I was perusing Sara Ruffin Costello's website recently, ogling some of her lovely work, when I clicked over to her "About" page and found myself pondering the definition of a "career." This mental tangent was set in motion after reading Costello's description of herself as a writer-editor-television personality-style consultant-decorator-developer-preservationist. Friends, that is some serious action... I felt tired just reading it.
Then again, for a majority of my work life, I was pretty conservative about my idea of what constitutes a career. My general thinking through college (and even during a bulk of the years post) was that you got to be one thing (or at least one thing at a time) -- an editor or a designer or a doctor or a director of online marketing, if you will. And that anything you did outside of your single-focused career was a "hobby." I realize this is antiquated thinking, but remember I'm almost 40, my coming of age occurred pre-blogs, pre-Internet even (oh and we walked to school, both ways, uphill, in the snow), so the idea of wearing multiple hats, and getting paid for wearing them, was something that felt a bit, well, not real.
But the interwebs just seemed to turn this whole thing on it's head, didn't it? Now a hefty portion of my friends are full-blown multi-hyphenates. And, somehow, after 14 years proudly sporting one title, I now find myself among them, with my own little "About" blurb on this very blog professing me to be six different things, five of which I actually get paid to do.
The trick in this new multi-enterprise world is how to do all of these various things well (or at least not shittily); how to avoid the trap of "jack of all trades, master of none;" how to quickly switch focus without missing a beat. I wish I could say I have the answer...But frankly I'm not sure there is one. In the meantime, I'm just plugging along, working the hell out of my to-do list, following my gut, commiserating with my peers over (copious) cocktails, and (when all else fails) asking myself, "What Would Sara Do."
Who's with me?