What do you do?

Flash Talk: You’re about to enter a room full of strangers, where you will have exactly four minutes to tell a story that would convey who you really are. What’s your story?

The politician stood behind the bulletproof podium and gave a mediocre speech. His delivery ranged from a low mumble to blasting eruptions as he railed on about the record of his opponent compared to what he would do if he got elected. Tim and another man stood near the back of the room trying to stay awake.

The other man turned and asked, “What do you do?”

Tim stifled a yawn before replying, “I’m a husband to one, father to three, friend to some, sibling to others…”

The other man cut him off. “No, no. What do you DO?” he repeated. “Where do you work? What’s your job?”

“That doesn’t matter as much,” Tim replied. “In my day job, I help the company win contracts and keep other people employed. It’s good work, but there are other things more important in my life.”

“Like what?” the man asked.

“Well, it’s like this,” Tim explained, “My computer wallpaper is a series of images that fall into two categories. The first is scenery. You know, landscapes, mountains, lakes, waterfalls, beaches, prairies and so forth. Places I’ve been, pictures I’ve taken, and where I’d like to go again. The other category is pictures of my family. I’ve got them cycling through behind my work all day long as a reminder.”

“Of what?” the man inquired curiously.

“Of what’s important. The scenery images are where I’d like to be. The family pictures remind me why I work.”

She Doesn’t Want My Job, I Don’t Want Hers

Nightmare Job

In honor of Labor Day in North America, tell us what’s the one job you could never imagine yourself doing.

We have the day off in the U.S. today. Why? In celebration of all the hard work done by the labor force. What better way to commemorate hard work by taking a national day off? Seem odd to anyone else? Oh well. To the daily prompt…

As I read the prompt aloud to my wife, she promptly responded, “Yours.”

My normal day job involves lots of reading, editing, writing, revising, formatting, and sometimes spreadsheets. All computer based work. Eight hours a day or more spent at monitors working to merge and refine documents to help win government contracts for the company. Then I come home and log on to WordPress and blog, or write stories as a creative outlet. She cannot dream of doing that.

She is a creative person, but in a more tangible, hands-on way. Crafts, arts, games, lively interaction with family and friends are more her style. She paints, sculpts, does mosaics, woodwork, and generally makes our home more beautiful all around.

I can’t see doing what she does. My tolerance for the works in process is low. I look forward to the finished product and the intermediate steps cause me frustration. I have a vision in mind for the final craft, but struggle to make it appear. She constructs with ease and almost uncanny adaptability.

Her approach: That side is crooked? Zing, bang, twist, and boom, it’s perfect, while mine collapses into a haphazard pile of unrecoverable rubble on the table. One arm sweep into the trash is all that can be hoped.

Her day job involves crawling on the floor with preschoolers. Again, not for me.

In contrast, writing comes easily to me. She hates it. I enjoy stringing together the words to conjure images and carry the reader along for my brief tales. Storytelling is part of me. She says it stems from my overconfidence and natural lying ability. I say it was honed as a defensive need in the environment of multiple siblings both older and younger. Distraction and deflection equaled safety.