Tell Us Who You Really Are

by Nate St. Pierre on October 19, 2011

I was talking to one of the programmers at work yesterday, and he mentioned that he’d like to be better at getting his message across and speaking with less jargon. I tried to acknowledge his point without making it into a big deal, so I said “It’s okay; you’re an engineer.” He looked back at me and said “Actually, I’m not. I’m an artist.” I asked him what he meant exactly, wondering if he viewed his code as an art form, but it turns out he was being quite literal. Evidently he’s a sculptor. Not only does he do it for fun, but his college degree is actually in sculpting. Programming is just something he picked up on the side. He happens to be good at it, so he uses that skill to pay the bills.

This got me thinking about the labels we use to group people into a certain category, and how very wrong they can be. So today I want to ask you a question: Are you consistently labeled in a way that’s not accurate? When people call you _____, how does it make you feel?

I’ll go first. When I work at a “real” job, I’m usually in the Marketing department. It’s a good fit for me, and I do my job well, but whenever people label me as a marketer it makes me wince. Most of the time when I think of marketers, I think of people who put a (possibly false) positive spin on things in order to sell more stuff. And of course that’s not me. I’m a builder. I create things that have never existed before, in many areas: technology, processes, and people groups. To call me a marketer almost feels like an insult. And yet a part of me is, and so the label is technically true, if not fully accurate.

What about you? Tell us who you really are.

(Image source: lostajy)

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