(If this cover letter had a title, it would be: All I’ve ever wanted is to live a life of purpose; and yet, here I am reading the CliffNotes.)[i]
“Relationship is the key to knowledge,
and creativity is the key to the whole cosmos.”
– Matthew Fox, The Reinvention of Work
Dear Unreasonable Group,
Last week, my friend Ben gave me Bruce Mau’s Incomplete Manifesto for Growth. It was our first coffee date: we’d barely known each other a week. But it was important to him.[ii] And from our first meeting at the LinkFestival conference he got a good enough view of who I was to think I might resonate with it too.[iii]
I scanned it; words jumped out at me (think: Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind, or Cumberbatch’s Sherlock). Flipping to the second page I told him, “This definitely resonates.”
“What the hell?” he asked, “You haven’t even read it!”
I went back to the first page, and pointed at number 11: “_____________. Intentionally left blank. Allow space for the ideas you haven’t had yet, and for the ideas of others.”
I said, “I think this is genius. I can already tell it’s for me.”
If I were to write my own job description, it would include the importance of intuitive reading. I tell people that a book might be made for reading from beginning to end, but that’s not what my mind was made for. I cross-read, cross-reference, ideate, connect, and bridge narrative gaps. This job description would be a job for someone who sees both the forest and the trees, and can oscillate back and forth between large-scale vision and specific details. My zone of genius is in diving deep. Into multiple ideas. Simultaneously. With mental K’Nex sets.
Some of my unconventional skills: picking out grammar and spelling mistakes before you’ve even written them; pattern recognition; reading people; practicing Circling and other inter-subjective relational meditations[iv]; taking extensive notes; making a list and checking it thrice so all the details are covered.
Over the years, I’ve come to recognize my unique creative perspective for what it is: an asset. I don’t see content like other people might. I’m an avid reader, a professional writer, and a creative thinker – but these are just the forefront of a very different set of foundational skills. I’m a philosopher, which shapes the way I inquire, interrogate, search, question, and revolutionize possible solutions. I’ve also worked as a professional singer and actress, which I use in coaching presentation, delivery, speech and performance skills. Pair performance with philosophy, and I can watch a presentation with one lens for content, and another lens for emotional narrative design.[v]
Also, I can read a page in less than 30 seconds.
The technical things: I’ve recently worked as Lead Content Developer and Editor at Get Storied, the online school of Business Storytelling. Using my experience of 10+ years in editing, I developed membership programs, executed online events, produced team communications, and created strategic content. I demonstrated exceptional writing, editing, verbal communication, networking with external contributors and teachers, and negotiation skills with a remote team. I helped Get Storied create and maintain a consistent voice, tone, and house style, while constantly bringing our attention to our own brand guidelines. The more I read about your work at Unreasonable, the more I want to offer my skills and support to your journey.[vi]
Working for Get Storied also afforded me a background in Business Storytelling. I was responsible for curating their in-house library of assets and resources (my inner librarian is showing); this has provided me with many insights in the most effective use of storytelling in branding and marketing.[vii] Stories are how we stay human. What greater hope can we have for the future of business than that it might embrace our quality of being-as-humans-in-the-world, instead of merely consumers?
In the current digital climate, I don’t think we have time for less effective solutions. I do pay attention to a company’s tone and grammar, because it tells me whether they value an editor. I’ve spent most of my time pitching for the importance of innovative content. I’d love to focus more of my energy in actually building it, rather than fighting for it. I want to disrupt the stories we tell about things we think are impossible. I deal in potentials, and I’m always driving to a place of evolution.
How I work: I demonstrate consistency in on-going projects. I’m able to switch to fast-twitch skills for deadline sprints and tight production schedules. My roles in app development (Poptime) and a technology education start-up (One Month) allowed me to collaborate with graphic designers, coders, tech specialists, directors, product managers, and user experience designers. In short: I play very well with others. I know the value of having a posse. Especially if that posse is comprised of people who know a lot about what I might not.
As a professional researcher, scribe, and polymath, I’m applying for the position of Associate Editor and Staff Writer with you at Unreasonable. I feel like you are my people. I think we both believe in skill and magic. What a fortuitous combination.
As an inter-personal human being, I’d like to come by for a cup of tea and play with your dogs. But I’d settle for Skype or my next assignment.
Dr. Emma Sedlak[viii]
[i] Let me just tell you now: this cover letter has endnotes. You don’t have to read them: most of the important stuff happens before this. If anyone in the office a) knows the Enneagram, and b) is a number 5 (let’s say, George? Arya?), feel free to share. George and Arya might get a kick out this.
[ii] I thrive on knowing what is important to people. I’m also great in creative tissue ideation (yes, I just coined that term). If I know one book you like, chances are good that I can pull out my biblotherapy prescription pad and offer up something new. (This is one of many perks I bring to the office. Another: I’m British. So I make excellent tea.)
[iv] I would explain Circling, but you’re from Boulder. And you deal in Radical Transparency. So I’ll bet money that I’m preaching to the choir. That’s actual money, not interSubjective relational money.
[v] Okay, this is important. I think stories and human-centered design are what will drive the new economy forward. If we’re not telling stories properly (in words, in person, about our vision, about ourselves), how can we cut to the heart of authentic connection? And isn’t that what any business is about: relationship?
[vi] Yes, this absolutely includes the vision of your Manifesto. I completely geeked out over all of that.
[viii] Don’t be put off by the “Dr.” I slaved for three years to be able to use it, so of course it’s on all my credit cards. When we board planes, my husband reminds me: “Don’t raise your hand. You can’t heal people with poetry.”
Oh no? Challenge accepted.