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Posts Tagged ‘identity’

generation-y1Neil Gaiman’s comic collection titled “A Game of You,” explored the complex subjects of identity, imagination and history through a diverse group of female characters (a lesbian couple, a drag queen, a witch and a girl named Barbie to be exact).

Ok, why am I talking about this besides blabbing my fandom for all things Gaiman?

As a writer, Gaiman eloquently plays with the idea of how much imagination shapes identity. How we imagine ourselves can be so different from how we appear to others and who we want to be can contrast so vastly from who we really are.

Yes. All that in a comic book.

In any case, Gaiman’s story got me to thinking how identity has changed for Generation Y and how it will drastically change even more in the future.

Gen Y’s identity is tightly tethered to more conscious action. We are much more attentive to how others perceive us and what we imagine for ourselves. It’s a trippy trio that continues to redefine  sex, race and culture.

Therefore, several versions of our identity co-exist interdependently of the other. In other words, when girls channel their inner bitch,  Beyonce emerges with her Sasha Fierce persona or guys flex machismo – it’s all about channeling those multiple identities that reside within our souls, whether we need them all the time or not.

Generation Y is more comfortable absorbing multiple identities – being several ideas at once instead of becoming one abstract notion.

The compelling part is that we will be much better at communicating our brand, personalities and messages because we are more secure with having multiple connections to different ideas. The steady, linear stream of identity morphs into an ever widening circle.

We, on the other hand, are more likely to struggle with our past mistakes. We won’t be content to leave them as footnotes in history. Instead, we’ll analyze them into a series of multi-layered experiences (and even blog about them, if possible).

Our minds are much more invested in catharsis than previous generations.

Generation Y establishes more fluidity when it comes to career, love and living life. Although, being connected to so much seems to offer a multitude of possibilities – it gets overwhelming.

Instead of having fewer answers, we ask more questions.

The ambiguity gets…bigger.

Yet, I look forward to the bigger ambiguities because they’ll connect to new ideas. They will allow me to explore my individuality on a larger scale – a different scale.

A generation of people who are comfortable with living inside many identities means we are hungrier to establish our own individual connection with so many more ideas.

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jerry-yang-and-yahooJerry Yang’s recent departure as CEO of Yahoo has sent a long awaited cry of relief from investors and Yahoo insiders alike.

Although the bittersweet ending for Yang means he is no longer in charge of Yahoo’s strategic plans, he will remain “Chief Yahoo” while helping the board look for his replacement.

In the meantime, take heed of some lessons from Mr. Yang and Yahoo’s business debacle.

1. Being too close

When we literally put our blood, sweat and tears into a project, we have an even more difficult time letting our baby go and “grow up.” 

Don’t let ego get in the way of good judgment. Analysts, Yahoo insiders and tech pundits generally agree that Yahoo is choking because of Yang’s passion and closenessto the quirky internet start up turned struggling web search behometh.

After all, he had been with Yahoo from day one. In this case, many believe Yang missed a fundamental opportunity to seize Microsoft’s unsolicited bid to purchase Yahoo for $44 billion.

Yang thought it seriously undervalued the company and refused to sell – some contend that it’s the most boneheaded move in tech history.

Sometimes, taking an objective “cold” look at the reality of your professional circumstances is the best way to move your career (or business) forward.

Passion is great, but you can’t afford to have it undermine clear business objectives. After all, it’s dollars and cents that keeps a business in business.

2. Having an identity crisis

Wenda Millard, ex-head of sales spoke candidly about Yahoo’s inability to recognize it’s own brand identity at a media summit. Commenting on Microsoft’s earlier bid for Yahoo, Millard said,

It was absolutely inevitable and predictable. Yahoo lost sight of who they are and who their customers are. Yahoo’s perception is that their only competitor is Google.

But 95 percent of their revenue comes from advertising – so their competitors are really the broadcast TV networks.

They think they’re in the search game, when they should really be in the brand advertising game.

Expect to evolve and grow throughout your career. When we suffer, however, from an identity meltdown – we lose our way and become blind to our own “professional brand.”

Growth is impeded and careers stall. Inevitably, we lose our consistency and you need consistency in order to maintain identity.

3. Crippling creativity

During Terry Semel’s tenure at Yahoo, individual departments were rewarded by their own efforts to produce profits. These controls were created to jump start innovation on underperforming units.

When we make our careers only about getting ahead – we eventually lose steam. Thus, robbing us of any genuine professional innovation that could potentially develop.

Although Yahoo saw vast financial improvements, unfortunately, they bred another problem: departments become more  territorial and less willing to exchange ideas.

It led to a breakdown in team collaboration and company ingenuity overall.

If all your inspiration is focused towards “winning” you lose the magic that comes with creating for creativity’s sake. Collaboration and learning are the core roots for creating good ideas.

When you delete those concepts from the equation, you lock others out and impede your own “creative self-interest.”

4. Changing too slowly or not changing enough

Yahoo was way too slow to respond to its competition, Google. So slow in fact, that analysts opined that Yahoo could never catch up no matter what it did.

When we stubbornly stick to the “basics” of what we know and don’t adapt quickly enough to evolving industries, changing trends or work on developing our skills – expect professional trajectory to tank.

Recognize that careers are fluid – not static.

Yang recognized Yahoo’s need to change, but didn’t implement any concrete strategies on how to get there.

Change is not negotiable in context to career fulfillment and development. The same goes for business survival.

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???My name has two realities. In one, I am a lawyer living in Chicago who specializes in commercial litigation. In another, I’m a writer living in Chicago who enjoys blogging.

The two realities are separate and real – I find it eerie all the same.

While still in high school, I applied to get my state ID and was forced to bring my mother and a yearbook to verify my identity.

It seems that the other Raven Moore’s picture was mistakenly connected with my information.

So, instead of my information popping up in the system, some “other” Raven Moore would pop up with my personal information attached to their picture.

Another time, a few years ago, I went to my alma mater’s yearly alumni event. A fellow alumni noticed my nametag and commented that he worked with a “Raven Moore” – but thought it was funny I wasn’t actually her.

“Small world,” he says.

Is it really a small world when someone else has the same name as you?

When I make appointments at my salon, they have to ask me which Raven Moore I am. They have several.

Another time, while working with a Chicago literacy program, I received an email detailing a list of volunteers and members. The email asked to make sure name spellings and bio information were correct.

I complained that my information was wrong – hey, I’m not a lawyer!

In reality, the aforementioned attorney Raven Moore, was a member of the organization as well – they forget to put the other Raven Moore (me) on the list.

Weird.

And annoying as hell, too.

Besides feeling like my life is occasionally re-enacting that weird X-Files episode where Kathy Griffin played a psychotic twin, I don’t really have any interest in differentiating my name.

I think it would just get even more confusing: R. Moore, Raven A. Moore, Raven A.M. Moore (yes, I have two middle names) – it’ll just make things unnecessarily complicated.

Briefly, I thought about changing my name to a symbol like that guy Prince, but even he got wise to how stupid that seemed.

And, what’s even more disturbing is when I Googled my name last year, the first few sites that popped up linked to a porn star and kindergarten beauty pageant queen.

What were my parent’s thinking?! This takes hating my name to a whole new level.

Despite otherwise, I do like my name. It suits me. It’s also memorable, easy to spell and poetic.

I haven’t thought much about the other Raven Moores in Chicago who get confused for me (if ever).

It’s enough trouble trying to keep my hairdresser from dying my hair blond because the other Raven Moore liked it so much.

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