The all-too-common question, what do you do, is far more complicated than any of us would like to admit. Now that we are out in the “real world,” I feel like we are supposed to have an established answer for what it is that we do in our professional lives. However, to answer that question I think we need to look to our past experiences.
There is not an easy answer to this for me now like there was when I first started my undergrad schooling. The first few weeks at the University of Nevada, all of the freshman would run amuck with freshman fever, meeting new dorm mates, chatting up new friends in class, and heading to the Awful Awful for some tasty post-football game grub (I can’t touch the stuff now). Many of these new relationships were built on the questions dear to our heart at the time.
- “What’s your major!?”
- “Where are you from!?”
- “Do you like ACDC as much as I do?!”
For the four years of school, I was defined as a student studying Information Systems who enjoyed Reno a lot more than Vegas. But then graduation came and things changed…now I was an information systems professional.
Often times, people feel like they should be fully defined as a person by their professional occupation. I certainly felt this way as soon as I began my professional career, but only after I changed fields did I finally begin to understand who I REALLY was.
The inspiration for today came from a post by a classmate on “Ways to Win People Over.” One point in particular really stuck out to me (full link here), and that was to throw a curveball into your interactions with people. People will remember you if you do something different, unexpected, or REMARKABLE. [Thank you to Bret Simmons for encouraging us to always be remarkable]. So now, instead of the blasé answer that I’m an information systems professional, I can say with confidence that I am a competitive triathlete, devoted friend and Aaron family member, and a people person (which fits nicely into my wonderful job of providing IT support on campus!). One of these traits is bound to stick with people once they walk away from our conversation, and it shows that I have more character than just staring at my computer all day. My “elevator speech” presents me in a much more interesting light than just “I fix computers.”
What would you say if someone asked you what you do? Hopefully not something like this…