Originally written in August, 2016, and updated six months later,to reflect a positive shift in my professional trajectory. My professional path will shift again, with intention and by design.
My Mom has shared with me many times, that while I was growing up, she felt really sorry for me. She noticed I was living with a curse. I had so much passion, focus and commitment for such an expansive variety of things, she didn’t know how I would ever decide to choose just one of them to take me through my life professionally. She worried a lot about it.
When I go to an interview, or my resumé is viewed for another reason, or contemporaries explore me and my professional history further, I have been asked the following:
- Are you making this up?
- Were you or are you using cocaine?
- Why couldn’t you stick with it? <- insert vocation
- Do you get bored easily?
- Why did you stop performing? Don’t you want to go back to it?
- Why didn’t you ever get to Broadway?
- You went to high school with _______?!?!?!
- You won an Emmy? How is that even possible?
- What’s wrong with you?
Lucky for me, I could always answer these and other questions very easily and succinctly. Please note: I was never asked a few of the above-listed bullet points until I already had the job and people inquired further. At interviews, I have been asked the first, third and fourth bullet points.
In my professional life, as in my child-rearing, I was almost always deeply committed to and nearly kung fu focused on whatever I was doing if I wanted to do it. This didn’t apply to everything in my life, but it applied to a lot of my life.
Like all of us, I update my resumé with some frequency. I also, like many of us, have different versions of it depending on the needs of the vocation or contract. While I often think of deleting certain things, and I do delete certain things, all versions of my resumé communicate my uniquely diverse career journey. I just don’t get how anyone could get an authentic view of me without connecting these important dots.
It has never, ever, occurred to me to feel badly about having more than several careers. I can’t envision anything else. At my age, I appear to be embarking on yet another, enhanced career path. To be far more accurate, it’s a sort of combo platter of things I’ve done and adored, and it’s the most delicious thing I’ve tasted since my days of dance training. It’s like having peanut butter as one career path, bananas as another career path and then putting them together, you get Elvis. I mean, he was “The King,” right? The perfect bread is earned from inspiration.
I guess I “should” feel pretty bad about starting something new at my age. I “should” only be a fundraiser, because that’s what I’ve been doing for the last decade. It doesn’t occur to me to “should” on myself and I know from “shoulding” on myself in other areas of my life, “shoulding” does nothing but feel really “shouldy.”
I’m writing this, because I don’t think it’s abnormal to be polyamorous professionally. In fact, I don’t think career monogamy is natural. I don’t even think monogamy is natural, period. I have, however, been in several monogamous relationships in my life time, both personally and professionally. When I’m with you, I’m with you, but that’s loyalty, respect and decision making, not a natural urge to be with only one human being.
In my previous full time position, I was cheating on my core values. I could feel it everywhere in my body and soul, that I wasn’t getting what I needed from the relationship, but was in too much pain and far too loyal to cheat on my partner. I was delighted when we amicably divorced.
My current full-time and part-time positions at ORT America and DePaul, are both the antithesis of my experience just one year ago, but let it be known how grateful I am for my previous full-time position. It was a life-changer that clarified what I simply will or will not endure moving forward.
So, I’m writing this article, because I think too often we get labeled as something by others and so, we buy into it. We can strongly identify with what we do or who we are with or perhaps married to:
“I’m a fundraiser.”
” I’m a dancer.”
“I’m Doug’s ex-wife.”
These labels will never totally make sense to me, but I get that they’re safe and make sense to other people. I sometimes label myself just so people can move on and perhaps you may want to move on from this post or any of my posts and that’s okay.
But, I am a lot of things, and I’ll bet you are too.
I write this stuff, these posts, in hopes that someone will walk away feeling better about their thoughts, feelings and/or path… that it might strike a chord and inspire someone to be more honest and at peace with themselves and their thoughts. This isn’t for me as much as it is for you.
In my personal life, I have never actually subscribed to a polyamorous lifestyle. Being loyal, commitment stick-to-itiveness and my love for people and their feelings and boundaries, have made this pretty easy.
I’m not a cheater. Never have been, and likely, never will be,
I do hope I always continue to move on when the course of something, anything, has just simply ended. Life is too short to do it any other way.