As a child I remember growing up and being told, “You can be anything you want” and while that phrase is engrained in children fairly early there seems to be a missing part. Maybe the phrase should be, “You can be anything you want until you grow up then you must decide on one thing.” As a multifaceted millennial, I am consistently met with choosing between which talent is the one to pitch as "what I do". While the short and least complicated answer would be - Lifestyle Media & Curation the actual answer is Podcasting, Content Producing, Writing, Author, Speaking, Visual Conceptualization, Project Planning, Lifestyle Engagements and more. I am a creative expressionist who creates, sells, and distributes content and perspective in consumable packages, but damn, that's a mouthful! So much for the elevator pitch. (Unless the elevator is stuck)
Honestly, I tend to feel an immediate angst when I sense the question lurking its way into a conversation. While some would write this off as I am still finding my way, which could be an accurate assessment, I would argue that the cultural shift to maximize your talents is fully underway. At this point, it is obvious to me that we must readjust the way we look at the question “what do you do” and instead ask “what can we do”?
In all fairness, I would not suggest that if given the opportunity to speak momentarily to an influential figure who has the chance to help elevate your career that you bombard them with a laundry list of titles and accolades. That’s just not wise. Of course, you must find concise ways to get your point and value across in minimal time. I am also aware in order to have an effective collaboration both individuals must know what they bring to the table and how they can assist one another in reaching their goal.
I recognize that part of the reason people ask "what do you do" is because they are looking to network or potentially see if there are any opportunities that they can join forces on - that is more than understandable it is necessary for progress. On the flip side, some are asking to define your position or persona in the world. As millennials are moving fluidly through the unyielding digital age opportunities are no longer restricted by gatekeepers. The old formula of buckle down one area for 20 years and once you have done that, then consider future hobbies or endeavors is now archaic. If you are a writer you have reputable platforms that are searching for content such as Medium and even some larger publications now accept contributors. If you are a speaker you have platforms where people are looking to listen like Soundcloud or Anchor. If you are a visual content creator there is Youtube and nearly all social media platforms that support your visuals. If you are someone like me who works each of those expressionist fields you can spread yourself through the world wide web and the opportunities are limitless.
I know many are wondering, how will I get to know what a person's industry is - well I'm glad you asked! Questions like “what are you working on” and “what are some of your areas of interests” can open up the door to areas of opportunity. It’s safe to say that any individual creating some form of service, product, or personalized brand has to have a digital presence to do so. That means it would be very hard to find an entrepreneur of today that is solely adequate at one task. Most of us are our own P.R., Social Media Managers, Content Creators, Brand Advocates, and Marketing Strategist. The reality is to thrive in an era that has countless attention-grabbing mechanisms you have to be visible, multi-versed, and impactful. In fact, just about all millionaires have multiple sources of income. Think about it, what does Oprah do? Everything. What does Diddy do? Everything. If never before, now is the most opportune time to shift the narrative of how we define our career talents and titles.