Is what you do for a living tough to explain?

MAY 03, 2018 BY MERLIN JAKE visibility377

Aah a kindred soul, if you have acknowledged the title with a rapturous bid of head nodding! Welcome on board mate! You must have encountered this situation many a time at a family gathering or when you’re meeting people for the first time. It sure doesn’t help if your job title has some scary words like analytics, data mining or strategist. Hearing these words on their own is puzzling enough!

What I do for a living is simple to say in terms of job titles, ‘Content Writer’. Can’t get simpler than that, can it? If the conversation were to move onto another topic, things would be fine, but it rarely does! The next question that usually follows is: ‘What does a content writer do?’ Well, in actuality, I work in the online marketing division of a dining cruise company in Sydney that operates harbour lunch and dinner cruises departing from King St Wharf. I write marketing content (a broad-spectrum adjective for anything and everything that I write) for different dining and sightseeing cruise products on board different vessels ranging from paddlewheelers to luxury catamarans to glass boats that operate on Sydney Harbour. The cruise experience includes spectacular views of Sydney Harbour – be it picturesque day views or illuminated night views. Explaining all this to give more clarity on what I do is quite the existential crisis in the making!


So having committed numerous gaffes, I’ve finally fine-tuned the art of explaining what my job entails to the people who insist on getting into the specifics. The secret here is that there is no ‘single answer for all’ solution;give an answer that suits the one asking the questions. Didn’t get me, well read on, you will get the hang of it.

Situation 1: When your elderly aunt or grandparents ask what you do for a living.

When answering the question, you should stick to the simplest terms possible and try to explain it as short as you can. All they really want to know is if you are doing okay in life and earning enough to support yourself. So keep your reply going in that direction and you should be fine. If they are pressing for more, briefly describe the end result of your job, using more of examples that they can relate to.

Situation 2: When a spiteful person or someone you usually ignore descends upon you.

Flex your tongues and warm yourself up as it’s time to bring out the big words and abbreviations. The intent of these questions is not your goodwill but to learn more about you and how to use that information against you. So you should go on an all-out attack with the jargon and complicated terms so your audience will most likely head shake and agree with you, as they don’t want to look bad thinking they didn’t comprehend all the gibberish you said.

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Situation 3: When you meet a possible contact that will help you progress.

You don’t know who you are going to meet at parties or events.Sometimes you can come across great people who can open doors for you, helping you out career-wise. When talking to them and explaining what you do, don’t just stick to your day-to-day responsibilities, but go beyond them and state your long term objectives and the important projects that you are working on or the ones you’ve just completed. Don’t hog too much of their time though and always have your business card handy as well.

So there you have it, some of the tips that I learnt through trial and error. Hope they work for you!

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