A Key Step to Finding Your Hybrid Professional Identity

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it requires a little math

Step One

Identify your primary professional identities. These are the ones that are core to you and appear the majority of time in your work (about three or four max). Even if you have a singular job title (like Director of Marketing) think of the major roles you play within that title. Or, if you are a freelancer or independent contractor, think of the primary identities you promote or want to be known for with your clients.

Step Two

Create a Venn diagram, and list one professional identity in each circle.

Step Three

Begin to add each circle together. Identity A + Identity B= Identity AB and so forth.

Finally

Notice what’s in the overlap and in the middle. What do you get when you mix identities A, B, and C together?

Notice that you have four hybrid identities in the intersections if you have three primary professional identities- AB, AC, BC, and ABC (and nine hybrid identities if you have four primary professional identities). Surprised? Some of these might feel more solid than others, and that’s okay. Pay attention to the ones that feel strong in your work and the ones that don’t. Just because the combinations are possible doesn’t mean you’re using them all.

This is an art more than a science. Have fun examining and playing with the combinations as they’re revealed. Feel free to rename them (for instance, Director of Solving Complaints or Chief Fun Enforcer). The purpose of this exercise is both to identify who you really are in your work (your primary professional identities), and to become more aware of the unique things you’re capable of (that you may or may not already be aware of).

Hybridity can change and evolve over time, so revisit it as you progress in your career. And, be sure to showcase and discuss your hybrid talents with your team, employer, clients, and colleagues. You might be surprised by where the conversation goes.

Sarabeth Berk