How Do You Describe What You Do?

Whether it is your career, your hobbies, or your private life, how you describe yourself can alter how the world sees you. What is your description?

Describing what you do, while important, can be very difficult. While it is true that what you choose to spend your time and focus on helps define you as a human being, an accurate description isn’t easy.

In fact, the manner and vocabulary you use to talk about what you do has many risks. You might bore someone else if you choose to talk about it in a clinical way. It is possible you could alienate someone who doesn’t share a common frame of reference. You might even offend someone.

And yet, sharing who you are and what you do with others is the essence of being in a community. If you have an interest in and a passion for what you do, you can convey that to someone else. And in turn, they may convey the same thing to you, if you are lucky.

How do you describe what you do? Have you given advance thought to what you might say to someone else? And do you listen when others describe what they do?

Related questions: Would you be friends with yourself? How would you describe yourself in ten words or less? How do you judge yourself? What makes a community?

1 thought on “How Do You Describe What You Do?”

  1. As a public policy director for a tenants’ rights organization, I’d say: “My job is to convince and work with powerful people–primarily state representatives, state senators, and city officials–to pass policies that help correct the imbalance between tenants and landlords. Tenants’ rights have eroded over the years as landlords have increased the size and complexity of leases to give them more power. I work to change state law and city ordinances to correct this imbalance. Finally, I seek increased federal and state funding to help struggling tenants pay increased rents so they do not face evictions from their homes.”

    Regarding my gardening using heirloom and open-pollinated seeds, I’d say: “America’s seed supply is in danger. Most of the fruits and vegetables we eat come from a severely limited number of seeds. This means that strengthened pests or changes in weather patterns could destroy the crops that feed us or the animals we rely on for food. I buy naturally bred seeds and give money to companies and non-profits that preserve and breed a more diverse set of seeds that can withstand the attacks of some pests or perform better in changing weather patterns (while also being more nutritious and beautiful). I also grow some of my food from these seeds, partly so I can know how to participate in a stronger, less centralized food system.”

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