Having recently been involved in several interviews where I keep getting asked this new-yet-similar question, I’m sensing that what used to be an anomaly might finally be tipping the scales to norm territory.
Are we in technology today not SOLELY lifelong, feeds-and speeds, cable-running technicians? Did a few more of us cut our teeth on arts (and beyond) over strictly sciences? The question:
What experience on your career journey stands out as traditionally atypical? What experience might others be surprised to learn helped shape you and mold your success, effectiveness and/or impact?
I keep referring to this experience as my professional outtake.
As an arts and sciences undergrad, drama 101 was a required core course in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. My teacher was a grad student named Ombra. For anyone that knows me, I have a (some say genetic) flair for drama as a personality feature, however treading into drama as a discipline was uncomfortable and cringy for me. I discovered quickly that being the center of attention felt a whole lot different when actually performing on a stage, in front of others, and possibly in a wig. Yikes.
I’ve often credited my arts and sciences heart as a major contributor to my success in technology leadership today. In that Kimpell Hall basement classroom, I learned how to share, how to be received by an audience, how to deliver difficult messages, how to read a room and read a changing room, how to stand up and speak out when every instinct inside told me to run. I learned how to be strong despite weakness. My comfort zones became ubiquitous. By all outward appearance, the world is my comfort zone. It’s important to note that my outward appearance and confident delivery is very much learned, largely due to my time spent with that grad student teaching her basic 101 course. I am a humanities soul leading in the field of technology. There, I said it. Humanities shaped my science.
Ombra Sandifer went on to Florida State University to work within their School of Theatre in FSU’s College of Fine Arts. Interestingly, her bio shares a research focus on “Communication and integrating technology into human interaction in live performance.” Though I haven’t seen or spoken with Ombra in over 20 years, it’s funny how our professional areas of interest intersect, just through traditionally diametrically opposed lenses – academic versus business. We are seemingly two sides of a pretty interesting coin.
I challenge you to share:
What experience on your career journey stands out as traditionally atypical? What experience might others be surprised to learn helped shape you and mold your success, effectiveness and/or impact? What is your professional outtake?
Our experiences and impact can live forever if we continue to learn from and grow with each other. So let’s keep the magic going.