Saturday, June 23, 2012

Talking About What You Do

I live in the metropolitan DC area, and it seems like whenever you meet someone new, the first question after introducing yourself is usually, "what do you do?" I have become increasingly self concious about how I answer that question in the last year. My typical response is either, "I'm a software developer," or, "I build websites". But that to me is not a satisfactory answer as it in no way relays the challenges or rewards of how I spend the majority of my waking moments.

When my wife asks me over dinner how my day was, I struggle to formulate and answer that conveys the frustration of a useless expection message, or the joy of seeing three hours of work come to life inside a UI -- without having her eyes glaze over in the first thiry seconds.

Some days an analogy comes very easy to me, but most days I keep my answers short, such as, "I had a bug that took me all day to figure out how to fix," or "I made this really cool interface today."

How do you talk about what you do to people outside our profession?

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