Zhou Huiquan starts work at the Chinese University of Hong Kong at 7:30 am. At the end of her work day, she spends three hours dancing ballet. Then, by the time most people would be crawling to bed, Zhou begins illustrating comics and working on her latest novel. She is rarely in bed before 1 am.
Zhou's schedule may seem exhausting to most people, who work from 9 am to 5 pm. But it reflects the lifestyles of an increasing number of young Chinese, who are choosing multiple careers not only to make ends meet but also because one job does not adequately express their interests.
People like Zhou who have created a “portfolio career”－in her case, “assistant professor/writer/illustrator/ballet dancer”－are also referred to as “slashers”, a term devised by U.S. writer Marci Alboher in her book One Person/Multiple Careers in 2007.
It has gradually become an identity marker among Western millennials.
The idea of having “slash careers” is now catching on in China. A 2015 survey of 6,000 office workers, conducted by Chinese recruiting website 51job.com, showed that 40 percent of respondents had more than one job at the same time.