Recently, a young woman mentioned that she thought I was a designer. I was really flattered. I don’t know why being thought of as a designer felt so much better than a management consultant or an HR professional? It made me think about how we label ourselves.
I have always felt that a being a professional is important and a good thing to do. It’s certainly provided a good life, been interesting, challenging and sometimes a lot of fun. I realise that the thing I like most about my profession is the vast array of people I’ve met and worked with. My life has definitely been enriched by working with amazing, talented, men and women of all ages and backgrounds. I feel lucky that many of them are now good friends and I wouldn’t want to deny that part of my profession.
Creating solutions for all sorts of organisations has been challenging, exciting and I hope of value. Sometimes a problem needs to be tackled or an opportunity can be built on. Its engaging when things are complex and when there are several options to consider. Working with others, drawing on experience and professional expertise, we can often devise a solution which is the best fit. A good fit has always been important to me, it doesn’t have to be award winning, but it does have to be workable and agreeable to most of the people involved. So, I wouldn’t want to deny that part of my profession.
10 years ago a book I’d co authored with a friend and colleague was first published. It was a major achievement and we wrote a few more books. I also wrote with other friends and colleagues and in total published nine books on different aspects of HR, Organisation Design & Learning and Development. I still struggle to call myself an Author and yet its been a major part of my working life for 10 years. A friend contacted me after she had been doing some research on one of my subjects. She hadn’t known about the writing and was surprised to see that someone with my name seemed to be an authority on the subject. She wanted to know if it was just a coincidence. She, jokingly, called me an HR Guru! That label definitely doesn’t fit. When someone asks me what I do, I might mention being an Author, quickly apologising for the fact that I am not a fictional author!
So, why do some labels feel so much more exciting than others?
Am I an Author? Am I an HR expert? Am I a Designer? Am I a Housewife? Am I a blogger? or am I a woman enjoying an adventure in the South Atlantic who is taking time to learn new things?