I recently heard a wonderful interview with Sibylla Stephen (from the band, Little Stevies) who was talking about the concept of identity and how we define ourselves. Her comments and blog got me thinking about professional identity and the dual challenge of bringing clarity and poise to how we define ourselves, and of having to juggle more than one identity – wearing more than one hat, so to speak – especially in the context of career management.
Often women, and particularly those returning to work seem to lose their sense of “professional self” and struggle to gain clarity around not only that definition but also how to articulate it. What excited me about Sibylla’s epiphany was the realisation that passion, courage and sense of self are entwined in a genuine professional identity. But maybe her greatest insight comes from realising that ultimately having this clarity nurtures and builds confidence.
Equally important is the idea that how we define and describe ourselves professionally is not built on the premise of a title. For me, where we gain the most insight, clarity and ultimately calmness is from being able to define ourselves with all of our hats on.
When I first began in the world of careers back in the early 90’s, it was culturally unacceptable to bring your personal life into your professional one. I think for a lot of women and mothers it is this concept that can be blamed for causing our “identity crisis”. I think the idea that we must keep shuffling our “separate” identities and not let them co-mingle is fundamentally flawed. Have we seen a shift since then? Maybe a little, but mostly no.
Again, I’d like to refer to Sibylla’s blog and the idea that how we earn money and what we call ourselves professionally do not necessarily need to be the same thing. That is, I can wear several hats to find the right balance of life and define myself by following my heart and calling myself whatever I like.
Me, I call myself ………………….
Posted by Felicity McLaughlin
This is the latest in a series of articles about career development for women, espcially those returning to work. If you would like to discuss your own career options following maternity leave and/or raising children, or following long-term carer’s leave, please contact Bravo Consulting about how we can help you achieve your career goals.