Have you ever struggled to figure out what you want to be when you grow up? Or maybe you're already grown up and you still balance multiple interests and don't feel like you can just fit into one box. Today's guest, Emilie Wapnick, has created a whole set of resources just for people like that – people like you and like me – and I actually have a hunch that there are a lot of us among tiny house dwellers. The word that Emilie uses is “multipotentialite” and in this conversation we're going to talk about what a multipotentialite is and what our kind of unique needs are when it comes to finding work and feeling fulfilled in our pursuits, whether it's work, creativity or more. It's a really interesting conversation and I think you'll learn some things about yourself and about how you can apply some tips and techniques to planning and building a tiny house.
In This Episode:
- How do you know if you're a multipod?
- Advice for taking on a large project, like a tiny house
- Do you ever stop being a multipotentialite?
- Why Emilie chose to live tiny and what she learned from it
- How to prioritize your projects and protect your time (and wallet)
- Work models that help multipods earn an income
Links and Resources:
- You Were Born for This by Channing Nicholas
- The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer
- Emilie's Blog
- Emilie's Ted Talk
Emilie Wapnick is an award-winning author and community builder. She is the founder and creative director at [Puttylike.com](http://puttylike.com/) and [ThePuttyverse.com](http://theputtyverse.com/) , where she helps multipotentialites (people with many passions and creative pursuits) integrate all of their interests to create dynamic, fulfilling and fruitful careers and lives. Unable to settle on one path herself, Wapnick studied music, film production and law, graduating from the Law Faculty at McGill University.
Wapnick’s book, [How to Be Everything: A Guide for Those Who (Still) Don’t Know What They Want to Be When They Grow Up](https://geni.us/wLfn) , was published by HarperCollins in 2017. It has been translated into 13 languages and won a Nautilus Book Award.
This Week's Sponsor:
PrecisionTemp is making one product to solve two issues that I know everyone deals with in a tiny house: running out of hot water and heating your tiny house. PrecisionTemp has made the amazing TwinTemp Junior propane tankless water heater, which provides unlimited hot water for your tiny house and hydronic heating. This means you get warm heated floors, so there are no cold spots. It's designed specifically for tiny houses and features whisper-quiet operation as well as high efficiency. If you want more information on how PrecisionTemp can help make living tiny easier and more comfortable visit precisiontemp.com. While you're there, use the coupon code THLP for $100 off the TwinTemp Junior plus free shipping.
Emily and her dog, Grendel, lived in her trailer for 5 months
She chose a lightweight trailer that she could tow with her sedan
Emilie Wapnick 0:00
Usually that's like family members that are concerned and then once you show them that like, it's okay, like it's working, you're happy, you've got this like, awesome dynamic career, you're paying the bills like usually they back off. Do you, right?
Ethan Waldman 0:16
Welcome to the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast, the show where you learn how to plan, build and live the tiny lifestyle. I'm your host, Ethan Waldman, and this is episode 173 with Emilie Wapnick. Have you ever struggled to figure out what you want to be when you grow up? Or maybe you're already grown up and you still balance multiple interests and don't feel like you can just fit into one box or one thing? Well, today's guest Emilie Wapnick has created a whole set of resources just for people like that. People like you and like me, and I actually have a hunch that there are a lot of us among tiny house dwellers. The word that Emily uses is multipotentialite. And in this conversation, we're going to talk about what a multipotentialite is, and what our kind of unique needs are when it comes to finding work and feeling fulfilled in our pursuits whether it's work, creativity or more. It's a really interesting conversation. And I think you'll you'll learn some things about yourself and about how you can apply some tips and techniques to planning and building a tiny house. I hope you stick around.
I'd like to tell you about the sponsor of today's episode, PrecisionTemp. PrecisionTemp is making one product to solve two issues that I know everyone deals with in a tiny house, running out of hot water and heating your tiny house. PrecisionTemp has made the amazing TwinTemp Junior propane tankless water heater, which provides unlimited hot water for your tiny house and hydronic heating. This means you get warm heated floors, so there are no cold spots. It's designed specifically for tiny houses and features whisper quiet operation as well as high efficiency. If you want more information on how PrecisionTemp can help make living tiny easier, and more comfortable. Visit precisiontemp.com. While you're there, use the coupon code THLP for $100 off the TwinTemp Junior plus free shipping. That website again is precisiontemp.com coupon code THLP for $100 off the TwinTemp Junior plus free shipping. Thank you so much to PrecisionTemp for sponsoring our show.
All right, I am here with Emilie Wapnick. Emily is an award winning author and community builder. She is the founder and creative director at puttylike.com and the puttyverse.com where she helps multipotentialite, people with many passions and creative pursuits, integrate all of their interests to create dynamic, fulfilling and fruitful careers and lives. Unable to settle on one path herself, Wapnick studied music, film production, and law, graduating from the law faculty at McGill University. Wapnick's book "Out of the Everything A Guide for Those Who Still Don't Know What They Want to Be when They Grow Up" was published by HarperCollins in 2017. It has been translated into 13 languages and won a Nautilus Book Award. Emilie Wapnick, welcome to the show.
Emilie Wapnick 3:36
Thanks for having me.
Ethan Waldman 3:37
You're welcome. Thanks for being here. I basically asked you to come on the show because I I have a theory. And that theory is that I think that tiny house dwellers and multipotentialite that this is a Venn diagram that has a lot of kind of meet in the middle there. There's some overlap. But and I want to like I want to talk through it with you and kind of suss this out. But I think we'll have to start because I doubt that many people listening have even heard the word multipotentialite. So can we start there? Like what is multipotentiality?
Emilie Wapnick 4:16
Yeah. Okay, so a multipotentialite is someone with many interests and creative pursuits. That's kind of my concise definition. It's someone who is curious about a lot of different subjects and has maybe done a lot of different things and doesn't want to just be one thing or maybe doesn't feel like they have one true calling. Or, you know, you become interested in something, you do it for a while and then like the world decides, "This is what you are," and you're like, "Wait a second. But like actually, I'm interested in that other thing too. And I'd like to do that as well and then have these other side projects." And you're not easily pigeon holed, not easily put into a box because you're curious and you don't really have a specialty. So that's a multipotentialite. And I think many of us grow up feeling like there's something wrong with us for having a lot of different passions. And I my whole mission is to, like, reframe that and be like, No, actually, it's a strength. There are lots of people out there like us, and we can build like amazing, eclectic, interesting, fruitful lives."
Ethan Waldman 5:27
Awesome. I like that. I like your rambling definition, too. How? How would somebody know if there are multipotentialite? Like, is there? Is there a checklist? Is there a quiz? Run us down.
Emilie Wapnick 5:41
Yeah, I mean, there is a quiz on my website, you can go to puttylike.com and take a quiz. I think most people, when they hear the definition, they're like, either, like, "Yes, that's me. 100%." Or they're like, "I have no idea what you're talking about." But you know, a multipotentialite, or a multipod for short. some clues, you know, maybe there's some silly things you can do like you can look at your bedside table, and like, do you have more than a few books on many different topics, then you might be a multipod. Do you have like, a bunch of different web browser tabs open that are like on all kinds of random things, then you might be able to put, but also just looking at your life and your path, it's usually pretty clear if you've shifted from one field of study, whether it's formal, or like just learning on your own, or just your own interest to something else that's totally, totally different. And whether that's a pattern you see in yourself, and also whether you have trouble just kind of resigning yourself to the idea of like one version of you. And you kind of want to break out of that all the time. Yeah, totally.
Ethan Waldman 6:56
Now, so I'll, I'm gonna come out of the closet for everyone listening, I am definitely a multipod. And Emily and I have known each other for, I think, more than 10 years at this point. But you essentially, maybe you could tell us about like about what you do, like, what is what is your website, puttylike.com? And what is the Puttyverse?
Emilie Wapnick 7:19
Yeah, so I started it, like, over 10 years ago. And it started out just as a blog, where I was like, "I can't be the only person like this." And also, like, I'm sick of being anxious about this trait in myself, and I want to find a way to make it work, I want to find other multipotentialite aides who have really interesting careers and learn from them and share what I'm learning. And kind of go from there. And, and it started out as as a blog, and it sort of evolved into a community. And now it's a multi author blog, we've got four or five writers every month. And we publish articles on everything that multipotentialites struggle with. And think about really, so a lot of work and career, how to do many things in a sustainable way, how to structure your career, and then a lot around creativity and productivity, prioritizing, you know, your different projects and interest. And some stuff around like fear and self doubt, and introducing yourself when you do many things, dealing with family members who don't get it or don't understand, like a shift that you're making in your life changing directions. All those sorts of things we talked about on the website.
We also have a community called the Puttyverse, which is there's about 600 multipotentialites in there right now. And we brainstorm our projects, people get advice. There's like accountability buddies, we match people up for accountability, we have focus parties and co working and lots of events. And you know that it's, it's a community of multipotentialites. So there's a lot going on in there. And even they've even formed their own little subgroups within the community. So there's like multipods who are into writing and multipods who are interested in mental health and like just all kinds of there's just like a lot going on in there. Of course, as you can imagine, it's a real co created community, I would say, and like a really encouraging space, because like so many of us grew up feeling like we're the only ones out there. Only people out there like this and just getting a lot of crap from the world about having many passions, so it's nice to have a safer space for people to come together.
Ethan Waldman 9:49
Yeah, I mean, I think that the decision to build a tiny house, if you've never built anything before is is a total multipod kind of move. And then even with within building a tiny house, there are so many different skills and things that you have to learn if you're truly going to DIY it, you know, you've got the construction, and then electrical and plumbing and heating. And just it's it's a massive undertaking.
You said a couple of things that really kind of piqued my interest that I was like, "Oh, we could just replace the word multipod with tiny house," but I'd love to get your advice on, you know, first of all, like when you are taking on a new project that is totally new to you, like so for me, it may be building my tiny house for someone else, they might decide that they want to write a rock opera. Even though you're a multipod, I'm sure it can still be really overwhelming and hard to learn what you need to learn. So you have any tips or strategies for formula for multipods taking on a new big project?
Emilie Wapnick 10:57
Yeah, I mean, the first thing is just getting comfortable with the fact that you might not be very good at first. I think that's the main thing. Like as adults, we, we don't like looking stupid. We don't like doing things we're not good at. And so the first step is just kind of being like, Okay, I'm gonna, like, I might suck at this at first. But there's no way to get better. And, and to just like, take the skill piece. I mean, you know, if you're building a house, you probably want some skill, but like at first, like, don't worry too much about that, and just follow your enthusiasm and learn as you go. And then of course, getting the right guides and the right accountability and the right experts in your life. And yeah, I don't I don't know, if I have anything. beyond that. That's great.
Ethan Waldman 11:48
I think I think that's a really important thing, is it because most adults aren't used to being new at something.
Emilie Wapnick 11:58
Ethan Waldman 11:59
Or not being good at something, I think we our natural tendency is to, like, grow older and just kind of not want to learn new things, because it's, it's threatening to be a beginner.
Emilie Wapnick 12:11
It can also be really helpful to get around other people who are doing different things and new things and trying stuff, whether or not it's the same thing that you're working on. And to just get around other people who, like, aren't gonna judge you, and will be encouraging. That can be and also, you know, if you want some accountability, that can be really helpful, too. Yeah.
Ethan Waldman 12:38
And and I'm going to throw in a shameless plug for my online community, Tiny House Engage. So for those tiny house people who are looking for that accountability and support and being around other people who are into it, I've got I've got the community for you.
What about you mentioned like dealing with family members? Because I think that that's a, there's a parallel there to the tiny house world in that, like, "Why can't you be normal like everyone else? And just have one career? Why can't you be normal like everyone else? And like, buy a normal house?"
Emilie Wapnick 13:13
Right. Yeah. I mean, so with the multipotentialite thing, I've, I've interviewed a lot of people about this. And when a family member isn't 100% about a particular direction, or just the fact that you keep changing directions or whatever, or that you're doing many things, from the people I've spoken to, like, once they figure it out. And their family, like sees that they're okay. Usually they drop it, and sometimes they even get enthusiastic. And they're, like, proud of you. But they're just usually they're worried. They're just worried like, oh, if this person doesn't specialize, are they going to be successful? Are they going to be able to pay the bills, if they're doing many different things, splitting up their focus, there's a lot of like, you know, jack, jack of all trades, master of none sort of things in the culture that people hear and assume to be true. And there aren't, we don't really think of like multipotentialite role models, there are many out there but like, it's not like something people think about. So usually, it's like, parents are concerned family member the members, they're concerned and then once you show them that, like it's okay, like it's working, you're happy. You've got this like, awesome dynamic career. You're paying the bills like usually they back off. Yeah, and if they don't, like you got to live your life and like be Do you right, like, Yeah, I don't know if there's a parallel there to the tiny house thing.
Ethan Waldman 14:50
Well, I I see it I mean, I think that that is also sometimes what happens with with tiny houses Now. Now. It's like the concept Have a tiny house is much more widely understood. So it's less. It's less weird. Yeah. But I think that, you know, for me early on, once people, you know, when you say I want to build a tiny little house, people might question that, but then like, once they see it, or once they kind of see it taking shape, they understand that it's or they they see that it's fine. And that you're going to be okay. Yeah, yeah. One thing that like, that I've noticed in the in the tiny house world, is that a big driver of why people want to live tiny is that they ultimately don't want to have to work as much. Because they don't, as their work doesn't necessarily define who they are as people. And is, is there a parallel there? Is that like, a multipod kind of thing?
Emilie Wapnick 15:59
Yeah, um, I think it depends. Yeah, I. So I've interviewed like, dozens and dozens of multipods. And I've also, you know, I've been working with, like us for a decade. So I've spoken to a lot of people, and everyone structures their career a little bit differently. Like, I have found some patterns, and I can talk about that. But the main thing is that people find a way to get the money, meaning and variety they need into their lives. And sometimes people find one job that has all those factors in it. Other times people pair together, multiple revenue streams, a couple part time jobs or businesses, they run their own, they have one business they run. Other times someone will have sort of like a, quote, good enough job. And then they'll explore all their passions on the side, people find different ways of doing this. But you know, some people, it's, it's really important to them that what they do for money reflects like the entirety of who they are. And for other people, that's not as important and they would rather just have a job that's enjoyable, but that like, also leaves them with free time to explore all their passions without having to monetize everything. So it really depends. And I just see it as like, whatever structures you have, as long as you've got the, the finance the money, you need to, you know, meet your financial goals, the variety you need to fulfill your multipotentiality. And then like a sense of meaning that you're doing something important, whether that's in your paid work or outside of it like that. That's all that matters is that overall, you've got those those factors.
Ethan Waldman 17:53
Nice. Yeah, I that resonates with me, certainly. And I don't know if it's because I'm steeped in this myself. Or if I'm like, yeah, there are real parallels to tiny house living and tiny houses here. Do people like you people ever stop identifying as multipotentialite?
Emilie Wapnick 18:14
I mean, probably, I don't know.
Yeah, I mean, I've definitely there are people who are very involved in our community and then don't feel like they need the support as much, right? Or they find something like one thing and they're like, actually, I'm just gonna focus on that, but yeah, it's fine.
Ethan Waldman 18:37
I guess I feel like, like, I'm kind of envisioning, like, okay, so somebody who is a multipod who was like, had a bunch of different hustles and was like cobbling together their income gets like one job that's like, kind of like a specialist job. Right, but they're still like, I'm kind of like, okay, I don't live in my tiny house anymore, but I certainly identify as a tiny house dweller still like I've brought the lessons of that forward into what I'm currently doing. Yeah,
Emilie Wapnick 19:07
I mean, I think that multipotentialite ality is about curiosity. And so even if you're like, doing one thing right now and who's to say that you'll be doing that thing forever like some multiples move through their interests sequentially? One one after the next after the next instead of like, all at once. If you are someone who's curious about multiple unrelated subjects, whatever your career looks like then then you're a multipod. Yeah, and you can choose to identify as a multipotentialite or not that I don't really care. I you know, I there are other words for this there's also like, polymath or scanner or Renaissance person, multi passionate, like, I don't care what you how you identify, but if multipotentialite, if this concept and this term is helpful, then use it.
Ethan Waldman 19:58
Emilie Wapnick 19:58
I find That it's helpful for people because before they have a word for it, they're just kind of like, "I'm weird. I'm, I'm different. And I don't know what that means." And, you know, and if you give it like, an empowering identity, then that can be really praying for people. And it can kind of be like, okay, I can, I can try something new because I'm a multipotentialite. I'm not like, betraying my identity as a musician by like, shifting to journalism. You know, I'm a multipotentialite, like that shift makes total sense.
Ethan Waldman 20:36
Emilie Wapnick 20:37
It's just kind of freeing.
Ethan Waldman 20:39
Emilie Wapnick 20:40
But, you know, if the label doesn't work for you, then don't use it.
Ethan Waldman 20:43
All right. I need to dog parent for a second. Parsnip is chewing something he's not supposed to.
Emilie Wapnick 20:49
Oh, no. Okay.
Ethan Waldman 20:51
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What a puppy.
Emilie Wapnick 22:26
Ethan Waldman 22:27
Yeah, he just grabbed this. Like, I have this silicone mat that you can like put kibble on or peanut butter. And like so he like grabbed it off the top of his crate was just chewing it.
Emilie Wapnick 22:39
It probably tastes good.
Ethan Waldman 22:40
Yeah, I'm sure it tastes great.
So you actually, and when I was, you know, coming up with questions that I wanted to ask you, I like remembered that you actually lived tiny for a period of time. Yeah. So can you tell us about you know, why, you know, why did you decide to live tiny? And how did that manifest for you in terms of like, what was your tiny house?
Emilie Wapnick 23:07
Yeah. So about, let's see, maybe six or seven years ago now. I bought a little little fiberglass trailer, the bowler trailer. And it's super cute. Not the most like solid thing ever. But yeah, I lived in this little trailer that I could tow with my like, sedan. And I drove around the Pacific Northwest a little bit and saving various campgrounds and places and, and, you know, as long as there was a Wi Fi connection, I could do my work. And it was awesome. I mean, it was a bit of a it was definitely a steep learning curve for me.
Ethan Waldman 23:50
Emilie Wapnick 23:51
Really, like I didn't have a background in camping or anything like that. It was brand new. And I learned a lot about you know, plugging leaks and how to like attach how to like tow a thing and like, attach attach that like it was it was all like brand new for me. But it was really fun. I did it for about I lived in there for about five months. So not that long. Yeah, I'm not sure what it would appeal to me about I think it was getting to see the area I was pretty new to the Pacific Northwest. And also, my partner, wife, then girlfriend, was off at grad school. And I had this time, you know, we're doing the long distance thing and I thought like, "I know, she's not gonna be into it. So like why don't I just try this for a while?" Yeah. Yeah, and it was me and my my dog now. Now I've got two but it was just me and Grendel at the time. Nice. Emily and Grendel.
Ethan Waldman 24:53
What was your What was your trailers name?
Emilie Wapnick 24:56
I think I just called it Bowlie. It was a bowler.
Ethan Waldman 25:00
I like it. I like it. But aside from the like, practical things like you've learned how to tow a trailer and you like learn how to plug a leak. Did you take any? Like, are there any things that you learned? Like more philosophically or more, you know, more meta that you learned that you feel like you've you've carried forward from that experience?
Emilie Wapnick 25:25
Yeah, I mean, now I live on a remote island. And I feel like I got a little bit of a taste of that living in, in my little trailer at different campgrounds and stuff. And I really enjoyed just how my nervous system felt being in nature a lot more. So. Yeah, a few years ago, Valerie and I moved to this little remote island, and it's really working for me. I just I don't know if it's like working online. But just the contrast with I mean, I'm sure you get it. You spend a lot of time in nature and doing sporting things outside. Yes. But yeah, so that was that was sort of like my first taste of that. And I love it.
Ethan Waldman 26:12
Nice. Nice. So that's your tiny house dweller. I mean, like, that's totally a thing that that tiny house to our say that they even if that's not why they move tiny. It's like, I go outside so much more. And I live so much closer to nature and just feeling that connection to the outside is powerful.
Emilie Wapnick 26:34
Yeah. And I mean, our house now is not huge. It's pretty small. Yeah. And so it's true, like our deck and the woods right outside and the ocean a block away. That's all like kind of a big part of my life. And I am, I guess technically in a shed right now. So my office is a tiny house, but you're in the shed right now.
Ethan Waldman 26:57
Yeah, I was wondering. Yeah. It looks awesome.
Emilie Wapnick 27:00
Yeah, there's like a little little bed back there.
Ethan Waldman 27:02
And yeah, yeah, I see. I see your bed. Most people won't be able to see it. But there's a little bunk bed behind you and nice v groove pine ceilings. It looks awesome.
Emilie Wapnick 27:13
Ethan Waldman 27:14
Did you ever put the woodstove out there?
Emilie Wapnick 27:17
No, we have an electric heater out here because I think there was like an insurance issue.
Ethan Waldman 27:25
Something tiny house dwellers deal with as well.
Emilie Wapnick 27:29
It has to do with like wet certification. And it was just weird. Just like this is I can't figure this out. So yeah, I'll put Yep. I don't love it. We've got a wood stove in the main house. And it's awesome. Yeah. And that's another similarity. Like I you know, every in the winter, like, you wake up and you make a fire. And at first I was like, wow, this is not something I've ever done before. I've never chopped wood before. But now it's just part of the routine. And there's something really nice about it. Yeah.
Ethan Waldman 28:01
I'm curious, I'm kind of going back a little ways. And in the interview, just like embarking on a project, like building a tiny house is very expensive. Particularly if you're going to build you know, a house on a trailer, you know, to buy that trailer is going is is many 1000s of dollars. And I'm curious if you, as amultipotentialite yourself, have any thoughts or tips on like, how to evaluate whether you're going to take on a project because like, just because you're interested in something doesn't, you know, we have to protect our our time, because we can get too scattered. So how do you like how should people evaluate like, I jumped in? This is gonna be a big commitment.
Emilie Wapnick 28:51
Yeah, I mean, I'm a fan of doing things on that side for a while, are trying things out. You know, if you are becoming interested in something that is expensive, or like there's a lot of expensive equipment, maybe you can rent that equipment or borrow it, or, you know, just try it out in some way. Maybe you can, like, take one class instead of like enrolling in a whole program or you know, like maybe there's just some like little ways you can try things out, do some research on the side.
Ethan Waldman 29:21
Alright, so you could rent you could rent a tiny house, you could rent a tiny house.
Emilie Wapnick 29:27
Yeah, you know, I have this concept I call called tinkering time, okay. And that's where you sort of, like, you've got your priority projects, right? Like I always encourage multipotentialites to like, create a log like a really long ideas log with everything you want to do all of your ideas, all the things you want to explore and then like pick a few and make those your priority projects right now. You can even hang them on your wall to like remind you, I've got I've got there. I don't know if you can see this but I've got you things hanging there. Yep,
Ethan Waldman 30:01
yep. Yeah. index cards tacked to the wall.
Emilie Wapnick 30:05
Yeah, well, they're, there were already holes. So I was just like, I'm just gonna put them in those specific spots, cuz they're already tack holes there, anyway. So you've got your priority projects, you've got your long list of like, other things that you could do at some point in the future. And then there's tinkering time. And tinkering time is like, you're not working on your priority project, but like, maybe you want to try something else, something that's on your long list, but you don't want it to like take over your whole day, or like, feel bad about yourself at the end of the day and working on it or like, go down some like crazy rabbit hole and like, not get anything else done. So you set a timer, for 30 minutes, 20 minutes, an hour, whatever. And then you just like, let yourself explore, and you do all the things you're not supposed to do. Like you multitask, and you just like, go down that rabbit hole. And then the timer goes off, and then you can get back to one of your priority projects. But yeah, tinkering time is a good time to like, play around with some other ideas and see if there might be something there. And then, once you you know, some time has gone by and like you know a little bit more about whatever it is and what you want, then you can think about making a bigger change. Nice.
Ethan Waldman 31:20
One thing that I know you you help multipotentialites with is, you know how to kind of create a career out of out of that out of that multipotentiality. And I think that a lot of times people who are deciding to live tiny, are either retiring from careers, or are looking to kind of change what they're doing. Could you maybe just talk about that, like how multipotentialites, figure out how to make money? Yeah, cuz I think that people, I think that my tiny house peeps are going to be interested in this too, because a lot of them are thinking about the same kind of thing, like, how am I going to make an income? Maybe I'm living in a tiny house like traveling, but I just don't, you know, now that I don't have this big mortgage, I don't have to work the full time job. But I want to do something that's more interesting to me.
Emilie Wapnick 32:16
Yeah. Okay, so this was like the big question that I wanted to answer. When I was researching my book, I did all these interviews, and I was like, "Okay, how do multipotentialites structure their careers? How do people who are kind of self described as being both happy and like creatively fulfilled, and also financially comfortable, like, and successful?" Like, how have they made it work. And like I said before, there doesn't seem to be one career path that works for everyone. But I did notice some patterns, I put together like this sort of framework of these four commonly used work models that I found.
So the first work model is what I call the group hug approach. And this is where like, several of your interests kind of come together in a group hug. So it's like, you know, I interviewed people, I interviewed one woman who she works in urban planning. And she does all kinds of different things like mapping interviews, research, like field work, and then she's in the office. And it's just like a very dynamic job and very dynamic field where she gets to, like, combine a lot of her different interests and skills in this one career. Other people will, like, start a business because often, you know, if you've run your own business, you have to wear many different hats just to just to make that happen. Sometimes people will, like, blend their interests in one business. I've got like, a whole thing on that, too. So yeah, so that's the group hug approach where you kind of like combine things, whether it's in a job, or like at, you know, a company that's maybe smaller where they want you to step outside of your job description, like do many different things maybe even need you to wear many hats, or you start your own business, but you're like combining your interest in a single Work Project.
Then we've got the slash approach. And this work model is where instead of combining your interests, you keep them separate and distinct. So this is someone who's like the programmers slash teacher slash stand up comedian, slash artists. So people who use the slash approach the you know, if they choose to have part time work as like an intentional choice, like most of the people I spoke to get something different from each of their slashes each of their different work projects, and they wouldn't want to do any one of them full time. Like the part time nature of this work model is really key when it's working for someone.
And then we've got the, I call it the Einstein Work model. And I call it this because Albert Einstein worked at the patent office, he basically was employed by the government. And he had this like very kind of slow pace nine to five job with benefits took care of his financial needs. And then he like, developed his theories on the side, like he wasn't paid for them at first, you know, right. So you could be like Einstein, and you could have a day job that like, you know, you shouldn't hate it, you should enjoy it. But it doesn't need to be your dream job. It doesn't need to be everything. The key though, is that it needs to leave you with enough free time and energy to pursue your many passions. Outside of work, you can't be like completely drained, at the end of the day, or like expected to work until like 11pm, at night, and then you have no time for your other projects. So one example, I love talking about this example, this guy, Charlie Harper, he's in it is an IT guy who works for a company nine to five, but then he leaves the office and he like goes to musical theater practice. And he sings in an acapella group, and he builds furniture. And when I interview, when I interviewed him, he had just built a boat. So with this work model, you know, it's not for everyone, but it removes the pressure from having to monetize every new thing you become interested in, you can just kind of like explore your passions freely, and not have to worry about the financial side.
And then the fourth commonly used work model is I call it the Phoenix approach. And it's sort of like the mythical Phoenix, which lives this great life. And then at the end of the, you know, it explodes into flames, and then like, is reborn from the ashes. So these are more sequential multipotentialites someone who builds a career in one particular field for a number of years, you know, 5, 10, 15 years. And then at a certain point, they're like, okay, like, "I kind of, I got what I came for, I'm ready for something new." And then they shift and they start a new career in a totally different area. Usually, they'll explore on the side a little bit before they make that shift, just to make it smoother, maybe they'll get some training or volunteer or just like, you know, make some connections before they make that shift. But this totally something people do people. And sometimes you don't notice it until you're looking back. But I'll talk to someone and they'll be like, "Yeah, I did this for 10 years. And then I shifted into this totally different thing for 10 years." And then. So that's another way that multipods get their variety. And any of those four work models can work and you can mix them and match them do one for a while switch to another one. But I find just like breaking it up into these concrete models helps people kind of have a starting place.
Ethan Waldman 37:47
Yeah. Do you think that multipotentialite experience burnout at a rate that's like, either higher or lower than then the specialists out there?
Emilie Wapnick 37:58
I don't know. I mean, I think you know, you need to have like healthy boundaries and creative processes, and that you can have those as a multipotentialite. And you can add those as a specialist. Yeah. Or you cannot. So I don't know, that multipaths burnout more. I think it's just like, yeah, we need to figure out our own kind of productivity system that works for us. But yeah, like the typical advice might not, but I think it can be done in a healthy way.
Ethan Waldman 38:29
Cool. Good to know. One thing that I like to ask one thing that I like to ask, one thing that I like to ask all of my guests is what are two or three books or resources that that are currently inspired for you I'm going to say that are currently inspiring. You usually ask them like books and resources that inspired your tiny house journey, but
Emilie Wapnick 38:56
I mean, you know this even because we're friends, but right now, I'm pretty interested in astrology and that's a totally different topic.
Ethan Waldman 39:06
Emilie Wapnick 39:07
so I've been reading, you know, Channing Nicholas's book is amazing. Even if you're not into astrology, I feel like that'll get you into it. And it's just a delightful read. I and then also, like, reading a lot of parenting books right now, because we're going on that journey to nice, but yeah, another book I would recommend that has been really inspiring for me is Amanda Palmer's book, The Art of Asking. Have you read that?
Ethan Waldman 39:33
Yes. I listened to that one.
Emilie Wapnick 39:35
Oh, nice. Yeah. And she plays music throughout the audio book version, too, doesn't she?
I should listen to the audiobook version.
Ethan Waldman 39:42
That's a good listen.
Emilie Wapnick 39:42
That's a lovely book. Really inspiring. It's kind of part self help, part memoir. Just really like if you're a creative person encourages you to ask for help and to be okay with, with people helping Yeah, and also it's just really fun. It's a great book.
Ethan Waldman 40:04
I second that. Awesome. Well, Emilie Wapnick thank you so much for for being a guest on the on the show. And for anyone listening. I would love to know if you consider yourself a multipotentialite. Because my hunch is that there are a lot of you out there listening. So, you know, send me an email email@example.com. I'd love to love to read them. And you know, after the episode ends, I'll tell you where the show notes pages and there'll be links to everything that Emilie does, and she does really great work. Emilie, thanks for being here.
Emilie Wapnick 40:42
Thank you so much for having me. It was really fun.
Ethan Waldman 40:45
Thank you so much to Emilie. Wapnick for being a guest on the show today. You can find the show notes including links to everything that Emily does, including her best selling book, her online community and her blog at the tiny house dotnet slash 173. Again, that's that tiny house dotnet slash 173 where you will also find a complete transcript of today's episode. Well, that's all for this week. I'm your host, Ethan Waldman. And I'll be back next week with another episode of the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast.
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