I’ve always felt a little like Chandler Bing from Friends. It seems that even people I have known my entire working life don’t really know what I do. And my recent journey hasn’t exactly made the answer any clearer. When I formed Aardvark Girl, I thought I was on a pretty clear path. I was focused on helping small businesses, especially those in creative fields, get organized. But then I landed a huge opportunity to be the Project Manager for a high profile event (more on that later in the year). I now realize that I prefer to manage multiple projects rather than holding one full-time management job. It keeps me challenged, motivated, and engaged, and allows me to continuously learn and develop my skills. There is also something to be said, however, for keeping some work that is comfortable, with people I have been working with for years. So, I am still in the production/post production field, producing and helping others produce various video and still projects. So now, when people ask me what I do, my answer is that it is really a hybrid of project management, production, and business consulting. For now. Who knows what the answer might be in six months or a year. I like to think I am constantly evolving.
My situation, and several recent conversations, has led me to think about focus. There was a time when job roles were clearly defined. People had distinct titles that identified what they did, and they were encouraged to find one specialty. Those with too many interests and talents, the jacks of all trades, were often at a disadvantage because employers wanted those who were masters in one area. Those who excelled in multiple areas were too “scattered,” and their “lack of focus” was a weakness. But, those unwavering lines in each person’s specific responsibilities made collaboration especially difficult, and often interfered with the company’s ability to grow and improve. In addition, employees with broader interests would get bored with doing the same thing every day and seek out more fulfilling opportunities.
Fortunately, many work environments have changed. Employers are understanding that multiple talents lead to multiple benefits, and they can often hire one person to fill various roles. It can help businesses operate more efficiently, while also keeping workers more satisfied. Not that having one specialized talent is a bad thing by any means, but why not let people explore all of their passions if they want to? Some of the most successful people I know got that way by not letting roles define what they are able to do. They seek out more opportunities, think outside the box, and prove why a broad skill set is a huge asset.
I have always been someone who will do whatever needs to be done to make a project successful, whether it is in my job description or not. I feel that having the ability to do multiple things well is a strength, and doesn’t mean I lack focus so much as that I don’t like to limit my abilities. So maybe what I do isn’t simple to define with one title, but maybe that’s okay.
What do you think? Is it better to have one defined focus, or a variety of talents? Let me know your thoughts!