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CAREER FREESTYLING

IT OCCURRED to me the other morning as I stood in front of the mirror pinning up strands of hair in yet another random design that my approach to work should really start reflecting my approach to hairstyling.

There is no set style, no regular routine and I like to keep it varied. It can be sleek and neat or curly and chaotic.I have about half a dozen set pieces but these are regularly reinvented as I experiment with different clips, shapes and products.

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Many people have the same style day in, day out. They may change it every six months or so with a different colour or cut but within these periods they have the same steady look.

My hair (and to a certain extent my makeup, nose jewellery, spectacles and clothing) changes daily, so much so that people regularly don’t recognise me and I have been accused (respectfully) of being a chameleon. At one stage I alternated blue, honey and purple contact lenses so I could have a different eye colour every day.

I relish this. The last thing I want is to be staring back at the same old thing all the time. I don’t take comfort in the status quo.

And so I have come to the realisation that I need to take the same approach to my career. It needs to be eclectic, it needs to be random and it needs to be whatever takes my fancy. Sometimes this will be ordered and uniform – and that’s okay. But other times it will be wild and messy. This might work out to be surfer-chick messy but it may also be dragged-through-a-hedge-backwards messy but that’s also okay.

For far too long I have fallen back on my default style. An organised and structured manager (that’ll be the straightened hair, rigid with hairspray) who is reliable and gets the job done. Pile me up with administrative tasks and I’ll rapidly tick them off one by one.

But where is the creativity in that? Where is the side scrunch, top knot or undone bun? Where are the fluffy features, investigative reports, human interest podcasts and book proposals?

I haven’t worn my default hairstyle for a long time. In fact my default has been no default, just whatever comes to mind that day. But it is all organically mine, not based on a picture in a magazine or the latest celebrity style trend. I don’t conform and I never have. I rebel against fashions and trends so much so that in the past (to my partner’s horror) I had my long blonde locks chopped to a boyish brunette crop simply because I didn’t want to look like everybody else.

And so to be true to myself (a clichéd phrase I know) I need to embrace some career freestyling. I am a reliable storyteller but the types of stories I tell, for whom and in what medium can never be pinned down or straightened out.

Lily Canter

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