What’s Your Job Again?

market signI don’t know about you, but I have always had a hard time explaining to my family what I do for a living. Well, there was a few years where I was working in an accountant’s office – but apart from that, my working life has been a mystery to my parents.

At family BBQs I would find myself “dumbing down” my job role to explain it to uncles and aunts. I would rephrase, repeat and reinterpret every new job role at each and every family gathering. In the end I gave up.

Thankfully, these days I no longer also have to explain what “blogging” is. Even my mother seems to understand blogging.

But marketing, branding and even advertising still seems to confound everyone (despite the best intentions of The Gruen Transfer). And I am sure, next Christmas, I will get the same old question – “what’s your job again?”.

7 comments

  1. I had this problem when I was staying home with the kids and would dumb down my area of work, land contamination assessment and management. Luckily soon after I started looking for work, I sat next to somebody at a party, who knew what I did, and I got hired a week later.

  2. It also reminded me of my Scottish grandmother, whose only concern was that I get any job. Living in a working class community through the Great Depression and World Wars will do that to you.

  3. I can remember in my 20s constantly being asked when I would be getting married. These can be conversation killers 😉

  4. And the old ‘what would you know, you just play on Facebook all day’ from my old sales reps never gets old either!

  5. Oh yes – this is way too familiar. Not only don’t they understand, but they believe what we do is easy. You come home exhausted from a full-on day of meetings and deadlines but no one believes you’ve worked hard cause – apparently – we spend all day tweeting and blogging which is fun, right?
    I get told I have a cushy job all the time by people who – although they may work hard between 9-5 being a bricklayer or whatever – get to switch off out of hours and never so much as look at a brick. Instead we continue producing content, reading journals, participating in networking groups and churning ideas through our heads every waking moment. We’re still scribbling ideas on the back of napkins at dinner. Who do you know who still slaps mortar on bricks at a family party? 😉

  6. Ah yes. Man, this one hits close to home. I’m always backing up several steps to give context to my job and responsibilities, and I still don’t explain it very well. And I still get the sidelong glances that say to me “ah, you’re one of *those* creepy internet nerd types.”
    I wonder if my kid will have the kind of job that even *I* won’t understand.
    What’s interesting though? I visited my 67-year-old Dad over vacation this last week and he inherently “got” my job. Wonder why that is.

  7. I am a fundraising consultant and while most people have some idea of what fundraising is, it’s not a very positive impression. My mother regularly tells her friends that I “beg for money” as a job.
    So now that I am getting into raising money through social media, I guess explaining my job is only going to get harder, huh?