A delicious steak is lightly seasoned. Middle Eastern chicken might be zataar-seasoned. A nonprofiteer in their early 30s — not seasoned. I learned this lesson the hard way a while back on a resume-updating exercise.
A friend was helping to improve my materials, and poked at how I boldly described myself as a “seasoned nonprofit leader,” which was a stretch. At best, he clarified, I was “experienced.” That new, accurate resume put me on a pretty awesome new path, though it came with some hits to my title. I realized then, titles are just words, and it built perspective for me on how I interpret my work, and how I represent myself in the field.
I’m sure, like me, you see evidence of it all over LinkedIn and the interwebs: people with modest experience who drink a bit too much Narcissism Juice. I find it sad on a practical level, because I can actually see potential in some of these folks… maybe five or 10 years down the road, with the right leadership.
Maybe I’m biased, given my background — I’m a recovering nonprofit arts producer-turned-fundraiser. And boy, if you ever want to see ego in action, look no further than creative nonprofits. Perhaps we do that ourselves, and perhaps it’s bred by competition, but I think always and in all ways we should strive to be better, not just “better than.”
Heck, maybe it’s as simple as reading more Jim Collins. Maybe all we need is that right leader, or opportunity. But one thing I know for sure — a steak ain’t ready til it’s ready, and that just takes time.