There’s something to be said about the whole movement in marketing to be more authentic. Brands love it because they feel they can connect better. But what about us as people? Especially those of us looking to move forward in our careers? How did we start to feel such shame in being unemployed, underemployed, or just cast aside because we weren’t using the correct keywords that HR or a recruiter was looking at to fill a position? How did it become that I was suddenly overqualified, or worse, that the time spent learning, creating, and transforming myself with new skills and opportunities became like a noose around my neck because I didn’t follow a specific path? How did everything I accomplish suddenly feel like a giant weight on my shoulder because I didn’t do XY and Z? As I read more about diversity in design and companies, I find that the reality is more that they’re looking for someone “just like them”. Perhaps someone who spent their years at a big agency working their way up. Or maybe someone with 5-7 years experience (seems to be some magic number.) I’m not a golden millenial. Or someone who has won a lot of awards at Cannes. I’ve been too busy working, learning, and living. I’ve experienced more ups than downs, but the downs have been pretty bad. Should I pretend that I wasn’t crushed when I lost the job of my dreams? Or would you like to know that I ended up landing the biggest project to date after that? I bounced. I continue to bounce. Because I love what I do. But I’m tired of pretending that I’m less than. I’m going to start wearing those experiences like a badge of honor. I know what to do when you lose a job, a parent, or an opportunity. You keep going. With more tenacity and grit than before. Because it’s what makes us more interesting people. We can connect better with others. Our friends, associates and clients. And when you come to work having had experiences in life, you become more authentic. And that can only make your work better. And that my friends, it what true authenticity is. Truth.