When The Job Defines The Person

Mark LeverageWritten by Mark Leveridge, Strolling Magician

For many of us, our jobs are very important. Not just as a means of earning money but because of the status perhaps that it affords us. If you are the CEO of a big company, for instance, that gives you a clout that you wouldn’t have if you just worked on the shop floor. For some people their job defines their place in society, it reflects the level of success that they have had up to that point in their life, and it gives them large elements of self esteem.

But there are some jobs which confer an even greater level of status on the person doing it, jobs which become so closely associated with the doer that the job actually starts to define that individual, making the occupation and the person one and the same.

I think I have one such job. Being a professional magician is not something that you come across very often. When youngsters are considering their job options, it’s highly unlikely that any careers advisor is going to say, “Oh, and have you considered being a professional magician?”

The fact is, being a magician is not just a job, it does become an identity. The skill set required to perform magic is considered by most people to be unusual, often interesting, and certainly not run-of-the-mill. It is almost as if you don’t choose magic, magic chooses you, and certainly my association with it goes right back to when I was just 6 years of age, a time at which I most certainly wasn’t considering my future career options.

There are advantages and disadvantages to this situation. The main disadvantage is that when you are not working and are out socialising or trying to relax, you are still the magician. So if you are at a party and someone asks you what you do for a job, the moment that you explain that you are a conjuror, you cease to be just another guy with a job, you instantly transform into this Harry Potter like being! Usually people hope that you will immediately start performing miracles for them, and you can’t avoid it by saying, “Sorry, I only do that stuff between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday”, because it just doesn’t work like that – the person and the job are permanently welded together.

But there is a big upside to this situation, and that is that the novelty and memorable nature of the job helps to make you memorable too. At the networking groups I attend I often get people who comment, “Oh, yes, I remember you, you’re the magician.” Notice that they don’t comment that I am the person who does magic for a living, but I am the magician. See, job and person inextricably linked. Very helpful!

The wider point about all this is that one way to be memorable is to try to get people to identify what you do with you personally. Even if you do something that many others do too, if you succeed in making yourself the high profile ‘go-to’ person for that line of work, you will reap the benefits, because others will start to think of you first if they need that product or service. People prefer to do business with people, and so linking your job indelibly with you personally should help to ensure that you get more than your fair share of enquiries.

Others have succeeded in doing this. Colonel Sanders and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Richard Branson and Virgin. David Beckham and football. These people are the faces and the spirit behind their businesses, even though they end up being huge brands. David Beckham has retired from playing football now, but there’s probably hardly a person left in the world who doesn’t know who he is and what he did for a living. The job and the person, tied together in people’s minds.

For over 30 years I have been earning my living from magic, and I do feel that what I do is not really a job at all but is more an extension of my personality, of who I am. No, you can’t easily turn it on and off, but I love the fact that my networking colleagues all refer to me as the magician because let’s face it, most business people would kill for that level of instant recognition!

You can find further information about Mark here: http://goo.gl/kji4tv

About tpearce2012

Works for Gravitas Recruitment SW, specialising in Accountancy, Finance and Office Support roles in the South West.
This entry was posted in Career Advice, General Advice, Job Searching, Social Media, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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