Wednesday, August 14, 2013

So, What Do You Do?

Just shortly beyond introduction, small talk always heads in one direction. Our brain synapses are mental arrows pointing like lights leading jets to their final resting destination. The one place we most frequently land is the safe zone, career talk.

So, What do you do? 

Historically, that is indeed one of the most dreaded questions I could be asked. The root of the problem for me is that I'm engaged in a brief conversation with someone who more than likely I will never talk to again. Before the so what do you do question even arises, I can almost guarantee I have forgotten the name of the person I am conversing with, unless of course they are wearing a name tag. Percentage of chance they are wearing a nametag 15%, percentage of chance I remember their name sans nametag 15%, percentage of chance I wish I could slip away unnoticed and not hold small talk conversations 99.8%. In my ideal world we'd small talk about things we are passionate about like food, travel, or a myriad of leisurely activities. If the conversation is taking place in Boulder we would probably focus on what type of athlete they are, training rituals, mileage pounded that very day. It is fair game to throw in possible injuries into small talk conversations such as, sorry could you hold my drink for a moment, I think I need to stretch out my hamstrings; I ran up Bear Peak before sunrise this morning and beat my PR.

So, how do I answer the question, is the question.

For years I had a drawn out convoluted story about how I was once a teacher, but left the classroom when I gave birth to my oldest. I left teaching TEN YEARS AGO and I still say, I'm a teacher in conversation. I'm a what? Depending how comfortable I am with the stranger I am conversing with, I sometimes share that I am a blogger, but rarely do I say I am a writer. Which makes me reflect upon an important moment I had at a creative retreat I attended a couple of weeks ago. In the morning session, our instructor made everyone go around and say out loud to the group that we were artists. It felt strange saying it, but more importantly it made me think about my writing. I've been throwing words together at Eat Play Love now for 6 years (officially yesterday, thank you very much) and I don't think I've ever comfortably allowed my tongue to roll off the words, I am a writer. I'm going to say them now. I am a writer, just like I am an artist, and a dreamer. I don't solidly own I am a mother as my job, but I am a caretaker of my family. I feel like motherhood is essential to my being, but is not a quantifier of my self. See why I grapple with a question that some people can answer with a simple sentence like, I am a financial analyst for a small firm downtown. What I really want to say is, that I am a dabbler and a lover of life and even if what I do doesn't earn me a paycheck, it is what I do.

Which leads me to a funny place.

In June, I landed a part time job. A job that comes with a set of duties, a fob to the building, a shared office with my very own key, an official email, a plethora of access logins, meetings that migrate to my google calendar, and a badge. There's filing cabinets, binders, computers, a table to hold meetings, one of those fancy corded phones, and at least 20 linear feet of desk space in my office. That all sounds very official and what-do-you-do-like, doesn't it? Well it is, but it doesn't have this all encapsulating title that truly describes what my new job is because like me, it's dynamic. In just a couple of short weeks, it's made me happy. I'm nestling into a team, an office, a work rhythm and it feels fabulous. The details are miscellaneous, so just set your imagination free and picture me in a job where I feel at home. I'm working on my elevator pitch about my job description, so when I get asked the inevitable question the next time at a party I don't have to intentionally spill a drink down my blouse to get out of answering it.

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2 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your new job!

    I have told people that I'm a writer. Shoot! I write all kinds of things...blogs, journals, to-do lists and grocery lists.

    Now I get to say PTA President and no one asks another question. They know that is a full-time, unpaid job!

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  2. I like the "dabbler" response. :-) I guess I'm lucky I can just say "event planner." When people ask me HOW I am, that's when I sometimes want to spill a drink on myself- mainly when it's people I don't know very well and we're in a social situation.

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I always appreciate the gesture to stop and take a moment to comment. Thank you!