Multitasking is a myth: It means doing lots of things equally badly

Some people just like to take the p*ss

Something for the Weekend, Sir? Excuse me while I have another slash. Aaaaaah, that's better.

I am a slasher.

Not a Michael Myers type of slasher, though, oh no. I do not creep around remote houses at night, offing obnoxious teens, getting repeatedly killed and yet popping up again on a regular basis to cause Jamie Lee Curtis anxiety at various points through her life.

How he managed all that while doing the faux-Scottish accent, I'll never know. Yeah, baby, slashadelic.

Nor am I a slasher of the Ozzie-at-the-Alamo genre, although I came pretty close to it once on a family day out in Windsor after an extremely long drive to get there. These days it wouldn't matter, mind: our prime minister recently pissed all over the Queen without getting carted off to the Tower. Royal palaces are now probably open house for incontinents.

My kind of slasher is the one who has more than one job title, as in entrepreneur / inspirational life coach / baked bean wrestler. Yes, like the bollocks you see in Twitter and LinkedIn profiles. That's me, that is.

While the term may well have been in common use among life coaches for years, it is quite new to me and I'm still getting used to it. I didn't even know you were supposed to pronounce the slash. That is, you're supposed to tell people you are a pharmacologist SLASH taxidermist SLASH cocktail mixer SLASH on bail.

This is despite me having been an unknowing slasher for the last 25 years. It's always the quiet ones, isn't it?

In a perfect demonstration of the old adage that an idiot is a person who doesn't learn from their mistakes, I became a slasher in 1994 upon returning from my first attempt to build a life in France. With no vacancies at my old employer, I tried my hand at what we used to call "freelance" and these days is called "zero hours contract". It means no weekends, no holiday, no pension and you're paid three months late. Living the dream!

Freelancers rarely survive on one skill. Not because there's not enough work available but because the people who hire freelancers insist on spreading out the work amongst lots of them. Apparently this keeps freelancers on their toes.

Personally, I enjoyed some fine years at MacUser magazine until Felix Dennis observed that my byline appeared on every page and told the editor to stop it. I tried writing under a variety of pseudonyms, which worked perfectly right up to the day I mixed them up, signed a heap of stories with the wrong names, sent them to the wrong magazines and got shouty emails from all the editors.

That's the ultimate difference between being a wage slave and a freelancer: the former has to put up with the megalomaniac infantile whining of their incompetent boss, whereas a freelancer has to put up with 12 of them.

A wage slave gets time off in lieu. A freelancer fits swing shifts between the daytime work.

You always have to keep a Plan B ready in case you need to fill gaps in your schedule. From the start of my freelancing career, I was a sub-editor SLASH writer. This evolved into journalist SLASH author SLASH print production. Then journalist SLASH trainer SLASH digital publishing. Plans C, D and E have proved most valuable.

It's a pain in the arse. You have to get multiple business cards printed. You have to keep multiple career histories and CVs updated – something that LinkedIn, which itself accelerated the fad for wankers inventing dipshit slasher job titles, cannot handle at all.

When my Dad passed away, my biggest regret wasn't that I couldn't prove myself worthy of him or any such emotional claptrap. It was that I was never able to explain to him how I made a living. When I'd take the family top north to visit, he would always at some point put on a slightly pained expression and ask: "What is it that you actually DO, again?"

Telling him that sometimes I wrote articles about computer stuff and sometimes got hired by newspapers to work on editorial production systems projects and sometimes did magic shows for kids' parties never struck him as a real job for some reason. By the end, his addled mind confused the lot and spent his final years telling the care home nurses that I was the editor of the Daily Mail.

The irony is that my Dad was himself a slasher: clinical psychologist SLASH senior lecturer, paid 50 per cent by the NHS and 50 per cent by the University of Leeds. Maybe he simply couldn't reconcile the metadata scripts and software training with the card tricks, who knows?

If I'd known about slashing at the time I could have just told him: I'm a slasher like you! We're both slashers! Let's bond and go have a slash together!

Now I have begun referring to myself as a slasher, I thought I should probably check that my potential hirers in the fantasy world of secure employment – the great unslashed, as it were – correctly understand what the word means. So I went a-Duck-Duck-Going and found this definition:

Slasher: Someone who works in multitask mode

Oh no, I don't like that. Multitasking is a myth. Multitasking means simultaneously doing lots of things equally badly. A Jack of all failures? No thanks. Let's see if there's an alternative description…

Slashers come from all walks of life, and are also referred to as "hustlers"/ "work-a-holics". They are prone to work endlessly in pursuit of accomplishing their goals because of their thirst and hunger for success &/or personal fulfilment.

Almost right: the thirst and hunger come from not being paid on time. This can leave a slasher feeling poor SLASH homeless.

Righto, my new career as a proud, self-confessed slasher is officially launched, here and now. I have set up a Todoist reminder for me to change my social media profiles and email sigs on a weekly basis to keep my slashing current.

This is important as I can't just slash anywhere I like, not even in Windsor. If I'm going to slash, I have to direct my slashing where it's needed most. I certainly don't want to just slash into the wind.

Also, I want to get in quick with my slash credentials before Microsoft barges in and insists that we call ourselves forward-leaning slashers ®.

Sorry, must go: I have another swing shift to slash.

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Alistair Dabbs
Alistair / Dabbs is a freelance technology tart, juggling tech journalism SLASH training SLASH digital publishing. He is currently retraining in motion graphics SLASH video journalism SLASH amazing stunts with a grapefruit. He'll never improve his French that way but tant pis SLASH merde. @alidabbs

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