Tuesday, January 19, 2021

What Do You Do?

I don't know about you, but I feel like this is a question that comes up a lot. Whenever you meet new people, there s always that getting to know you period where they as the small talk questions. One of the ones that seems most common is, "What do you do for a living?"

I can see why that would be common, but, before I get on to the actual point of this post, I want to get on my soapbox for a moment about why that is not an ideal question, especially in the current state of the world. The bottom line reason is that it could be a sore spot for the person you are asking.

There are several reasons why this could be. They could have a job they are not proud of. As sad as it is, people still look down on certain jobs, even ones they rely on the use of (for example janitors and fast food workers, etc. Those jobs are essential and yet the very people who make them essential act as if it is some how something to look down on.

Other reasons could be the person has a disability that prevents them from working, or they have recently been laid off or otherwise are temporarily not working (like the closures for COVID). Basically, it is not a great idea to assume that someone is employed or appear to be using that as a form of judging them as a person as in a 'get to know you' setting.

Anyway, I digress. The reason I brought that up though, is because I have been asked that question a lot and I often struggle with what to say. My only source of employment is this blog. However, when you say "I am a blogger" people tend to be a bit confused, and then I have to explain it.

It seems the new, more familiar term is "influencer" so I have started to use that instead. And once people hear that, they almost always ask questions about what that entails. And, usually, I also get many questions about how to become an influencer.

I find that a bit strange, too, since most people don't do that with other jobs. If someone told you they are an accountant, you wouldn't ask them how you could become one. At least most people wouldn't.

But I still try to offer whatever advice I can. The first thing I always suggest is to be true to yourself. No one wants some fake image of you out there trying to use them for clicks or whatever. Be yourself and talk about things you really care about, otherwise your influence is just another ad. No one wants that.

The other thing I suggest is startup pr. Building a following that is genuinely interested in what you have to say is the most important thing. And that will come. But in the beginning, you need to find a way to get yourself out there, so your people can find you. This will not only help with exposure but it will help you shape what your "brand" will be. There is no shame in getting a helping hand.

And, even when the question is maybe out of place, there is still nothing wrong with answering "What do you do?" with "I'm and influencer."

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