Hats & Work: A not-so-typical career perspective
You may be wondering what hats and work have to do with each other, but trust me, they can be very connected. Hats are interesting things and serve many purposes. They can protect, such as a sun visor or winter toque. They can provide utility, as with a hard hat or a magician’s hat that produces astonishing surprises. They can be symbolic of an event or holiday, think of the Kentucky Derby or Santa. Or, they can just be decorative, as is the case with ladies’ fascinators on the runway or at weddings. They’re interesting because they’re incredibly personal. We all may know someone who says “That’s my favorite hat!” or who proclaims “I’m not really a hat person!” We can even make assumptions about a person, based upon the type of hat they’re wearing. If we see a picture of a lady in the Royal Family, a baseball player, or a Native American tribal chief, we get a sense of their roles.
One of my favorite sayings when people ask about my own life and/or career journey is, “I have worn many hats!”, and I truly mean this statement both literally and figuratively. My closet has a shelf filled with hats and at one time or another; I’ve worn every single one of them. Vintage hats, winter hats, sun hats, cowboy hats, baseball caps, and head scarves. Some I’ve worn because they served a distinct purpose or utility, while others were just for fun. Trying out and wearing so many different hats is also strangely symbolic of how I view the world of work. I have worked on a farm, in an airplane, a kitchen, a salon, a storefront, an office building, a studio, a college, on the road and from home. I have planted, cooked, served, primped, coached, sold, coordinated, administered, designed, presented and created. Some of these jobs I’ve done simultaneously, others I’ve embarked on singularly. I’ve met and worked with many people, travelled to many places, and tried many new things, hence, the statement; “I have worn many hats!” is quite fitting for me. Possibly one of the biggest things that I’ve learned from this journey and wearing all of these hats, is deciding the ones I like, the ones that “fit”, and the ones I definitely don’t like or just don’t “fit”.
Sometimes we get stuck in a career rut. Perhaps our daily tasks, overall job satisfaction, salary, location, or co-workers, may not “fit” us any longer. If that’s the case, I say, “Try on a new hat!” There’s many to choose from! What’s the worst that can happen…it doesn’t fit? Eventually goes out of style? Needs to be replaced? Looks silly? If you’re not ready to commit to a completely new style of hat, that’s okay. Maybe you just wear this new hat on the weekends…with a part-time gig that supports your interest and inquiry into a new industry. Perhaps you try the freelance hat for a bit…doing some consulting or design work. How about trying on a super unique, artistic hat with flair…and pursue that dream of working in theatre, or as a stand-up comic. Maybe the hat you choose next looks more like a construction hat…and you volunteer, fixing up homes for a not-for-profit. No one says you have to throw out your full time, standby hat, just think about adding on a weekend style hat, too. If nothing else, trying on a new hat may be just what you need to break old habits about work that don’t serve you any longer, and discover a new way of thinking. Perhaps, even a new career! You’ll meet new people, learn new skills, and see new things! Maybe you’ll decide that your own hat fits just fine afterall. Perhaps you’ll end up like me, with a closet full of hats, insight into many industries, knowing interesting people from all walks of life, and great stories to share.
Now I’m not saying that my journey is the right journey or that there haven’t been twists, turns, or bumps along the road, but trying on and wearing many hats has served me well and has taken me to the place I am today. Most importantly, it has been my journey and I wear that hat, and all of my awesome, practical, silly, unique hats with a complete sense of pride! That said; I’ll now take off my writer’s hat and tuck it away on the shelf in my closet…until the next time I need it!