Recently, there have been several instances where I’ve needed to explain, “I’m in transition,” and then apologize 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, often 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?” So, 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?” I was making a significant purchase without my spouse for the first time. 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. I’m grateful to have been there for those special moments and 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 dreams because that’s who I am. Currently, I don’t have a “title,” and I’m ok with it.
Tell me about yourself, who are you and what makes you happy?