It seems like much of my internet world is up at arms about numbers. While numbers are really awesome, they give you a false sense of something. And that something is usually a feeling of superiority, accomplishment, failure, strife, and who knows what else. (And yes, this is one of the reasons why I'm protesting Klout, and while you should consider doing so too, that's not actually the point of this post.)
You can take numbers at face value (yes, pun intended) but numbers are but one part of the story. Case in point: I am 24 years old. I started my first big kid job at 22 and got offered my first full time position (this one) in the same year. I thought for a really long time if it was a good idea or a bad idea to tell the world these details, because like it or not, numbers cause people to draw conclusions.
Are these numbers pertinent? Yes and no. It's quite nice to tell folks that I have a job that I love, and I alwaysalwaysalways indicate how completely lucky I am to have any sort of job, much less a job I adore, in this ridiculous economy... and along with these things, I always state my class year because, damn, am I proud to be a member of the class of 2010. It's a reassurance to share with fellow soon-to-be/recent graduates that it's possible to hop along from college into a job that you enjoy. But even in writing this blog post right now, I still think twice about announcing my age to the big world, and after reading many many many (yes, all those manys are different blog posts) of the posts that popped up last week and this past weekend regarding the ideal age of social media managers, I know why I bite my tongue sometimes.
What doesn't matter as much as the world thinks:
What actually does matter:
Your passion. I loved the crap out of my major, and boy am I proud of my BA, but my passion was not just my major. My passion is more than cinema studies, and best of all, everything I have done in my life can contribute to the creative things I could do within that major and more. I appreciate the liberal arts for myriad reasons, but the top one right now is that by taking the wide variety of courses that exist at this fabulous school that tapped into one interest or another of mine, I've figured out how I can draw connections between all parts of the world, all kinds of content, and more. And that is freaking cool.
Your desire to learn. I don't care what age you are, but in this era, if you're not open to learning something new, you've stopped growing. However you choose demonstrate your desire to learn more — with more degrees, with asking more questions, with reflection — that will translate accordingly.
What you actually make. Or perhaps I should say what you actually do matters too. To paraphrase a Twitter pal, Rob, are you producing good content? And to paraphrase myself, what have you already done and what do you still want to do? Experiences, self created or otherwise, and how much time you've spent is a sign of interest, dedication, and your developing skill sets.
Someone who can identify your passion and help ignite even more. This can be a function of a good employer if a job is what you're after, but more holistically, what I am referring to is a mentor. My boss-dads Cary and Ben are two of the most inspirational people I've ever encountered and working with them is the most defining part of my late college and early post-college career. Their job, in part, is to identify raw talent and empower those folks to do more, and I am constantly mind-boggled by their ability to take good people under wing and serve as a set of supports they reach their great places (quite humbly, I include myself in this under-wing group).
I couldn't continue with my life until I did a bit of writing about all these broad claims that have so affected me recently, so I know that I didn't cover all the things that do matter, so please add more in the comments below.