Help, I Have Too Many Interests!

D5f5e21ba165bc1f9e0fb8cf93d8621d?s=47 Jessica Yang
September 26, 2018

Help, I Have Too Many Interests!

First presented at Grace Hopper Celebration 2018 in Houston, Texas

More resources at www.jessicayang.org/tmi

Do you have too many interests? Join the club! "Multipotentialites" have highly diverse interests and passions, significant skill in several, and an almost pathological need for variety in everything they do. We are highly valuable employees, yet largely ignored by conventional career advice. In this talk, we'll learn about our unique skills and challenges, and explore potential solutions in the context of a tech career.

D5f5e21ba165bc1f9e0fb8cf93d8621d?s=128

Jessica Yang

September 26, 2018
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Transcript

  1. HELP, I HAVE TOO MANY INTERESTS! #GHC 18 Jessica Yang

    | @krysjez
  2. so…what do you do?

  3. None
  4. None
  5. None
  6. There are words for people like us Top row: Sher

    (2007), Alboher (2007), Wapnick (c. 2010)
  7. multipotentialite First used by Frederickson & Rothney (1972) Popularized by

    Wapnick (c. 2010)
  8. My definition… #GHC 18 someone with many diverse interests

  9. My definition… #GHC 18 someone with many diverse interests, significant

    skill in several
  10. My definition… #GHC 18 someone with many diverse interests, significant

    skill in several, and a need for variety in their pursuits
  11. None
  12. Multipotentialites make very valuable employees #GHC 18

  13. Multipotentialites are more creative #GHC 18 Uzzi et al. (2013)

  14. Multipotentialites are more creative #GHC 18 Photo: Helayne Stillings Creativity

    comes from a conflict of ideas. - Donatella Versace
  15. Multipotentialites get more practice with learning how to learn #GHC

    18 learning curve
  16. Multipotentialites know about a lot of things, which is generally

    useful #GHC 18 Finally, a use for my minor in East Asian Studies Why is our app rating so bad in Japan???
  17. None
  18. Society isn’t set up for people who want to do

    “too” many things #GHC 18 Jack of all trades, master of none, oftentimes better than master of one
  19. Growing idea that only STEM fields are worth knowing about

    #GHC 18
  20. Non-STEM interests = potential loss of credibility for women/minorities #GHC

    18 wow he’s so well rounded I code, but I’m very design-oriented
  21. Non-STEM interests = potential loss of credibility for women/minorities wow

    he’s so well rounded #GHC 18 so…can she actually code? I code, but I’m very design-oriented
  22. #GHC 18 ✓One (1) full time corporate job in Big

    Tech ✓First step on permanent “career path” ✓Same-ish job description (just bigger) till I die ✓Defines my moral worth ✓My deepest passion and reason for living clueless college student
  23. Because of these cultural molds, multipotentialites face… #GHC 18 Burnout

    Anxiety Impostor Syndrome
  24. #GHC 18 None of these things has to be true

  25. Start being more intentional by mapping your interests #GHC 18

    Teaching/Mentoring Art-making Design/Organizing Interactive Tech Perception and Truth . . .
  26. You have options Super variety job Parallel jobs Serial jobs

    Good Enough job declining significance of job
  27. OPTION 1 Find (or create) a job with enough variety

    built in #GHC 18 x y Tech :-)
  28. #GHC 18 Design Organizing Stuff Research/ Writing Tech Program Manager*

    *at Microsoft. On my team. Varies by company.
  29. #GHC 18 Liza Knipscher, medical app/game developer at Barrow Neurological

    Institute Biology Visual Art Tech Medical Application Developer
  30. #GHC 18 OPTION 2 Get the variety you need from

    multiple formal jobs (in parallel)
  31. Pinky Weitzman, Chief Digital Officer/rock multi-instrumentalist

  32. Lyndsey Scott, iOS developer/model/actor

  33. #GHC 18 OPTION 3 Have multiple formal jobs (serial) Zach

    Weinersmith, Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal #2722 (you don’t even need to master each job)
  34. OPTION 4 Reject the myth of “passion” – it’s okay

    to have a Good Enough Job #GHC 18 Photos (c/w): WeWork, Wright Foundation, WeWork again (sorry), Gecko&Fly
  35. No one right way to do this Super variety job

    Parallel jobs Serial jobs Good Enough job Formal PM job Casual freelancing Work-life balance > “cool” job Never bring work home
  36. No matter which path(s) you choose, you’re very valuable Super

    variety job Parallel jobs Serial jobs Good enough job
  37. Society needs to change too, so get others on board!

    #GHC 18 Photo: Nathan Rupert
  38. Actual Microsoft Office®

  39. Being a multipotentialite is about embracing a fluid notion of

    identity #GHC 18
  40. In conclusion #GHC 18 1. Multipotentialites are real and valuable

    2. Your career doesn’t have to fit a mold • Consider an “everything” job • or multiple jobs (serial/parallel) • and no shame in a good enough job 3. Don’t let society get you down @krysjez jessicayang.org/tmi  will post links and interviews someday