Sarabeth Berk: What is a Hybrid Professional?

January 12, 2022

Podcast Episode 2: What is a Hybrid Professional?

In this episode of The Campfire Circle, Tania talks to Dr. Sarabeth Berk, Creative Disruptor, Expert on Hybrid Professional Identity, Leader of Growth at Day One, Author of ‘More Than My Title,’ and TEDx Speaker.

As social impact leaders, we wear a WHOLE LOT of hats (which makes it hard to explain what we truly do!) In this episode, Sarabeth covers how you can discover your unique value and communicate your true professional identity as a hybrid professional. 

“A hybrid professional defies traditional job titles because they work at the intersections of disparate identities. Hybrids integrate their work identities together to create an entirely new identity. This becomes their truest professional identity.” 

Sarabeth’s goal is to help people discover, articulate, and brand their hybridity. Being more than your job title helps maximize engagement, belonging, and of course – supercharging your personal brand! 

Everyone wins when we see each other for our full professional identity.

Highlights from the podcast episode: 

Image says: “We talked about, what is a hybrid professional; multiple professional identities and how to find yours; how to fully describe who you are and what you do; the 4 questions to help you discover your professional identities; Sarabeth’s framework; does the career ladder still exist? What does that look like now?”

What is a hybrid professional?  [01:44]

There are some people who blend all the hats they wear, which makes them a new kind of worker … but they don’t necessarily know how to express it. Think of someone who has multiple professional identities and works at the intersection of those identities. There’s an integration rather than a separation of those identities. 

As Sarabeth shares, she thought she was an outlier. She kept feeling boxed in and pigeon-holed, and knew there was so much more she could bring the table but didn’t know where she fit! What she now knows is that was a professional identity crisis. That burning desire to figure out who she was became her dissertation. After she went on a journey to study who she really was, she came to the realization that many people are definitely more than their job title and struggle to explain their actual hybrid identity to others. 

Multiple professional identities and how to find the ones you truly are [06:18]

This work is part personal decoding and part personal branding of who you are in your professional world. We all have many identities, but folks haven’t stopped to address which are the foundational identities that make up the ingredient list of your hybridity. This work is about coming into alignment with yourself. 

How to fully describe who you are and what you do [09:30] and the 4 questions to help you discover your professional identities [11:40]

Sarabeth offers a group course to fully discover and explain who we are as hybrid professionals. A collaborative aspect to this process can be really helpful.  Questions you can begin to ask yourself are: 

  1. Where are you now? 
  2. How do you see yourself? 
  3. Who are you when you’re in your flow? When you’re following your passion and purpose?
  4. When you’re consciously aware of your expertise, what do you call yourself?

New keywords and themes will emerge from this process. Often, Sarabeth sees people lighting up and realizing – YES – that’s really me! There’s also a lot of storytelling present during this process. People have a hard time explaining what they do, so you can back into it with stories, and feelings, and experiences.

Sarabeth’s framework to create your hybrid professional introduction or elevator pitch [14:55]

“What do you do?” – we’re never going to get rid of this question, yet it’s such an old way of looking at people. In Sarabeth’s elevator pitch handout, she covers a three-part process. You start with an intro, expressing that you’re a hybrid professional. Then, you break it down into the individual identities that would be familiar for the listener. Part three is giving a one sentence definition of what your hybrid professional means: what you stand for when you’re in your hybridity. 

Usually people say, “tell me more” when they hear the pitch! 

Do you need a degree to validate your expertise? [16:26]

(Short answer: no!) 

Essentially, the way you demonstrate your ability validates, substantiates, and demonstrates your expertise. The stories that tie into your hybridity and reputation building can also validate your authority.  You can have whatever degree you have, but validating your expertise comes from mapping what you do to who you say you are.  

Does the career ladder still exist?  What does that look like now? [21:25]

(Short answer: no!) 

Ladders are straight, but we develop in a non-linear way. Over 40-50 years of being a working professional, you’re going to have multiple jobs and second and third careers. If we can’t reimagine ourselves, we’re going to get stuck. 

People are waking up to the fact that their jobs don’t match their values and they’re looking for more fulfillment in their work. As you re-evaluate your own belief system, you’re going to be changing your identity. If you feel like you don’t belong at work or wondering what you want to do next in your career, it’s a great moment to consider: who do I want to be? Identity work is a part of renaming and creating the next “you!”  

Robert Kegan’s five orders of consciousness [25:18]

Most people get to Stage 3, where we get to see ourselves the way the world sees us. But when you start to pull out and say, “What if I’m not who everyone says I am?” – you can grow past that level. At Stage 4, you develop self-authorship. At Stage 5, you know how to play in and out and be who you want to be within that. 

But we’re not taught how to develop self-authorship.  It takes asking ourselves really reflective questions (often for the first time) to wake up to ourselves. How can we get beyond claiming our industry skills and actually settling into our true identity? This work helps us see who we are without the labels others have placed on us.  

How would the world change if everybody would lean into their hybrid identity? [27:30]

This process would everyone self-actualize. When you know yourself, you have more awareness of who you are in the world and you can better articulate it, communicate it, and help people see your gifts. You can fulfill your full potential and do the work you were destined to do!

Resources from this episode:

To get the book More Than My Title or download Sarabeth’s free resources, visit her shop at morethanmytitle.com/shop

Connect with Sarahbeth Berk

LinkedIn: Sarabeth Berk

Instagram: @morethanmytitle

Website: sarabethberk.com

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Sarabeth Berk: What is a Hybrid Professional?
Image says: “That burning desire to figure out who I was eventually became this whole dissertation where I studied: What is my professional identity? How am I more than my job title? Am I the only one struggling? – by Sarabeth Berk”

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