There's this professional identity limbo I've been in for several years now since I no longer practice design on a day to day, and my area of responsibility is something I never thought will be my main gig: business development.
While I was explaining what I do now, he said: “So basically, this!” pointing between the two beers on the table, and us having a conversation.
After we had a laugh about it, this simple joke made me look at my work in a different light as for the most part I struggled with accepting that this is basically what I do now.
I've recently come to terms that there are two ways you can do your work:
I was never comfortable with what's traditionally considered sales and marketing, which are a big part of business development.
Almost all of it feels weird and dishonest. The advertising, self praise, cold outreach, buying awards, paying for placements, etc. and I gave myself a hard time for not wanting to do these things. I honestly felt like I wasn't doing my job the right way, because I refuse to do these things.
I was stuck (not) doing my work as others said it should be done, and it made me feel like an impostor for the longest time.
Now, I'm finally comfortable with the fact that I just do my job differently, and that I don't need to conform to what's considered “best practices” in order to do my job well. My strengths lie elsewhere, and I need to double down on them, and leave the "right way" to other people who are more comfortable with it.
Whatever you do, do you.
Personal takeaway: it's OK to follow along while you learn if that's what you need to do, but don't get stuck thinking that there's only one way to do things.