Some days I’m not sure who I am. Maybe that’s not as important as knowing what I do though.
Today, I logged onto LinkedIn to catch up with what was going with my professional connections. Usually there’s a few interesting articles to read.
I noticed a few colleagues’ ‘professional headline’ or job title, as I usually refer to it. These were people I knew, and knew pretty well, and yet I was confused. All of a sudden they seem to have new titles, lots of them. I’m not sure who they are anymore. Do they still work at the same place? Or are they now working for themselves? Are they salaried or freelance? Have they started their own business? Do they have one job or lots? What do they actually do?
It made me feel pretty angry too. There were people claiming to be experts or consultants or specialists who had just added another title onto their main job title, the one they are salaried for. Doesn’t that just make them look busy and confused? Or superhuman specialists because they can juggle lots of jobs at the one time?
And then I thought about the possible unconscious message behind the professional headline, or the business card title. Are people taking Amy Cuddy’s advice to ‘fake it until you become it’? Or are they just muddled about what they do? Maybe they can’t decide or commit? Maybe they’re scared; they want to cover all bases.
And it made me think about my professional headline. Is that who I am or what I do? Does it give an indication of whom I work with? Would my cantankerous father understand if he read it? What’s the presupposition behind it?
If I call myself a ‘Leadership Development Specialist’ doesn’t that presuppose that people need leadership development and that I’m the ‘expert’ in it? That I know everything there is to know and I’ve stopped learning about it? How does that fit with my values and what I believe?
I’m now considering calling myself a ‘Talent Revealer’ because what I really do is ‘allow something to be seen’ by those who haven’t seen it before. What I really do is reveal the potential I believe we all have within in us. And the people I work with? People like me.
But even now I can hear my father’s voice – ‘What the hell does that mean?’ So maybe I’ll think about that for a little longer …. any suggestions gratefully received.