I Traded in my Job Title For a Great Story
“So…what do you do?” was a question I did not want to hear from 2009-2012.
It was the first question a stranger would ask me, even before my name. I was put on the spot and I had nothing. Sometimes, I would fuck around and reply with random bogus occupations -“I’m a lobbyist, archaeologist, astronaut, repair man…man…man, whatever.” I would rather mock the question than fake the funk.
Despite how uncomfortable it was, I could not lie. It was a like a five-year-old boy blew out his birthday candles and his only wish was that I kept it G. His wish was my command. But let me get this straight, we’re in the midst of the worst economic collapse in American history and everybody has got their shit together but me!? It sure felt like it for a minute.
I graduated from college fashionably late. Like 20 minutes before the bar closes but in just enough time to grab two brews and one broad type late. After I shook that old white man’s hand at graduation, he handed me the bill, and I was well on my way to land that job title I would be proud of. Or so I thought.
I put on that stupid mask they tell you to wear when you’re applying for jobs. You know, the fake smile, Burlington Coat Factory suit, studying what “they” want to hear, updating your LinkedIn profile, etc. By the way, I’ve seen some of your LinkedIn profiles and it’s more deceiving than Instagram with all those bullshit filters you put on to embellish your resume. I also didn’t enjoy critiquing my own subtle nuances – “am I sitting too straight?” “is my handshake firm enough?” “should I have worn a tux?” I found the entire process grueling and emasculating.
Coincidentally, I landed my job by chance, and I didn’t even need to feed them that nonsense of how my diligent work ethic and overwhelming passion is my “biggest weakness.”
I was the PR & Social Media Manager at a boutique ad agency. I had loads of responsibility and even more business cards. It didn’t change anything, I still despised the question. This is what I thought people thought when I answered:
I’m a Creative = unemployed
I’m a Writer = unemployed and drunk
I’m a Public Relations Director = bullshitter
I’m a Copywriter = something involving patents (people really think this)
I’m a Social Media Specialist = dicks around on Facebook
I make similar snap judgments. For instance, if you work in an office, you’re the guy from Office Space no matter what. I don’t know which one, just know that in my mind you’re being casted as one of them, probably Michael Bolton. The fact is, we’re always in flux. Sure, today you might be an investment banker managing millions of dollars. But if tomorrow you forget to add the zero, you could be writing blogs for a living.
The average worker stays at each of his or her jobs for only 4.4 years, which means we will have 15-20 jobs over the course of our working lives. Don’t take your job title so seriously, it switches hands more than the WWE Intercontinental Championship belt.
When I was choosing my major in college, I looked up the average income of a few prospective career paths. When it comes to employment, I’m claustrophobic, I don’t like being boxed in and I don’t like low ceilings. I’m a huge proponent of diversifying your revenue stream.
Today, I’m more proud of myself professionally than I have ever been. However, I’ll never forget that time after college when I felt inferior because I let a job title, or lack there of define me. I have since traded in my job title for a great story. I’ll tell it like I want to and you’re always welcome to read it.