Monday, April 30

So what do you do?

Dear Kannu

I find this question always difficult to answer when I meet new people. Something like the immortal words of Harry Belafonte, “

He stammered and he stuttered pathetically
And this is what he said to me.
He said, "The woman piaba and the man piaba
and the Ton Ton call baka lemon grass,
The lily root, gully root, belly root uhmm,
And the famous grandy scratch scratch.
It was clear as mud but it covered the ground
And the confusion made the brain go 'round.

The song is at the bottom of this post. But that wasn't the point that I was making son (although you might like and appreciate the song).

You will end up doing many jobs and do many things. Saying that you are a banker or you work in IT or you are a process analyst or you are a researcher is rather silly. Don't say which firm you work for or which function you work for or what is your job title. Remember you are telling people, not announcing your cv. So ensure that the people understand what value you add.

Another point to remember is to consider who is asking where? If I am inside a bog fighting for a slice of cheese and my competitor asks what do you do, the answer, I am a banker will not help. The right answer would be, I am hungry and I look for food. Do you see what I mean? What you do is differently phrased depending upon who is asking when and where.

So you are a student, people will ask what do you want to do when you grow up. Saying that you want to be a broker or a diplomat or a software entrepreneur is telling them your job title. That’s boring son. Try to put it in some other words. Such as, I want help people become wealthy (broker), I want to help improve my country’s reputation and trade in the world (diplomat), I want to provide software to my customers that will help them improve their lives (software entrepreneur).

Another way of putting the same as above is to describe what others will describe you as. Turn the question around. The question is, “what do you do?” to “what will your customers/clients describe how you add value to them?”. So some examples can be, “well, my clients would say that I find them great investing opportunities” (broker), my counterparts would say that he is a great diplomat chap who represents his country’s interests brilliantly (diplomat), my customers would say that he has some great products that really help me out (software entrepreneur”.

See what I mean, son? Treat yourself differently, speak differently for yourself. Stand out of the crowd of brokers, bankers, diplomats and entrepreneurs. If you are interested in what I say what I do? I usually end up saying, “i help people sell more in my job, I help others help themselves in my charities and I have fun in my personal life”



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