There have been several instances recently where I’ve needed to explain, “I’m in transition”, then apologizing for the in-between stage of my life. We’ve all been asked the question, “what do you do?” which has been synonymous with “who are you?” immediately slotting you into a category or stereotype.
Unfortunately, society wants to know “what you do”, and this question isn’t going away anytime soon. It’s been a long journey for me, a lot of times feeling I didn’t add value and yet, it couldn’t be further from the truth, wanting to respond with “what haven’t I done?” I’m answering this question differently, making it a teachable moment, educating the person on the subject of me and not my title.
Several months ago, I purchased a new car, my experience was a rude awakening, or at least my new reality of “what do you do?” For the first time, I was making a significant purchase without my spouse. To be clear, I don’t need my handheld, I can negotiate like the best of them, but explaining to the finance agent how I earn a living was a bit unnerving. I’ve been a stay at home mom, seemingly forever, while my husband’s career took him around the globe, I was CEO of the household, that was my “job”, and I’ve never thought twice about it.
Staying home with kids was challenging at times, the “clients”, were sometimes hard to read, fussy and they definitely had their share of meltdowns. I never received a paycheque or promotion, there were no board meetings, lunches or dinners and business travel wasn’t a thing. There were no performance reviews, I learned as I went along, flying by the seat of my pants, occasionally giving myself a “hell yeah” for completing my tasks on time and then proceeding to throw a dinner party for eight. I’m grateful to have been there for those special moments, and yes, wiping runny noses too. My job as a parent is possibly the most rewarding, but it doesn’t define who I am.
I used to get my back up when asked, “what do you do?” I say, “bring it on”, I’m no longer afraid of the question. I’ve accomplished a lot in my life, and I’m more than happy to share my journey, hopes and my dreams because that’s who I am. At the moment I don’t have a “title”, and for the first time, I’m ok with it.
Tell me about yourself…who are you and what makes you happy?