Friday, 4 April 2008

'What do you do again?'

As those who have read my book will know, I hate being defined by my job title - partly because I don’t have a simple answer for what I do (and I don’t have a single job title – I have a few). This dislike for that inevitable dinner party question might be because I strive for a polymath-life, I don’t have a single-discipline that I can shout about and I revel in variety.

If I was an investment banker, it would be so much easier (or perhaps not!).

My philosophy is shared by Tim Ferris, a polymath if ever there was one. In his book ‘The Four Hour Work Week’ he explains his response to the ‘what do you do?’ question:

Assuming you can find me (hard to do), and depending on when you ask me (I’d prefer you didn’t), I could be racing motorcycles in Europe, scuba diving off a private island in Panama, resting under a palm tree between kickboxing sessions in Thailand, or dancing tango in Buenos Aires.

…I never enjoyed answering this cocktail question because it reflects an epidemic I was long part of: job descriptions as self-descriptions. If someone asks me now and is anything but absolutely sincere, I explain my lifestyle of mysterious means simply.

“I’m a drug dealer.” Pretty much a conversation ender. It’s only half true, besides. The whole truth would take too long. How can I possibly explain that what I do with my time and what I do for money are completely different things?

Music to my ears.

So how do you define yourself in the absence of a single-discipline role? Communicate your personal brand equity.

What’s your brand equity? - How do you add value in life? What stimulates you? What makes you different?

My brand equity = ‘I help clients exploit their market potential (And I do loads of other stuff too)’ but that sums it up. Not wholly original but that’s where I hang my hat.

Identify and express your personal brand equity; whether you are in a proper job, run your own business or do your own thing, it’s an important part of making sure you stand out from the crowd.

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