Lots of people in my life wonder what it is exactly that I do for a living. People close to me. People that really should know.
But my job, like so many modern ones, is not something that can be definitively pinned downed and described. My dad, who is very old school, really has no idea what I do for a living, other than I work on a computer all day. I am pretty sure he thinks I just play games. To his mind, and much of his generation, the only real work was physical labour. If you didn't come home sweaty, with dirt under your fingernails, you didn't really work.
Unfortunately, I agree with that. A little bit, anyway.
He did tell me once that he was proud of me for the work that I do (even though he has no idea what that work is). He was proud of the fact that I made my money and supported my family by using my mind, instead of breaking my back. I carry that with me alot of the time. My dad always worked in factories, working the line, surviving layoffs and strikes, working to get in the union, trying to keep his pension. Blue collar was the only colour in my home, back then.
My mom is a nurse, and that is also a tangible job. I can say that she is a nurse, and people automatically know what that means. Of course, the imagery doesn't always match the reality (but isn't that always the way?) If you have a family member that is a nurse, you quite likely have an extremely strong stomach. Dinner time conversations can be very graphic, and hilarious, but only if you can calm your gag reflex.
So, what is it that I do for a living? First, I work for a global consulting company. They have offices around the globe and employ tens of thousands of people. If you live in the States, chances are you would recognize the name if I wrote it. If you live in the Philipines or India, you absolutely would. If you live in Canada, where I live, you would likely have no idea.
So, we are a global consulting company. I am not a consultant. I work in what is called a "delivery centre". What do we deliver? Do I work for UPS? Nope. A delivery centre is a fancy word for "call centre". We "deliver" the service to the customers of our clients.
Whoa...back it up a minute there! Call centre?? I know that word! They pay you $0.10 an hour, and call my house all hours of the day and night, trying to sell me shady products!!
Nope again. That's not me. My particular site doesn't do outbound calling. We aren't interrupting your dinner, or calling at the kids' bedtime. We handle inbound calls. That means, you call us.
But again, that's not me. I am not a phone person. I started that way, about 10 years ago, but got my butt out of that position as fast as I humanely could. It wasn't my thing. I don't even like talking on the phone at my house to people that I know, let alone talking to strangers!
I am on the management team. But I don't actually manage people. I don't have "direct reports" (meaning I am no one's boss) but during my career there, I have been responsible for the performance of others.
Currently, my official title is Financial Analyst.
Hey! That's great! What stocks are good right now? How do I get a good mortgage rate? I declared bankruptcy a few years ago, what can I do to make that go away?
How the hell should I know? That's not what I do. I said analyst, not advisor.
Basically, I work for a client of my company, and I analyze and reconcile their financial transactions. I look at and create daily, monthly and yearly reporting and reconciliations. I work through our processes and try and think of better ways to get the same answer. Ways that will mean less time, less effort, more accuracy. I look at spreadsheets and numbers for about 8 to 10 hours a day (there is quite a bit of overtime right now, but that's another story). I make sure that the money in the client's bank account matches the money in our operating system on the computer matches the money in all of the reports available out there.
Exciting, eh?? Now you get why my dad was excited when he saw my client on the news, and he realized that the company was actually real, and not something I just made up! :)
Needless to say, this is not my bliss. It is not my heart's desire. Up until 3 years ago, when I started this particular role, I didn't really know what it was.
Geoff is currently persuing his heart's desire. He is making his dream job a reality, by starting his own business. I am supporting him in every way possible- spiritually, physically, and finanically. I am happy for him, it is something he has wanted to do ever since he was a little boy.
But, if I am going to be honest, I am jealous too. Here I am, working my imaginary, made-up, hocus-pocus job, that no one really understands (except for the 3 other lovely ladies that are doing it with me!) and Geoff gets to create his dream job. I get to slog it out in my Excel-spreadsheet-lined mines, and he is prancing through the fields of dream fulfillment. It's hard not to be a little bitter about it.
So, I think Geoff and I will have a little chat. He will get a couple of good years under him...time to make or break the business, and give it the old college try. If it works and if he is successful, then it's my turn. It's my turn to dream and think and strive and try. It's my turn to throw caution to the wind and try something new. It's my turn to (maybe) never have to wear business casual again.
It's years down the road, but that thought might just be enough to get me out of bed tomorrow morning. Gotta remember to set the alarm though, just in case the thought isn't enough.
Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "new job? Maybe someday!"