What is "Identity?"

Maybe it’s because I work in marketing. Perhaps it’s because I have a distant-but-growing obsession with branding. I can’t say for certain, but I’m quickly becoming tangled in this task of creating an identity. Who do I want to be? Or, more specifically, what do I want others to see? This is a valuable thing to consider in your career. At this stage in life, it’s terrifying to sit and think, “Who am I? What makes Kelly Rivard?”

I’m finding that this is a careful combination of “being yourself” and adaptation. I’m definitely not saying you should run out and create some alter-ego. You shouldn’t, by any means, lie about your history or credentials. These should be givens. You never want your identity to be a lie. You need to be who you say you are, whether it’s on a resume, or an online account. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Google Buzz, and various other networking sites can be valuable tools for establishing your professional identity, but they can also be deal-breakers.

This is hard subject for me. My professional interests are pulling me in two very, very different directions. At age 19, I’m contemplating the possibilities of what I’ll be doing for the rest of my life.

I know, I’m young. I know my goals can change and that my career could take my places I’d never imagine. But what I do now could influence my opportunities later. If I grab internships in public relations, will it be too late to go to e-commerce later? These questions are common.

For now, I’m going with the flow. Opportunities are finding their way to me. The proactive things I did early on have brought some amazing chances to my doorstep now. I can at least rest assured that I was wise in getting on-the-job experience young.

Going with the flow doesn’t make it any less terrifying. I’m shocked at how often I get complimented on how motivated I am, how focused and career-ready I am. I always look at the person talking to me with surprise and confusion. I’m driven, yes. Motivated, yes. But I’m not ready. I’m nowhere near ready. I’m uncertain.

I don’t even know who I’m going to be in the work world yet. I may not for a long time. But it’s safe to say that I’ll cherish the relative safety of college until I have to face the “real” world.


One thought on “What is "Identity?"

  1. Kelly- I found you on Twitter and am very impressed with your writing and insights on your blog. I'm 27 now, but I know EXACTLY what you're talking about in this post. I'd like to say things get easier or you'll wake up one morning with an "ah ha!" moment. Probably not going to happen. However, keep up the good work with building your personal brand. Once you think you've "got it," tear it all down and build again. Never rest, never settle. The best advice I can give you is to use this time to diversify as much as possible. Explore pr, ecommerce, traditional/new journalism… you have certainly have the talent. Look at each internship and job as a key to the next opportunity. Become passionate about life, about work, about yourself and the rest will follow. Good luck! ~Crystal

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