It surely can feel like it, right?
Negative experiences with being “the odd one out” may have led you to holding aspects of yourself back that don't fully fit in with your (work) environment.
Why share things about yourself that may only confuse others?
Or worse, lead them to not taking you seriously as an expert because you have worn many different hats before (and may have a few more coming)?
I know these considerations so well from myself, and I hear them a lot from clients as well.
So I can tell you that you are not alone if you feel at a disadvantage for having worn a ton of different hats instead of pursuing a very straightforward career in one particular field. Or for being a generalist in an environment that cherishes specialists above all.
It really breaks my heart to hear people – and especially badass women – talk down the width and breadth of their interests, their talents, their passions, their experiences as if it were something to apologize for.
You may think I am naive, but I really believe that being multi-interested and a generalist actually is a superpower. And I don't say that lightly.
I grew up in Germany, and if there's a country that cherishes specialists and people with straightforward career paths above all, Germany is it. I am very used to people wondering how “such a smart person” like me could “waste her talents” by going broad instead of deep.
I am used to hearing diminishing things about my ("soft") skill sets, but it still frustrates the hell out of me – and on bad days, it makes me feel defensive. That really sucks.
Maybe that's how you feel too if, let's say, you came to tech from another industry or with a non-engineering background or if you are part of an underrepresented group in your work environment.
I am not asking you to get out there and become an obnoxious oversharer. Not at all.
But I am offering that the different experiences and perspectives you can bring to the table because you have worn many hats are added value.
True, they set you apart (further) and that's uncomfortable.
But what if it's not a problem but a good thing?
Let me know what you think!