The Personal is Political is Professional

Many years ago I came across a refrigerator magnet in a quirky gift shop that I have often recalled since. On it, a line-drawn skeleton lies in repose in an open coffin; a thought bubble rising from his skull asks: “I wonder what I’m going to be when I grow up?”

To say I’m a jack-of-all-trades is an understatement. I’ve been a business consultant and a professional weaver. I’ve sold cheese and paté in a European capital. I’ve been a project manager at a translation company and I’ve sold art and antiques on the nation’s largest public television auction. I was the office manager at a textile conservation center that worked on Jackie Kennedy’s wedding dress and Babe Ruth’s baseball jersey and I conducted phone surveys of college students. The past twenty years of my professional life have been circuitous path.

While I am grateful for my broad range of marketable skills and my uncanny luck finding fascinating jobs, I’ve envied folks with a laser-like professional focus, able to immerse themselves in a body of knowledge and become a leader in an industry or organization. Most of all, I’ve envied those with a calling, with a joyful sense that their professional lives and personal interests are perfectly entwined.

Lately though I’m noticing that even in my own life, the lines between the personal and the professional — and even the political — are becoming blurred. My experience advocating for my son’s medical, behavioral and cognitive needs have actual street value, and I’m being paid to pull up a seat to the table and share what I know. The work, although not directly, is funded by policy which I in some insignificant way have tried to help sustain. Through this work, I learn of resources which will directly benefit my son and family. Suddenly, it’s all of a piece. And I like this feeling.

I’m not ashamed to say that I didn’t set out to do this. I don’t think most disability advocates did. We were all just out there, doing our thing, being a waitress or a salesperson or a book keeper, when along comes this wonderful child that changes everything. And suddenly, the Personal is Political is Professional.

Published by Cristin Lind

Facilitator, consultant, speaker for better health and care through patient-professional partnership. Passionate about helping change agents build courage and agency. She/her.

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  1. You are a Brilliance-Based Careerwoman turned Brilliance-Based Businesswoman. Congratulations!

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