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There’s no such thing as Unicorns.

There’s no such thing as Unicorns.

“Kid, you’re gonna starve. Go into advertising, that’s where the money’s at.”

Those were the words of wisdom my college professor shared with me all those years ago when I told him I wanted to be a cartoon illustrator. I took his advice even though I knew it wasn’t right for me. I guess it was fear that kept me from following my heart. I figured the likelihood of making a decent living drawing cartoons was pretty slim. I couldn’t have been more wrong because after I left my job in advertising I spent the next 20-something years enjoying a successful freelance career working as a cartoon Illustrator with companies like Disney, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network.

I have no regrets about the years I spent in advertising. I use many of those skills everyday when I do the layout, design and marketing for my current position at Tilt. For years it was one or the other, are you a cartoonist or a designer? There seemed to be very little demand for artists who did both. I guess you could say I’ve come full circle working with Tilt.

People have a tendency to want to categorize skill sets, it’s just easier that way. “Oh, he’s a programmer, she’s a marketing expert”, but that’s not where the truth lies. Most people have multiple talents but unfortunately not everyone has the opportunity to explore them. That’s not the case here at Tilt365. We encourage the idea of using all our talents and it’s not always what you’d expect. Yeah, I am a cartoonist but I’m also Tilt’s creative director, two rolls I’m very comfortable with. Our Chief Marketing Officer just happens to also be a talented programmer and is in the process of building a multifunctional website. Our IO psychologist has a background in theater and uses it to produce beautiful voice-overs for our educational videos. The skills we have do not go to waste. Nobody is confined by a single discipline.

In the recruitment world they refer to people with highly specialized multiple skill sets as unicorns because they are rare and hard to find. I understand the term but never liked it. Unicorns aren’t real, they don’t actually exist. People with multiple skill sets do. They are very real and they have a lot to offer. I think a better assessment might be the platypus because they a lot of different things all rolled into one. Oh sure, a platypus might not be as elegant as a unicorn but that’s okay because they’re real.

Look around, you might be surprised to find there are a lot more platypuses out there than you think and here’s the really cool part, if you’re a frustrated platypus take heart because your time is coming, employers are starting to recognize your value. Your multiple skill sets are now in high demand.