so, what do you do?
Ahhhh yes, the question we all love to hate (yet still seem to ask anyway).
Some of us may even plan our entire lives around having a decent answer to this question!
For those of us who have a job that we aren't totally stoked about, or are unemployed, or in transition, or have multiple streams of income, or perhaps have a job that is just plain hard to explain ('cause let's face it, most of us are dynamic people living dynamic lives, and we can't just sum up what we do in a couple of words)... you may dread this question!!
In this post, I have outlined some steps on how to come up with a GREAT answer to this question, one that will rock your world, you won't feel embarrassed about, and will encompass what you truly do in this world more than just some meaningless job title.
Step #1: List ALL the things you do.
And I mean EVERYTHING. Are you a parent? Gardener? Lover? Soccer player? Hiker? Salsa dancer? Baker?
Put it down in one giant fantastical list. Once you have your initial list, see if you can break it down even further, asking what specific tasks/activities you do in each role.
For example, say one thing you do is that you are a Mom. What specifically do you do as a Mom? (aka. chauffer your kids around? Read bedtime stories? Plan holidays with your kids?)
If you are unemployed, do NOT put unemployed on this list. That is not something that you DO, and it implies you are not currently offering anything to the world (which is completely disempowering and absolutely untrue!).
Step #2: Focus on the parts of what you do that you want to do more of.
What things on the list you made above do you absolutely love doing? Circle your top 5.
You might also want to include in your top 5 any activities that you did at previous jobs in which you truly thrived.
Step #3: OWN what you do.
There is a common misconception out there that we have to get paid for something in order to claim that we do/are this or that. Otherwise, we might be considered a "fraud".
This, however, is a myth. You DO NOT have to get paid for something in order to say that you do it. There are no such rules around this and if, at first, you feel like a fraud by totally owning what you do and love, then please know that this is very common; all you need to do is stick it out for a while and eventually you will start to truly BECOME what you say you are (maybe you'll even start getting paid for it!).
For example, if you are someone who is unemployed, but likes to blog for fun... then call yourself a blogger! Or perhaps you are a telemarketer that absolutely loves to grow food and dreams of making a living this way... then call yourself a farmer & a telemarketer! (OR even just a farmer!)
How fun is that?!
Step #4: Understand the difference you are making.
Pick your top 1-5 things that you do from your list (whatever number feels right to you, and whichever ones you love doing the most) and complete the first half of this sentence:
I am a _______, ________, and _______. I help ________ .
Here are some questions to help you with filling in the second part of that sentence:
How are you helping/making a difference with what you do? What is an underlying theme/Purpose behind all that you are doing?
For example, I am a coach, traveller, and blogger. I help people gain clarity around what they want their careers to look like, and then get them into shape to make it happen, so they feel on purpose & ready to make an impact. (**Notice that how I help is not necessarily apparent in all I do! You can always choose to emphasize just one or two aspects of what you do, and focus on how that is helping others/the world in some way).
If you are stuck on this, try reversing the whole process we have just gone through:
If there was absolutely nothing holding back, how would you be helping/making a difference in the world? What would you be doing in order to make that difference? In particular, what things on your LIST would you be doing?
Start focusing on these things, and then start doing them and OWNING them.
Step #5: Switch it up!
You are always either doing, or able to do, all those things on your list. Depending on where you're at in your life, you may choose to emphasize different ones.
For example, if you are an unemployed Mom that loves to plan trips for your family, and you would love a job planning trips professionally, you might choose to call yourself a 'Family Trip Planner & a Mom'. Or perhaps you are a Mom that works as a dental assistant, and you run your own personal blog and would love to start making some money blogging. You might choose to say something along the lines of, 'I'm a dental hygienist, a blogger & a Mom. I help parents understand how to juggle a busy life so that they still have lots of time to spend with their kids.' (Get it? This response is emphasizing what she does through her blog, because this is the part she wants to grow her career in.)
So let's face it - a job is no longer just a thing you hand in your resume for, and then you are given a straightforward job title and position, and that is what you then do for the rest of your life.
Everything has become much more dynamic, and more exciting!
So - what is it that you do?
Have fun with these steps, and let me know how it goes in the comments!
Here's to not hating it when somebody asks us what we do.