People ask me all the time “Hey, Jeff, what do you do for a living?” Actually, that’s not true. I hardly ever get asked. Most people just want to talk about themselves and that’s ok. But when someone DOES ask, I invariably get a little flustered, a little nervous and usually say something to the effect of “I work in training and development” which pretty much ends the conversation chain. I MIGHT get an “oh” but usually that’s the extent of any curiosity I’ve piqued. I’m not sure why I’m so inept at describing my profession. I actually think what I do is pretty darn cool. I’m just not so good at conveying it.
While I don’t envy their career, necessarily, I do envy how easy it is for others to generate excitement when THEY answer that question.
“I’m a teacher.”
“Oh…such a noble profession!”
“I’m a stand-up comedian.”
“That is so cool! Tell us a joke!”
“I’m a writer.”
“I’ve always wanted to write! Been working on my novel for years!”
“I’m an actor.”
“Nice! Have you been in anything I would know?”
“I’m a graphic designer.”
“I’d love to see some of your designs!”
“I’m a storyteller.”
“I love a good story!”
“I’m technical support.”
“You must be smart/good with computers!”
“I’m a motivational speaker.”
“Oh! Do you have a TED Talk?”
“I’m a video editor.”
“Nice! What kind of videos do you work on?”
“I’m a voiceover artist.”
“You DO have a good voice!”
Of course, if you, like me, are in the field, you probably recognize yourself in each one of these. Depending on your role, you are expected to be at least two or three of these and probably more. That’s actually what I love about this profession. It’s given me so many outlets to try different things. As a trainer/facilitator I got to be a stand up comedian, an actor, a teacher and a motivational speaker. As an LMS Administrator I got to be the tech support expert on the system. And, as an ID, I get to be a writer, a graphic designer, a video editor, a voiceover artist and more!
The next time someone asks me what I do for a living, I think I’ll smile, maybe add a little chuckle and simply say “everything!”