Monday, 18 January 2010

So what is it you do?

There comes a time in every Executives life where you have to explain what you do for a living.

We are all guilty of not really caring what people do (past the initial description). This is especially true if you deign to be something other than a teacher, fireman, or something equally simple to understand.

However, it is only when you fully immerse yourself in just one of the thousands of job industries out there, that you appreciate how small a cog everyone is. I always feel sorry for fresh faced teenagers and graduates clinging onto the dream that one of the 10 jobs they know anything about will be the perfect match for them. I say that because I once was one.

When people ask me what I do for a living, however my times I’ve had to do it, it never gets any easier. It should be easy when you work in a fast paced cool industry like advertising, right? Jobs always get less interesting from the initial description. For example, you start by saying:

‘I work in advertising’
‘Oh cool’ they reply’

If the conversation stopped there you would be cool. That guy who works in advertising, he was cool. I don’t know what he does but its probably something pretty awesome. People are just too inquisitive though.

‘So what do you do in advertising’

What comes next for any executive isn’t pretty:
Planning, sales, spreadsheets, marketing, typesetting, reports . . . whatever it is.

Unless you reply by saying that you wrote, directed, acted in and scheduled that funny TV ad they like, the split second of limelight on you, the executive, has vanished.

My advice? Don’t humour the inquisitive. Just stick to your guns, guns which fire bullets of vague descriptions and lies.

Well at least I don’t work in a job so boring just the first syllable gives people the uncontrollable urge to shut down and black out - A gravel technician, a soft drink dispenser maintenance operative, a recruitment consultant (someone who spends their whole career watching others fulfil their career dream), or maybe a parking attendant.

I guess this raises an interesting question, what is the most boring job in Britain? Surely it couldn’t be one in the world of media?