"So, What Do You Do?"
Kitty Boitnott, Ph.D., NBCT, RScP
Career Transition and Job Search Coach | Life Strategies & Stress Management Coaching | Certified Sleep Science Coach
In the United States, at least, there is a fascination with what line of work we each pursue. How eager are you to ask someone you just met what they do for a living? "So, what do you do?" is a favorite question at parties, networking events, and first dates.
It helps you determine where the person who is standing (or sitting) across from you is on the social and economic ladders that are so important to us all. It helps you to gauge where you are in comparison.
If you happen to be out of work at the moment, it can be an awkward question to answer.
For those who hate their current job, it can also be awkward to answer. "Well, right now, I work in retail, but I hope to make a change, soon." Or, "At the moment, I am working at Starbucks, but I have my resume circulating in hopes of finding something else before long."
Recently, a friend of mine commented that she didn't understand exactly what I do.
What she actually said was, "I don't understand what you do all day." This person knows that I am a career coach, and she knows that I stay busy all day--most days. What she doesn't understand are the actual activities that I engage in on a daily basis. She wouldn't think about the importance of my offering a weekly newsletter that has to be written one way or the other, for example. She also wouldn't understand the number of programs that I enroll in so I can learn every aspect of online marketing and business operation that I can.
"I am a career coach," doesn't cover it adequately. What does that even mean?
When at a networking event, I wind up saying something like, "I am a career transition and job search coach. I work with burnt-out teachers who are ready to explore career alternatives."
That is a pretty good summary. Most people know at least one teacher who has complained about their job, so they get it...sort of.
When my friend made that comment, however, it occurred to me to share what a new client shared with me recently. It sums up what I do better than I can.
The email message I received from a brand new client said this:
"I have to tell you the spring in my step is back, and I'm feeling reinvigorated. This investment has brought remarkable value already."
Now, that's pretty awesome, isn't it? This new client hasn't settled anything about her career yet. She doesn't know what she is going to wind up doing. The future feels pretty uncertain for her. But she already feels better. She feels more empowered and "reinvigorated" already.
Based on that, how do I explain what I do all day or how I help people.
Is it too brazen to say, "I help people feel hope again"?
Can I say, "I help people understand that they have a choice in what they do with their lives."
Would it be okay to offer that "I help people by guiding them through the maze of the job search process so they can land successfully faster and with less hassle"?
I feel so blessed that I get to do something I love to do and it has the bonus of allowing me to help people feel "reinvigorated." I don't see how it gets much better than that.
Feeling reinvigorated is what I want for you and everyone. I want you to be fortunate enough to have a job that you love!
I want for you that you feel like the work you are doing makes a difference.
I have said it before, and I will undoubtedly say it many more times...life is too short to spend one day of it doing something you hate.
So, if you hate your job or even if you just don't love it anymore, I urge you to figure out what you can do about that.
You owe it to yourself and everyone around you.
Until next time.