Some people may expect a one-word answer when they ask what you do for a living. It's not uncommon, after all. Many people wear just one hat, such as Accountants, Journalists, Lawyers, or Teachers.
Answering these simple questions can be challenging for people with multiple careers who usually say more than two words.
If you're in one of the traditional professions or have worked for several years for the same company or within the same field, your career may lead to a neat trajectory, with one job building logically to the next.
Many people worldwide have worked in several fields with multiple side hassles and still managed to live a normal life.
For instance, my job as a freelance journalist takes me around the world. Still, I need to find some consistency, especially when we talk about having your own home, favorite coffee shops, and favorite restaurants to meet your regular friends.
We're also encouraged to market ourselves all the time with short, simple stories. Think of "objective" on a resume or the "elevator pitch" to investors. But linking together a career narrative from different parts and pieces can be particularly challenging.
El Mehdi El Khachia, 39, describes himself as a "Multi-task person." He is a husband and a father of two girls living in Casablanca, Morocco.
Professionally, Mehdi is the team lead for learning and development with Capgemini in Morocco and a leadership and soft skills trainer and facilitator with the group Capgemini.
A part-time speaker and mentor at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane and is currently in the third year of his Ph.D. at Sidi Mohammed Ibnou Abdellah University in Fes.
On weekends, Mehdi works on his Ph.D., focusing on the impact of “Emotional Intelligence performance of virtual teams” for about 7 hours both mornings and evenings.
When I asked him about his strategy or secrets of having the energy to do all of this at the same time, he answered:
“I drink a lot of coffee daily and lost count of it.”
“I don't think it's the caffeine. I think it's more happening inside your brain's mental level. When you feel that energy level, your body also has to support you to express that energy, so you have to take care of your body and experience that high energy level every day. Practicing sports helps.” he added.
I was able to visit Mehdi inside his Capgemini office in Casablanca. I see how he is passionate about what he does and comfortable he is. If he could say it aloud, he would tell me, “Welcome Home!”
Mehdi had a background in Engineering and had worked in Project Management for over 15 years.
He has been working for Capgemini since 2013. He works five days a week for 8 hours.
One of the ongoing projects he is passionate about with Capgemini is the Emotional Intelligence training program that aims to enable people to discover the power of emotions and how they can deliver increased productivity, enhance job satisfaction, and lower attrition.
Mehdi’s ambition is to take this training to a high level. He plans to travel to southern European countries with his team and further develop the international Capgemini community of emotional intelligence trainers.
Mehdi’s other passion and activity (yes, he prefers to use the word activity instead of job) is mentoring students.
He is mentoring management of information systems and fundamentals of management students, as well as capstone teams of the Al Akhawayn University business school in Ifrane.
He interacts with students without PowerPoint slides. He wants students to feel connected and engaged not just to him and their seatmates but to reality.
Mehdi’s goal is to change the way of teaching — to provide knowledge, connection, and comparisons between being a student and working in the industry outside of the university.
He introduces students to the future, the future being inside the industry. They interact more when they know what could happen, and he trusts that this brings added value to the students.
Teaching full-time is optional for Mehdi because he believes that It's important to keep a balance between academics and the industry environment.
And on weekends, he works on his Ph.D., focusing on the impact of “Emotional Intelligence performance of virtual teams” for about 7 hours both mornings and evenings.
It’s incredible how people like Mehdi manage to do all of this when it comes to their careers professionally. Sometimes I wonder if I can do it or not. Perhaps, I’ll start referring to my jobs as “My Activities.”
Now you’re wondering if Mehdi is single or just attached to his three activities. Fortunately, he has more energy, especially in his personal life.
Mehdi has happily married his wife, Fatima Azzahra, for 11 years. They have two beautiful daughters, Kenza and Zineb.
When I asked Mehdi about his relationship with his family, especially when spending time with them despite having a busy schedule, he said, “Surprisingly, I am very involved with my family and especially with my daughters since the day they were born.”
Mehdi's personal view and experience of marriage are about flexibility as a couple and his agreement with his wife. They both support and understand each other's professional endeavors, and more importantly, they don't count responsibilities
He exclaimed that it’s not about how much time you spend with them; it’s more about the quality of being with them—the quality of time, not the quantity.
For example, watching TV on weekends with his daughter is not fun at all. Spending only half a day with your family going out for lunch, sports, and driving around and chatting with them is good enough as long as you make them feel the quality of being there, focused, and showing your love and support to them.
Taking his daughters to their sports club sessions is one of his favorite activities. Seeing them developing their skills and having more confidence is one of his winning moments.
He is not the type of husband and father who arrive home lies on the couch, and turns on the TV. He enjoys being responsible at home; he loves cooking, for example, making his family know he is around, and being hands-on.
As a parent, he believes that children these days need more guidance and support from the people around them, especially from their parents.
Having multiple jobs can lead to earning more money, but for Mehdi, "it is never about the money."
“When you call it a job, it’s more like a legal duty that you have to fulfill by the end of the day - office hours being punctual, deliverables, all this jargon. Activity is a combination of passion and responsibility.”
“Having these three activities (job) it's about being in touch with people, and I don't mind having the fourth activity as long as it comes with interaction with people, talking, and handling relationships - I would go for it.”
Mehdi’s inspiration is American author Jim Collins who wrote about leadership —- Good to Great.
Daniel Goleman, the author of Emotional Intelligence, transformed his life and helped him develop his training program with Capgemini. And he loves the story of actor Denzel Washington because of his wisdom, sincerity, and honest personality.
Continuous learning, growth, personal development, helping others and teaching them to grow, and sharing growth and success are Mehdi’s motivations.
“Only one thing never exhausts our mind: learning.” - El Mehdi El Khachia.
So, what about you? What do you do for a living?
How many activities can you keep and handle simultaneously in a week?
What’s your story?