When my wife is asked what I do for a living, she usually responds that it’s best to ask me directly. My initial response, in my mind, is: should I give the short or the long response? Depending on who is asking the question, the short response could be something like:
- I help organizations adapt to the network era
- I focus on new ways for connected organizations to work & learn
- I connect working and learning, especially with digital technologies
Sometimes people’s eyes glaze over, because they were hoping for a response like, “I am a VP of Training at a large finance company”. That would be just too easy. So I have to gauge if the person REALLY wants to know or is just making casual conversation. Sometimes I say, “I am a blogger”. This may be the closest to the truth because this blog is where I work and learn out loud, and it is fairly often how my clients find out about me.
I know others have this difficulty as well. The world of work is changing, as are our relationships with organizations. Our language has not caught up yet. I have changed my descriptions on social media platforms many times over the past decade, trying to find common ground for understanding. Knowing that people just skim these kinds of things, it has to make sense to them, not me.
On Twitter, my current profile says: alternative business consultant & “a keen subversive of the last century’s management and education models”. It’s short, includes a quote from a reader of my blog, but may be not descriptive enough. My LinkedIn summary states that I help identify next practices for leadership, networked cooperation, knowledge-sharing, and innovation, in an increasingly complex world. It’s descriptive, but not does not say much about how I am unique.
Anyway, I am writing this post so that I have a reference for people who ask what I do, and really want to know.