Own It: Reclaiming Your Professional Identity

I hate to break it to you, but you've been subconsciously downsizing your skill set by linking watered down terms to your professional identity. I'm guilty, too. 

Lately, I’ve noticed the use of these three terms that are hindering our ability to effectively communicate our brand message.

Freelance

Freelance | working for different companies at different times rather than being permanently employed by one company.

I’ve often referred to myself as a ‘freelance copywriter’. I’m now observant of how the term ‘freelance’ is generally perceived by others. People that approach us for services may get the idea that we do 100% pro bono work or we’re willing to accept any project that comes our way. A lot of creatives want to be paid for their services + are allowed to be choosy when taking on new clients.

Independent Contractor | a natural person, business, or corporation that provides goods or services to another entity under terms specified in a contract or within a verbal agreement.

Much better! 

Aspiring

aspiring | directing one's hopes or ambitions toward becoming a specified type of person.

If you have an education or have taken your own time to shape your skill set, you aren’t aspiring to be anything. You already are! By dropping aspiring you are claiming your confidence in your services and your brand. I see this term a lot on LinkedIn profiles.

Declare what you are and what you have to offer. You’ve earned your spot!

Up-and-coming

Up-and-coming | (of a person beginning a particular activity or occupation) making good progress and likely to become successful.

“Likely” doesn’t sound too promising to me. I usually hear this term when it comes to the entertainment field. You’re not an ‘up-and-coming’ artist if you’ve been spending countless hours in the studio crafting your style. Calling yourself an artist will demand attention from others and open the door for them to see what you have to offer.

What are other terms preventing our growth as creatives?

Maneuvering Millennials: How to Navigate Your Office Space

Being a millennial in ANY office space can be intimidating. Do I say good morning to everyone? How awkward is this conversation I’m having by the water cooler? Does everyone think I’m ‘young and dumb’? Will every mistake I make be blamed on my age?

Just thinking about it is enough to give anyone anxiety. Of course, I’ll give you a few tips (and funny gifs) to lighten the load. 

1. Communicate how it will benefit the organization (not just your department):

Opinion

If you’re willing to bring ideas to the table (or bring the whole table), you should analyze how the organization will benefit from it. Sometimes if the group is stuck in traditional ways, showing them the benefit of your strategy to the organization will give you a better chance of succeeding.

2. Shaking your fear of interpersonal relationships:

Friend

I’m an introvert at heart, but working in communications leaves no room for me to be an introvert at work. I have to open my mouth, get to know my coworkers, communicate about projects/assignments, and an endless list of more things. How to break that barrier? Go out to lunch with that coworker, get someone’s input on a personal project, participate in occasional small talk (it helps). Learning your strengths and weaknesses, as well as your coworkers, will benefit your work life vastly. You can only maneuver what you’ve mastered!

You can only maneuver what you’ve mastered!

3. Clearly defining projects + deadlines:

Hardest

When you’re multi-talented in the workplace you may get pulled in many directions. This can result in projects piling up. This is not intimidating if you know what they entail and when they’re due. I’ve had experience with taking on design projects and never asking expectations or due dates. This resulted in tons of frustration and pressure between management and I. Currently, I don’t touch a project until I have resources + expectations + a deadline. With guidelines put in place, you can effectively create.

4. Speaking up:

If you’re apart of an organization that asks for your feedback, GIVE IT! When I began my postgraduate career, I would die inside anytime I was expected to give my opinion. Now, if I feel as though I’m not given the proper resources or I’m running into walls trying to do what’s expected of me, I speak up. A quick chat with your manager/supervisor/mentor can make all the difference. Maybe they didn’t know of your current issue and can easily resolve it. See how speaking up (professionally and appropriately) can help you breathe a little?

As a millennial, what are some ways you’ve learned to navigate the office space? As a seasoned professional, what can us as millennials do better?

Photo/gif credit = Giphy + Unsplash