link to direct public safety outcomes whilst working in a more conceptual and intangible space.
Knifemaking on the opposite end of the spectrum, provides a creative outlet and a form of mindfulness.
Advice to aspiring multi careerists
Seek dissimilar careers. The biggest challenge with managing multiple careers is having the energy for them. My work fire fighting is adrenalin fueled, outcome oriented and highly tangible. This is compared to my contemplative, relationship driven and conceptual work in BCM and RM. These careers tax me in different ways, different energy pools if you will. So after a 10 hour day in the office, attending a road crash rescue doesn’t feel like a continuation of that work.
On overcoming obstacles
One of the biggest challenges I’ve encountered is my primary employer being concerned about my work as a firefighter impacting my ability to perform in my role. This gets easier to manage as time goes on. With my more recent employers I’ve been able to reference how I’ve successfully managed this in previous roles.
On how multiple careers are mutually beneficial
For a long while, I was trapped in a position as a parole officer that I loathed. But a degree in criminology and my narrow experience made transitioning to a new field rather difficult.
At a certain point I made the decision that I had to make a change. I started monitoring the internal recruiting that happened within the fire service that I work for and was able to leverage my experience to land a position in the Risk Management Unit. Since then, I’ve landed further work in the field in the private sector that has secured my transition into Business Continuity Management.
My work as a fire fighter has also given me a breadth of skillsets that leaves me with something to fall back on. Earlier this year my contract came to an end, and for a few months I was able to support myself whilst looking for my next corporate role, as a truck driver leveraging the the skillsets I’d developed as a fire fighter.
On balancing personal life
In all honesty, this hasn’t presented as a challenge that really required me to manage it.
On what he wished he had learned earlier
That it was possible. I actually had the opportunity to join the fire and rescue service 4 years earlier. If I had done that, I’d have been exposed to some amazing experiences and people a lot sooner.
Find out how other people are doing it. Anywhere you see a volunteer, casual/part time worker with a specialist skillset or military reservist, they’re likely balancing multiple careers. If you open your eyes, you ‘ll see your world is full of people wearing multiple hats.
On overcoming the stigma of two careers
I’m fortunate in that my secondary career is one that comes with a level of respect and admiration. It’s pretty hard for someone to disparage a fire fighter.
A Day in the Life
For me? there is no structure. I work an 8 hour office day and am simultaneously on call 24/7. I do however have flexibility on whether or not I attend each emergency. So when my paging app goes off, I consider what is on my plate for the rest of the day, and make a decision “Do I attend this call or not?”
If I leave work during the day, I make up the hours within the week.
Kabir Sehgal is a Multi Grammy & Latin Grammy Award winner, as well as New York Times bestselling author.