I’ve been working in an unchallenging, one dimensional office job for 2.5 years – something my fellow Polymaths would find agonizing (and trust me, I do!).
Recently, out of the blue, my boss – who’s based in Boston, and rarely visits my Colorado office – popped in my office and asked a rather deep question.
“So…” he said, as he was simultaneously turning to leave, “are you happy here…with your job?”. Not once in 2.5 years has he broached a topic like this to me. But being a native from Boston myself, I tend to be brutally honest. After all, it’s not like I haven’t tried to have the conversation about my eagerness for greater responsibility.
After my inside voice struggled with how best to respond before he made a mad dash for the hallway, it dawned on me – were we experiencing some sort of breakthrough in our stodgy relationship? I’d waited years to hear some waning interest in me, and here it was!?
“That…” I replied, “calls for a whole different conversation; one that isn’t handled on-the-fly.” Yes, this was a back-handed reminder to him that we rarely, if ever have 1:1 time, AND that I took his question seriously.
I say seriously because I earn a ridiculously high salary, and don’t even come close to earning it. Primarily, I push a beverage cart from meeting to meeting, and I find this simply absurd, college degree notwithstanding. And yes, most “other” people would love to wrangle a cush job like this – anyone, that is, who isn’t a multipotentialite.
So in his slow, Irish-dad manner, he reached for my office door and closed it, then proceeded to sit down with a strained look on his face in an effort to interpret what my reply meant.
“Okay… So what kind of conversation is that?” he said to me.
I proceeded to elaborate on how I felt I had actually been doing more of a disservice to our company; how little I was being asked to contribute, and what a shame it was that my ideas hadn’t been taken more seriously.
I then segued into sharing the progress of a technology initiative I spearheaded which he had no knowledge of. I’d not only thought of and authored the proposal behind it, received top brass approval to move it forward, and most recently had received final nods by legions of our IT titans to progress toward its implementation stage.
Me! I did this. Not our CTO whose pay grade is hired to configure these ideas. Little ol’ me!
No IT education – just common sense.
My conversation with him gushed a while longer until I heard myself justifying my talent, my intelligence, and yes, I went there, my multipotentiality!
It was here that I noticed his predictable eye glaze, but I stayed the course in an effort to make our talk a win-win, and how more vital I could become to the company, given my varied skill sets and innovative ideas.
It happens that I’m a “chick” in an overtly male-dominated environment, where unless you run naked through our lobby, no one will give you the time of day, least of all listen to your ideas.
So my hope is this: that my story imparts the wisdom that no one should ever have to explain how talented they are. And while I’m unclear if my fleeting talk was truly any different – my boss heard what he wanted (well, maybe not about my multipotentiality). But my takeaway was his words. He said where ever I wanted to take my job, or any other job for that matter, he would back me 100%.
I realize that bringing up the topic of multipotentiality at work is a risk, however, I feel passionate about reminding those around us to embrace our multi-committed contributions, and to welcome our differences. Because from my perspective, only good can come from what we have to offer.
So all you multis out there, have you ever succumbed to validating your multipotentiality? Or are you still waiting for the right opportunity?
About Jen Knapp: I am a Multipotentialite residing just outside of Denver, CO. Given my multi-committed personality, I try to concentrate my free time devoted to an active fitness regimen, studying physiology and nutrition, being a gearhead, and freelance writing. And when I’m not working out, studying, writing or drooling over cars, my time is spent spoiling my Tabby cat, Prada and Blue Heeler, Callie. This isn’t a comprehensive bio. That would be pure insanity for a Multipotentialite to pull off. :).