The Question: How Do You Define Yourself?
You know that question, “So, what do you do?”
How do I answer that? Sometimes when I’m feeling saucy I say, “I eat really good food. I laugh a lot. I blog. I love my boyfriend, puppy, family and friends. Travel. Do good. Ya know.”
Is that the answer you were looking for? I could say, I do X with X company and call it a day.
Is that really what you do?
I just sat down to write this post, after I noticed a few Twitter profiles where people only list their job title and company in their bio. Quick, go look, do you know people(s) who do that? I’m sure you do. What kind of person is that? Are they defined by a job? A title?
The Gender Question – Who YOU are?
My dear friend Jodi is introspective and asks questions, all the time. One night we were at one of the few bars in our small hometown in Iowa, some music bumping in the background, voices bubbling around us and she asked, “How would you describe who you are?”
It was almost Midnight and my vodka soda, with a splash of cran was held in my small hand, almost empty. I cocked my head to my side and wondered what Jodi was getting at. I knew she was curious but knowing her, the answer was going to be important.
I answered stating my passionate nature, my love for my heritage (Italian), a good friend, etc. etc. then I ended, mentioning what I did professionally.
She replied, pleased with my answer, “Did you know in an experiment with men and women, most women were defined by the relationships in their life and who they thought they were characteristically, while men replied with their job title or profession.”
Although I’m slightly paraphrasing the story, this always stuck with me and although it’s a generalization, I urge you to try it out. See how genders choose to answer.
First impressions mean a lot. So how do you define yourself? Is it the setting and environment in which you’re asked the question and how you choose to answer?
Doni wrote an amazing post, The Cocktail Question, musing over that silly question, that barely encapsulates who the person is. Dawn Foster writes in GigaOm that it’s the question she “dreads” more than anything especially when you pose it as a business interaction and/or you truly might need something from that person and your answer might be important.
I know that a long-winded answer isn’t ideal, but I know I’m a lot more than a job title. I also understand that our job is where a lot of our hours are spent, so of course it’s part of our life. It isn’t however our framework, our beliefs, our vision, our personality. It’s part of the mix. I prefer my saucy answer.
How do you choose to answer what you do? What if you’re in between jobs or have multiple jobs? It’s more than the career, right?