These students, one in particular, asked how could she establish her professional persona if she hadn’t experienced the professional world yet. She was struggling with establishing her baseline of who she was, because quite frankly she didn’t have a clue. It really got me thinking, at 19, as much as I hate to admit it, I didn’t have a damn clue of who was personally, let alone professionally. How could I expect them to whip their first professional persona into shape. I have ranted and raved about how critical the persona process is when establishing your boss path, so I obviously scared them a bit. I had to think on my feet and reel it back, because YOU CANNOT SKIP THE PERSONA WRITING!
If you cannot answer all 19 questions, that’s right there are 19 questions in the exercise for those of you who still have not read the revolt, we’ve got to work in reverse and we’re going to do it twice. Missy Elliot has been flipping and reversing it for years, so follow her lead. You need to look at this exercise as an aspirational persona and a cautionary persona:
- Who do you want to be (short term, no more than 1-2 years down the line, you know how I feel about long term professional goal setting: trash)
- Who do you NOT want to be (I hate living in fear, but we’ve got to establish the middle of the road for pre-professional revolters).
From there you can forecast who you will be professionally (in a persona context) and what behaviors you have professionally that may trigger you to skew towards your cautionary persona. I think it would be fun to name them both, for example on a good day it would be today I’m feeling more Kris than Kathy or more Gayle than Gina. You get where I’m going here, documenting your traits because no matter how hard to try to fight it: you have to eventually write your own persona.
My advice would be that after 90 days of your first job, your first internship, or 90 days from reading the revolt you should already be tracking the hell out of your path. By day 90 you will have practiced persona writing and evaluation with an aspirational approach and a cautionary one. It’s now your time to shine.
Moral of the story: you cannot escape the persona. You may need to readjust your first go at, but personas have the most purpose in the entire book.
Put your fears down, flip it and reverse it.