Are YOU a Professional Misfit?
OR are you a “closet” professional misfit? In other words you show up a “good professional” on the outside, but on the inside, you fear that you will be “outed”… you, like the rest of us in this select group, are a professional misfit, but don’t want anybody to know.
A professional misfit is simply someone who has had many “professions”. We like to say 3-20 in the last 20 years. You are person who has skills. You’re the “Jack or Jane of all Professions!”
Here’s where we start by asking you…
Have you had 3 or more “professions” in a 3-20+ year period?
Do you have various degrees, certifications, promotions that required you taking some sort of exam and developing professional skills?
What’s a “Professional Misfit”?
For us, a “professional misfit” or “PM” is first a professional, in the way that we studied, worked & earned our credentials, but we are sometimes challenging to work with. People who we work with see us as “trouble makers”, “odd”, “opinionated”, “non-compliant”. We’re basically “unemployable”.
You have a few licenses, certifications, degrees or even experience that you couldn’t pay for. You have had titles galore and have worked within professional ethics of what you are doing… But
You still want to do something else.
Behind that name, beyond the initials, you really want just one thing…
To be noticed…
…for who you are.
Your professions define you, yes they do. Look how much time you spend in your profession(s). Your profession(s) is a part of you. Sure not all of you, but a large part of you. A large part of who you are.
Define your professional self. List your skills. No really! What are you “skilled” at? (Someone would pay you for this skill.)
Have you ever had a job that your weren’t really qualified for, but people thought you were. Or if they didn’t think so, they couldn’t understand how you got “that job”.
Other than the typical, traditional get down on your knees and beg and %#@!, you got these jobs through skill, luck and perseverence and your’e just good at a lot of shit! We’d sure like to hear some.
Here’s the Professional Misfit brain of my skills. I’ve come out of the closet:
I’ve had 4 professions.And I am proud to be a Professional Misfit! Entertainment/comedy; fitness/exercise; nursing, health educator/speaker.
We are pretty good at something.
Often more than one thing, I’ll get to that later.
Because of this, we get paid pretty good too, a “professional fee”.
BUT – we don’t necessarily like what we’re doing. So, we get good at something else. Earn a “professional fee” again, but still don’t like what we’re doing. We try something new, master it, become that professional in it… and we keep on repeating this.
We get asked the question by others, “How’d you get that job or gig?” I got that question a lot with one of the best jobs I ever had in healthcare. This job would never have been in the paper (back then we all read the Sunday help wanted classified on our breaks on our current healthcare job), no this job was gotten on pure guts, charm, some bullshit and some luck.
I’d like to say, with my “Wit, Grit and Bullshit”.
Even though I had the credentials, they weren’t required to get the attention of who hired me. (One day I’ll tell you how I got it. And how I actually, eventually, got tired of “IT” too.)
Often we PM’s “step in shit”, as people say. Which means someone who is “lucky” or “get breaks” all the time. I think we are kind of like Forrest Gump (the movie version).
We are the “Forrest Gump” of professionals.
Are you the “Forrest Gump” of professionals?
Well, it’s nice to connect with you.
Have you seen the movie Forrest Gump? It’s one of my favorite movies. Even though Forrest, played by Tom Hanks, is “slow”, [what my mother would call “dull-normal” (that’s for another blog post)] he has “favor” in his life because he is a simple man, giving man, who simply can’t be pretentious. He was always “stepping in shit”!
A man who has his friend’s back. (even though he only had 3 really good friends & one dies, one hates the world and one he ends up marrying)
A man who keeps his promises.
A man who gives, gives, gives… without even knowing it.
A man who tells it like it is.
A man who actually saw/experienced/appreciated nature’s beauty.
A man who falls in love (for life).
He has all kinds of great jobs and experiences and ends up having the best job in the world… being a dad.
I know Forrest Gump’s actions and decisions influenced some significant historical events in the movie that we may never do. After all, it is a movie.
Just an analogy I made to better explain a part of being a professional misfit.
The “stepping in shit” part more than anything else.
Go watch the movie.
Still not sure if you’re a professional misfit like us? Here is more clarification for you:
- It’s not about having 3 jobs at once or “how many jobs can I have” game. It’s more about, over time, different professions you’ve had. But couldn’t keep.
- You have had 3 or more major jobs, with substantial training (ie: where internship, degree, license, certification required, years of experience, SKILL required)
- These jobs can be just 3 years to 20 years in an industry. (What that means is that you could have different jobs, (moving around within your industry) but you are still in the same industry. Or you could have had “professional” jobs in 3 or more different industries like me.)
- You have been written up or warned
- You have been fired or asked to resign
- You couldn’t really handle “clicks” in high school. So at work, you really don’t like it either. You don’t have many or any “friends” at your job or even in your chosen field (by friend, I mean someone you would spend the weekend with)
- You’ve been told, on occasion, that you’re “unprofessional”
- There’s always a mental “deal breaker” you have at a job and you will not waiver – when it’s broken… You quit.
- Does your story start with “I’ve been a __________________ for 25 years” (fill in the blank) but you’re still trying to figure out what you want to do when you grow up.
- You have skills. Killer skills. You, for the most part have the “training” of a professional. But you know you can and should apply them (your skills) in another way than intended. Think more about your experiences during the years of study & work to obtain those skills, more than the “paper” you received at the end.
- You think you may have adult ADD because you can’t stay at one place very long before you start to get bored or even ill at the current job.
- You know it’s you who’s the “odd ball”, “trouble maker”, “question asker” and not the other folks you work with. You can’t fight “City Hall” is the feeling you have when leaving your past jobs.
- You have taken on another personality or developed (like I have) a “persona” to get through work. No, you don’t need medication. You are actively, consciously acting like someone else (a slightly twisted version of yourself) to get through what you are doing.
Yes? To most of the above? Can you identify with the above statements?
Then you probably are a Professional Misfit. Is your story boring or like a list. Want a robust tale to pull form when in public. Tell us your story and for goodness sakes, “Know Thy Fun Self”!
How would Creating a Fun Story Short help you?
You surely know all the negative things to tell folks you meet in a moment’s time. But is that what you want? No!
Because of all your “professional” training and work, you have a “LONG story short” in the middle of your tale. Don’t you? It’s almost impossible to tell that nice, handsome man you just were introduced to, everything wonderful and intriguing about your life, over champagne and salmon at a wedding reception…
You literally bumped into your mentor in line at the airport. She’s in first class, you’re not, so you better think fast!
With a memorized “Fun Story Short” you have the answers to 6 basic areas of fun conversation. (Based on your story)
Be ready. It’s called “canned charisma” in a sense. People think that exciting, fun people are natural. A few maybe are, but most “practice” officially and unofficially at being charismatic and fun. (some, like me, may even become someone else, a slightly different character than themselves)
I recommend that you write over a weekend YOUR story. Yes, it may start out looking chronological at first. You may even need your resume or CV to help you. That’s O.K. Just start and keep writing.
I managed to write about 3 pages of my story. Considering my age and all the shit I’ve done, 3 pages is a “short” story. You probably will feel the same way too.
Then NAME your story. Yes, give it a name. Mine is “10 Years A Zombie”. (tab is above too)
From there I condensed it. Twice. I create a few paragraphs, that I manipulate, depending on the situation (formal introduction at a speaking event, around the table introduction, “let’s everyone tell a little about themselves”, small talk at a convention, or trying to get to know someone at a bar, etc.) I just have to remember these few paragraphs and elaborate a couple of points.
Then I found the “common denominator” in all I do well for people. You should look through all that you wrote and think about how you like to feel. AND how you like to make others feel. What do people say about you? And what you do well for them? Really think. It may have nothing to do with school, degrees nor licenses… but it’s the icing on your cake. It’s what makes you tick. Think about ALL your professions, even the ones that you hated.
It is so freeing.
My common denominator – is laughter and trimming people down. I do it naturally. I think about trimming down in some way every day and every day I make sure laugh!
For example in real life:
Just this morning, I had 4 people surrounding me laughing & listening to part of my story involving how I will never have my thighs rubbing together again. (I was at a dog beach, so my thighs were noticeable.) Yes, this is part of my story, not how I graduated with a 3.9 cumulative average from college. Probably ’cause I graduated with a 2.3 cum. Hey, I graduated, I even earned a scholarship… athletic.
Point is, unless that 3.9 translates into something fun, light-hearted or intruiging, nobody cares. Well, if you’re going to grad school, etc., there may be a few folks who care. But to those of you who are beyond that, focus on your fun, even odd experiences and how they can make people feel better about themselves.
Make people smile. 🙂
Welcome to The Nobody’s Listening Show. We are Professional Misfits too!
Be a contestant on our new game show Fun Story Short More information too.