What Do You Do for a Living?

Defining Your Role Beyond Your Title

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Within any social calendar, no matter how heavy or light, it's inevitable you will be at an event that will put you in the position of having to answer this question many times: "What do you do for a living?" At times you will be excited to answer it; at others, not so much.

That question will come to define the direction your life takes, because all of us need to work for a living in order to participate in society. With every job will come ups and downs, strengths and weaknesses, an onslaught of new desires and a discarding of old habits. What we think we want and what we end up wanting are not always the same.

The point that we all start from is finding something that interests us -- something that we can do at work every day and say to ourselves "I enjoy this." This process is often very categorical: "I like media planning" or "I like social media" or "I like graphic design" therefore I will be a media planner, social media manager, or graphic designer. By then becoming those you are also now a finder, an organizer, or a manipulator. You are all of those things -- what your industry says, what your business card says, and what your mind actually does. You become mostly what you do in your mind, not what you put on your resume, and that is how you truly come to understand what you want to be, or at least be at any given time in your life.

This type of thinking has brought me to realize that I am not a Brand Strategy Consultant as my business card says, but instead I am a "definer." My job is to define what has not yet been defined, or to redefine what already exists in some sort of category. I put things in boxes, and if there is no box for them, I create a new one. I compare what I define to what else has been defined, and find a way to make mine better (in other words, more sellable). The question to myself then changed from "do you like branding" to "do you like defining."

Now when someone asks me what I do, just to make the conversation more interesting, I say that I define things. What do you do?

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