I am an artist/researcher/educator/designer
Sarabeth Berk, PhD
More Than My Title began with an identity crisis followed by an identity awakening.
At the start of my career, I was an art teacher, a job I loved dearly, but eventually it felt limiting. Everywhere I went and every job I applied to, people saw me as a teacher, yet in my soul, I knew I was more… I was a curriculum specialist, a graphic designer, a connector, a transformer, a visionary, an innovator, a disruptor, and more.
Frustrated and ready to grow my career, I knew I had to break from my "art teacher" label to stop being defined by that title.
So, I tried two things and learned two important lessons. First, in my cover letter to potential employers, I wrote, "I'm Sarabeth, and I consider myself to be an artist/educator/designer. Let me explain why this matters for this position." I literally used slashes to string my identities together, which called attention to my primary professional identities instead of expecting employers to decipher them for themselves. This led to getting job interviews and offers. Second, I enrolled in a doctoral program where I learned how to conduct research. Becoming a researcher (an identity I've since added) taught me how to study and analyze problems.
At this point, I became obsessed with professional identity and wondered, "How are other people more than their job titles?" I started interviewing friends, colleagues, peers, neighbors, strangers, and anyone else who would talk with me.
That's when I realized there’s this other group of people in the workforce. Hybrids are hiding among us, and I am one of them.
Now, I’m on a crusade to share this idea with the world. I think it matters to the gig economy, millennials, freelancers, independent contractors, people in career transition, and people who work inside of big companies and wear multiple hats. Recruiters should know how to look for hybrids, and managers should know how to train and retain them on their teams.
In today’s society, the most successful professionals don’t just do more than one thing. They blend and combine multiple professional identities together, making them more than their titles!
Hybrid professionals create novel experiences, products, and services. They are responsible for creating some of the world’s coolest brands and one-of-a-kind ideas. They see the world in unique ways, and they love what they do.
Hybrids are changing the workforce and bringing value to the world.