I gotta be honest. I hate that phrase. I hate it because it automatically classified us based on our jobs.
So what do I do?
I avidly follow the Atlanta Braves and pray every year for a World Series title. I live - or more often, die by paper cuts - with the Gamecocks. I listen to all types of music but primarily 90s alternative and can tell you more about the Big Four from Seattle (and others) than you would ever want to know. I love live music and missing all those shows this past year has made me cranky. I sing in my church choir and with an a capella group and in the shower and the car and any other place it’s allowed. I love to go in thrift stores to see what I can find and if I had the whatever to see my grandiose Flea Market Flip momentary whims come to life, I’d need a 6000 square foot house. I write, not all that well, but I write because I can’t imagine not writing. I paint, nothing that will ever hit a gallery but purely for the love of creating something. I play piano incredibly poorly and guitar even more poorly. I laugh at horrible puns and can quote so many movies it’s unreal. And there’s so much more that I do.
In order to pay for the things I do, I work in customer service. It’s not a glamorous job, but I’m good at it and I get paid nicely to handle other people’s problems. Some are easy, others complex. They’re all paying the bills and allowing me joy in my life. I have awesome customers and awful customers but they’re all waiting on my assistance. One of my technicians asked one day how I managed it all and I laughed and said, “overwhelming anxiety. Fear I’ll mess it up. That’s how.” I wasn’t joking but I was laughing.
I’ve learned through doing this work — and in 16 years of experience at this company — that my ability to think ahead and consider all the components of a service call come into play.... what do I need to make sure that accounting or billing or inventory or purchasing will need to know about this customer, this location, this technician? Because I’ve been the person in accounting going back asking why an invoice is unpaid, and I’ve been the purchasing person ordering the same part over and over for the same customer.....
And while I’m proud of what I do and the work and knowledge that goes into it, it doesn’t define me. It’s not the only thing about me. It doesn’t even touch the surface of who I am and such.
So I really do think we need to reframe “so what do you do” into something else entirely....