Thursday, December 3, 2009

So What You Do?

Yes, I have a blurry photo of the homewrecker on my page. Remember in the "You Don't Know My Name Video" she said "So What You Do" to Mos Def. And it didn't sound like a horrible grammar mistake... it just sounded sexy...

Whatever, you still listen to Chris Brown too... sue me.

Now, on to the topic at hand. I hate the question "What Do You Do?" Not because it's a bad question, but because I don't have a good answer.

Him: So what do you do?
Me: I work in consumer marketing public relations.
Him: Word, what does that job consist of?
Me: Getting my clients in the media positively.
Him: So, essentially, you put people on.
Me: Companies, not people, but essentially, yes.

Him #2: So what do you do?
Me: I work in consumer marketing public relations.
Him #2: So what do you do every day?
Me: Make sure my clients are respresented in the media positively.
Him #2 : So who do you work for.
Me: I work for an agency. I have a lot of clients.
Him #2: Silence
Me: My clients are: company you know #1, company you know #2 and company you know #3
Him: So you basically do marketing for large corporations.
Me: Yeah, basically.

Do you see what just happened Tea & Such readers. I said the same thing to two different people and they both broke it down into bite-sized pieces of communication that they could better understand. One said "you put people on" the other said "you do marketing for large corporations." While true, neither of those statements, represent an accurate depiction of what I do if I utter them in isolation of my other comments.

I can't predict what someone does or doesn't know about my field of work and asking a pre-question doesn't help either. EVERY time I ask someone if they know what PR is, they say yes, because they don 't want me to think they're stupid. When in fact only about 20% of people have any idea what it is and half of those people work in the field. Womp.

It's just frustrating as hell because if you're an accountant no one really knows what you do. They know you deal with money and balance sheets and bottom lines, but they are no more aware of your day-to-day activity or deliverables than they are of mine. However, when YOU say I'm an accountant, they say ok and go about their business.

I say I'm a PR practitioner and everyone - no matter who it is - feels the need to ask for more information and the condescending tones in which they do so (as if to say PR? WTF is that?) is enough to make even the mildest PR diva irate. And I'm not mild.

*Duracell commercial voice* Consider this: Unless you're looking into a job change does it really matter what the person you're talking to does? I mean, you're never going to understand my job unless you work here or in a like environment. When someone tells you they do something you don't recognize, know or understand, consider saying ok and googling it later. #imjustsayin


antithesis said...

this is y i just say yes to whatever their first interpretation of counseling is no matter how inaccurate. most people think im going to work in a school. im not, since school counselors exist, i just go ahead and be like "mmhhmm". school is not the only place u see a counselor and honestly, school counselors dont do much actual counseling (said by my peers in the school counseling program, not just me being an asshole). they really dont. it's more behavior management b/c teachers dont respect/understand the position. anyway, here's where i stand: unless ur my superior, my job means whatever the hell u want it to mean. now if u payin me, i need to strictly define whats in my job description.

dont u love how my comments on ur blog turn into mini blog posts?

Kay* said...

i totally know what you mean! i work in entertainment PR too and i still don't think my mom truly knows what i do - let alone a few of my friends. i think my sister just got it recently. it's hard to explain because people assume it's marketing or advertising but it's not. it's actually much different. and it's not just one thing - there's the event aspect, personal appearances, media relations, writing...i always say something along the lines of:

"i try to get the media to report how i want them on X/Y/Z so the public gets the message - without paying them to report/cover it."

that usually helps most people get a basic idea.

K to the... said...

When folk ask me what I do, they hit me with the " a good one. I hate math" or "Wow, I took accounting in college...hated it." Hell, I took accounting in college and hated it myself. Almost changed my major until I had an internship!

South Loop Social Light said...

I look at it as tons of folks are running around trying to do the club promoter hustle and many have convinced themselves that's "PR". While I don't want to take anything away from them, working at a full service agency is a far cry from handing out flyers after the club.

CBW said...

As a budding Audiologist, most ignant folks think it has something to do with Stereos...or they don't know what i said and go "oh ok (slow head nod)". Those that delve further ask for descriptor and i usually say "hearing testing and hearing aids" which is a small portion of what i actually do...i really hate that question...especially in the club.

T said...

@CBW I'm about to go google audiologist right now. LOL!