Trying to tell the kids what I do for a living

a close up on a single white orchid showing the beautiful red/pink markings inside.It was hard enough in Hong Kong – what is it you do? Hard still at home when the kids ask too over the half term break – what exactly do you do that people pay you for?

Believing that different is delicious and not divergent sounds well and good, but it doesn’t make it clear what pays the bills.

I speak – errrr, yes, so do most people. I mean I speak publicly – give presentations, keynotes, talks and stuff. I’m doing a Ted X next week ( Where Stories Collide – Ted X Tallaght) and have just been invited to speak in Barcelona next March (at the 5th Conference on Social Inclusion and Education in the Performing Arts). I also write stuff for people – papers, research, publicity, reports. I facilitate things, curate things, plan things and deliver things.

But its less what I do that is the focus of my work – its more what the things are that I engage with. Everything I do tends to be in the arts and cultural sectors – but that alone isn’t specific enough to describe my approach. I like reframing things, getting people to think differently about things that maybe they’ve not really given attention to before, awakening people’s curiosity about things that they’ve previously perhaps dismissed.

I am fascinated by difference. I find ‘same’ dull and monochrome where as diversity is colour and texture, endlessly surprising and always with new things to learn. I hope that in my work I can spread some of my enthusiasms, my passions and my perspectives.

A friend in Hong Kong told me a beautiful story – the white orchid sellers on the streets are known as the ‘mobilizers of fragrance’ because they bring fragrance to wherever they go, and those who buy the white orchids bring that fragrance further as they travel. I want to be like that – taking the fragrance of diversity to new people and places, and encouraging them to take it further.

This week I have a chance to concentrate my perfume – it’s a reflective week designed to help me plan the next 6 months – where should my energies be, whats the balance I need to enable me to deliver all that I wish, where are the gaps and the spaces into which the new and the different might fall?

And also to come up with a good simple ‘elevator pitch’. After all, what am I going to tell the kids?

Photo by  jeroen_bennink and remember if you have enjoyed this and want to read more, you can subscribe to Jo Verrent’s blog by email.


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