Master of None
Starting April 6, for the next 30 days, I’m writing a brief essay every day and posting it to my Medium account in an effort to get off social media and focus on doing something good for me, both personally and professionally. To read my last essay, click here.
I’ve always worn a lot of hats.
I mean, you should see my hat collection. I’ve probably got 10 to 15 of ‘em.
It would take several different hands to list all of the programs and platforms I’ve tried out over time. From publishing platforms like Medium and YouTube to e-commerce solutions like Shopify and Squarespace to even the majority of the Adobe Creative Suite from After Effects to Dreamweaver…if you name it, I’ve probably learned a thing or two about it.
I’ve always relished the master of none lifestyle. I prefer to shun labels and instead focus on building things that create value for other people, no matter the method. That’s why when I think about myself, it’s hard to pin down exactly who I am, because it feels like I’ve had my hand in so many different things over time.
This has its downsides, however, particularly in the modern economy. Companies are looking for hyper-specialized employees that can focus on one thing and do that one thing really frickin’ well. And this dynamic is something difficult for me to swallow: It’s not that I can’t focus on one thing and match this demand, it’s that I’m so interested and passionate about a vast range of things that it feels difficult to pin me down for just one.
I think it’s why I’ve always gravitated towards small teams, most commonly found in the world of startups. Companies like mine and others I’ve worked for allow me to grow, mess up, learn, and teach myself new things. They’re always fast-paced and moving quickly, iterating on the fly, telling their story and contemplating fascinating new people and ideas. When there’s a fire, you’re expected to put it out; sometimes, you’re even expected to learn how to prevent the next fire before it even happens. Startups aren’t for everyone — some people like more rigid and structured environments — but have always felt like home to me.
This realization is certainly not a new one. For me, it’s all about finding a good in-between. How can I find a job that pays my rent, interests me, lends me some degree of creative control, and allows me to continue developing my own projects on the side? These are the questions I’ve been constantly asking myself as I figure out what comes next.