Defining Who We Are and What We Do

June 3, 2010 at 7:29 am | Posted in Career Moves, Life and Living | 5 Comments
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When you’re in grade school, what you look like and who you hang out with defines who you are.  Kids have a tendency to see things in very simple terms.  When you get to college, this gets a bit deeper – where you’re from, what’s your major, and what sports team are you a fan of (ok, so maybe that last one only pertains to certain fanatical states, but you get the idea).

In the real world, at least in America and other capitalist societies, you are very often defined by what you do for a living.  This goes back to our earliest ancestors whose last names were Blacksmith and Baker.

I work in the non-profit industry for a living.  I am a communications professional, and ironically enough, when I try to explain what this means to somebody who is unfamiliar with communications work, they have a hard time grasping it.  Why can’t us communications professionals define what we do to an unfamiliar audience?  We pride ourselves on reaching target audiences, the moveable middle, being wordsmiths that know how to talk about our company and our cause.  But for some reason, trying to explain what we do, day in and day out is an ongoing struggle.

For me, it is true that what I do for a living defines me — in some ways, at least.  I got into this field because I love to write. I love being creative.  I can’t draw, I can’t paint, I can’t sing, but I can write.  So that is my craft.  I am a literary artist who chooses to use my talent for the greater good.

Of course, what you do changes over time, and as you learn new skills you tweak your self-definition.  Writer with technical skills, who can do some design, some web, some PR, some this, some that. And over time what defines me will change.  One day, I’ll be an aunt, a wife, a mother, a grandmother.

Today, I am a communications professional.  I am also a daughter, a sister, a girlfriend, a friend, a woman, an advocate, a dog lover, a chocolate fanatic, a traveler, a blogger, and a human being.


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  1. and you are also a sexy lady.

  2. Yea, it’s definitely true that one of the first questions out of someone’s mouth within a few minutes of meeting is “so, what do you do?” But maybe there’s too much weight that’s placed on it. After all, like you wrote at the end, we are many more things than just what we do. 🙂

    • exactly my point! There is not one thing that defines us. It’s everything that we do, believe, every relationship we keep, it’s all part of us! Love your blog btw. Thanks for reading!

  3. You are awesome is what you are! 🙂 Loved this one.

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