dear creative: embrace your professional diversity
I want to encourage you to embrace your professional diversity.
We live in a world where we hyphenate ourselves when our cultural background includes many influences. We are encouraged to embrace our cultural diversity, understanding that the mix of backgrounds makes us richer, fuller human beings. But we don’t do the same when it comes to our professional diversity.
Let me tell you a story.
I have always loved the cultural celebration of weddings. I love the blending of families and cultures that come together to create something new. I love how the couple has to decide which cultures to keep, and which ones to let go of. I love knowing that no matter what they decide, they are embracing all of the cultural influences that have conspired to bring them together.
Why are we not encouraged to embrace our professional diversity in the same way?
Let me tell you a story.
I studied creative writing in college. I also work in technology as a UX Designer. I also own a software development company where I manage teams of designers, coders, and product developers. I’ve also co-founded a startup and hosted a Twitter chat about diversity in technology.
All of these things may seem so different, but they have actually taught me to embrace my professional diversity. When I take the stage at a tech conference, I am leveraging my years as a poet and how that experience prepared me to engage with an audience. When I build software, I am thinking about it through the lens of the poet, searching for the story first.
Like cultural diversity, your professional diversity is nuanced.
It is hyphenated and it allows you to bring a different (and new) perspective to your work.
We can do the same with our professional diversity. All of the different paths you’ve taken have value. Everything you studied gives you an opportunity to create more meaning in your work. Cultural diversity is often seen as valuable because it brings together of many cultural influences to make an experience and/or person richer. It is meshing together, a gathering of the best of each to make us better, more unique, more whole.
It is 2019. Most of us will not have the same job as our parents did. We will be hyphen-creatives, bringing our work from one discipline into the other and leveraging all that we have to offer. There will be people who tell you to pick one. This might work for you, but remember that almost no one has one job even if they have one specialty.
In 2019, the doctor is also a blogger. The blogger is also a photographer. The photographer might become a web designer just to get her website up and running. We are not chasing jobs. We are running towards one impact, and using every and any tool we can to get there.
Our work has to be multidisciplinary creativity. This is the future of creative work.
Embrace your professional diversity in the same way you would embrace your cultural diversity.
Remember the work that allows you to have your one and only impact.
Your Future Self