Day 5: Curiosity

It killed the cat and also my search for a job title.

Brad Phillips
2 min readJan 5, 2021


Photo by Shane Aldendorff on Unsplash

I’ve spent more time in my adulthood than I’d care to admit or properly account for in search of a label for myself that holistically captures my passions and professional endeavors. There is an absurdity to the importance placed upon a job title or category of output — these classifiers that follow us around on social media profiles, resumes and various other societal permutations.

Much of this need to view myself and my role in society has, I believe, been educated by my surroundings. Growing up in an agricultural Midwestern community, I adopted several personas to combat the fundamental disconnect I experienced from person to person:

  • The “Artist”: one who favored expression through mixed media and instruments over social integration.
  • The “Over-Achiever”: one who studied relentlessly for upcoming exams and counted anything excluding a “+” as a version of failure.

Of course, neither of these labels could provide a complete picture of an individual, yet having clear enough archetypes did encourage me to lean into behaviors and practices that were valuable to me in those formative years, irrespective of the environment and culture I’d happened to be born into.

The trouble with labels, in a larger scope, is that they tend to limit expectations; both those expectations we have of our potential selves and those others have of us.

More and more, in my experience, labels tend to be discouraging and ignorant of the growth and change that is inherently the human experience. It struck me, this morning, how curiosity is leading me in directions I won’t be able to ascribe to any sort of archetype. Physical fitness is taking a larger role in my day-to-day practices than it ever has, as an example. I’m reading much more in the last year than in any previous and about more diverse concepts (this week it’s been: meditation, test-driven development practices and fictional accounts of US frontier life in the early 1900s). I hadn’t written a single story for the explicit purpose of public consumption until a few days ago!

How does one categorize that which is ever-changing? For myself, I’ll stick with “Curious Human” for now and be grateful for that.



Brad Phillips

Multimedia artist and Professional Software Engineer.