Wikipedia defines Otaku (おたく / オタク) (oh-tah-kooh) as “a Japanese term used to refer to people with obsessive interests, particularly anime, manga or video games.” Seth Godin calls it “more than a hobby, less than an obsession.” It’s the special sauce of what makes you you. You may have noticed, in our post-industrial ueber-compartmentalized world, there’s a lot of pressure to leave your otaku at home. Conversely, there are promises that you can make loads of money doing what you love. Which may be true, even if you love something that takes lots and lots of hours to produce, and that you can buy it here, Made in China, for the price of the supplies you buy to make the thing. This article is about incorporating your otaku into your day job (or your presentation) right now or otherwise finding more time and space for this precious gift you have.
Let’s take a look at my BFF Sally, (who has not given me permission to do so.) She is Queen of HR at her company and is highly valued for that. Sally also is an amazing, multifaceted chef and craftswoman. She whips up projects like pillow cases, wall hangings, garden art, beaded scarves or delicious chicken chili every single day. And her house is immaculate and super organized (that’s a big reason why she’s able to devote so much time to her craft projects.) At work, though, you know about her art — it’s hanging on the walls of her office. She also makes things for people at work, and incorporates another aspect of her otaku by coming up with cooking contests, cooking demonstrations, exercise or dance classes for employees. Everybody knows that Sally is much more than her professional title.
Lisa Call is another case. She is a software engineer for a big company in Colorado. She is also textile artist whose work is shown and sold internationally. Part of her mystic comes from the fact that she even dyes her own fabric before working with it to create wall art. And she is a generous mentor to other artists. Her computer expertise and artistic prowess is not only a phenomenal combination of skills but these different aspects of her self make her better at both activities. She has managed to work her schedule so that she keeps her big $ day job and yet she nourishes her own textile art and the artists she mentors, as well. As you can imagine, Lisa is incredibly organized.
Seth Godin is a foodie, and you don’t have to read many of his articles to know this about him. Charleston-based social media maven, Laura Catherine Otero, also makes and sells jewelry and sometimes we get to see photos of it or hear about it on her blog.
Think about how for decades business Men used their interest in sports to spice up their presentations or seal business deals. The good news is that sports is not the only socially-acceptable otaku in town.
If you speak another language, love to cook, write poetry, collect butterflies, homeschool your children, tell incredible jokes or stories…..all of this can be used to make your life, and your presentation, more interesting.
Whatever your otaku, don’t keep it in the closet. It’s a fascinating part of you.