I'm a hybrid professional, but others call me a boundary crosser, innovator, disruptor, connector, translator, or shapeshifter. While those are true, hybrid is a term I chose a few years ago, and it's helped me push my career forward. I've found that the word "hybrid" is the most accurate way to convey who I am, and my hybridity is why I'm good at my job.

At the start of my career, I was an art teacher, a job I loved dearly, but eventually it was limiting me. From the outset, people saw me as a teacher, yet in my soul, I felt like so much more-- I was a curriculum designer, a content creator, a life guide, a visionary, the list could go on.

Frustrated and ready to grow my career, I knew I had to breakout of my "art teacher" label because people kept defining me by my title. 

 
For a long time, I felt stuck in a box. When I realized it was possible to leverage my professional identities and integrate them, it transformed how I approached my work. I stopped being either this or that. I became a hybrid.

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, called attention to my key abilities instead of expecting employers to decipher it 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 to my core professional identities) taught me how to thoroughly study and unpack problems. 

After learning these lessons, I still wasn't sure where my career was headed, but I became obsessed with professional identity and wondered, "How are people more than their job title?"  I started interviewing friends, colleagues, peers, neighbors, uber drivers, and anyone who would talk to me to better understand how they perceived their professional identity.  

That's when I realized people are hybrids, including me!

Today, the most successful professionals do more than one thing.  They blend and combine multiple professional identities together, making them more than their titles!  Hybrid professionals create novel experiences, make one-of-a-kind products, see the world in unique ways, and love what they do.  I love finding and meeting hybrids, and I'm on a mission to share more about how hybrids are changing the workforce and bringing value to the world.

Of course, there's a bit more to this, but that's how I got started.

 
Sarabeth_berk_morethanmytitle

Hi. I'm Dr. Sarabeth Berk

My hybridity is artist + researcher + educator + designer= innovation strategist