The boy who lived and other stories

I’ve been ruminating lately on the progression of a career, particularly in the management of identity and purpose over time. Social media has the habit of affording certain identities to people that aren’t as fluid as one might like. Sometimes when you do a thing, you become known as the person who did a thing, and then you become the person who did a thing. The Boy Who Lived etc etc. The problem is, I did a thing or two, but I’m not really that person any more.

I’ve only tweeted twice in two months. Blogged even less. I hesitate now before I hit post and more often than not, I don’t, in the end. If anyone asked you what I’d done lately, or even what my job title was now, you probably wouldn’t be able to answer. I seem to have hung up the cowboy hat; I don’t think I can trade any more on the strength of being an innovator or provocateur.

You could say it was because I’d had a child. You could say it was because I’d been dragged through a misconduct case for my use of social media. You could say it was because I’d been forced to change jobs. You could say it was because I’ve got older and (more?) cynical and jaded. But at the end of the day I don’t think it’s particularly any one of those things, or perhaps it’s all of them.

I was going to say something sage here about how one can sustain a fluid identity over time via ‘identity curation’ but The Shovel, in all its scathing glory, has ruined the term for me forever. But since ‘identity choosing’ is fairly awkward I’ll just go with the fact that sometimes it’s time to put the old in a box somewhere and start something new. I don’t want to be that guy who rides on the coattails of old news. I haven’t yet found my niche to carve out in my new gig, but it’s about time I started.

8 Replies to “The boy who lived and other stories”

  1. Yay! A post, a veritable post! So, what have you done lately – just in case anyone asks? 😉
    I do wonder who I am, in terms of the person who did a thing. To one senior colleague I am ‘the guy who ate bugs in Thailand’, but beyond that I don’t know.

    1. Ha. Bugs you say.

      I’ve done a lot of tech support, so there’s that. Also the academic integrity module but jury is out on whether that’s something I should actually admit to or not.

      1. I’ve missed you on social media! When I had my first child, I underwent a massive shift in my identity. I believed that people were meeting a completely different person. Sounds like you have been through a lot. I am in a transition at work too – it’s a strange space. Good luck!

  2. That Shovel post is gold. I think teachers can curate too – we’re essentially doing for students what museum curators are doing voe museum visitors (plus everything else).

    This resonated with me. Leaving teaching and parenthood were both huge transformations for me, mostly for the better but yeah, change is hard, confusing but ultimately really satisfying once you do find your new box (or the lack thereof). Thanks for sharing Sarah and best of luck!

  3. Hi Sarah – are you the same Sarah Thorneycroft who lives in Armidale NSW? I found your blog via Belinda Allen’s blog creativebecoming – and find what you have to say inspiring!
    I’m the labyrinth maker in town… and sang with Greg McPhan and the group of 7 in the Bach Chorales for the Bach Festival…

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