Pretty much as soon as we can form full sentences we start getting asked the question “what do you want to be when you grow up?” We learn single word titles like, “teacher," “firefighter,” “doctor," and “vet,” so that we can easily communicate our answers to those asking.
As we get older, we’re able to get more specific with our titles. “Computer software engineer,” “interior designer,” “play and art therapist,” and “marine biologist,” start getting thrown around. Even when we start thinking about less “mainstream” jobs and consider becoming things like, “a holistic nutritionist,” or “a doula” we can still rely on using those titles as self-explanatory descriptions of what we do.
We work towards earning titles that allow us to answer the question “what do you do?” without the need to provide much more than a few words as our answer. In doing this we keep everyone comfortable.
But once we get into the realm of self-titling ourselves things start feeling a bit less comfortable. The answer to one of the most commonly asked questions is now going to lead to a follow up question and both of the answers might be met with some judgement. That can feel scary.
What might be even scarier though is the idea of a title keeping us restricted so that we can’t do what it is we’re meant to be doing.
As a “designer” I shouldn’t also be providing digital support. As a “virtual assistant” I shouldn’t be designing websites and building brands. So I’m neither of those things. And I’m both of those things. But I’m also so much more than those things.
So what the heck am I?
I’m a behind-the-scenes wizard who offers unparalleled digital support. That’s my job title. It covers it all but it also answers nothing. It means that no matter what, I’m going to have to provide more than a couple of words to answer the question “what do you do?”
As much as I love the idea of being able to give a one word answer and then slide back into the shadows of behind the scenes, that isn’t an option for me anymore. I’m unparalleled. By definition that means I have no equal. So how can I expect people to know what I do if I’m the only one who’s doing it? I owe it to myself to take up the extra time and space to explain what I do and why. I owe it to the people asking to give them an honest answer and trust that they actually want to know.