Monday, March 1, 2010

The Introduction of a Multi-Hat Wearing Mama

  How would you answer the following?



I was asked to do so last week and let me tell you, it wasn't easy.  I opted for Self Employed and Other, where I continued to type the following: "Small biz owner, social media coordinator and stay at home mom."  The reality is that I could have selected WAY more than one out of each category....

Last week, I was reading this blog post over at BeckyandHollee.com, it is about job titles and  descriptions.  Then I came across this blog post at PittsburghCreative.com/blog, it too is about the art of introduction.  (By the way, both posts are great and deserve a read.)  The topic really struck me (I even commented on Becky and Hollee's blog complete with a typo - GO ME!).  Then I realized that I really STRUGGLE with this quite often.  I mean, look at my description on my about me page here, it's a list.  I'm a family member and wear many hats under that one umbrella.  I'm a mom, and we all know how many hats that encompasses, chef/nurse/maid/teacher just to name a few. I also have hobbies that I enjoy and those are a whole new set of hats I wear (and make lol). In addition to all the above, I also run our small businesses (insert a whole slew of new hats under this umbrella) AND I take care of a client and their social networking needs.

See why I struggle?  I can't easily say, "Oh, well, I'm a stay-at-home-mom, or I'm an accountant, or I'm a teacher, or I work at Any Favorite Business from 9am to 5pm then I go home to my family and spend quality time with them while we cook dinner and play games and put them to bed to later relax with my husband in front of the TV." (Yes, I realize that is pretty idealistic but a girl can have dreams right?).  Do I wish for this idealistic image?  Some days, yes. Do I like wearing my many hats, most days that answer is a resounding YES (this past Friday for example, not so much).

Usually, no classification is needed.  I do my jobs, I wear my not-so-fancy and sometimes fancy hats and I'm happy with that.  But on those rare occasions when I meet someone new or have to introduce myself to a group of people for the first time, what do I say?  Do I start with a warning, "Hey look, this isn't a quick one-liner, pull up a chair, a drink and I'll tell you all about it?"  Chances are, no.  The reality is in that particular setting, I probably can exclude some of my jobs titles.  But it's the on-the-spot thinking that causes me strife.  How do I tell someone what I do in a quick, informative and memorable way?

In those situations, my inner dialog usually sounds like this, "Will it strike a chord with this professional woman if I mention that I stay at home AND do all these other wonderful things?" Or, "Should I exclude the social media stuff with this older person?" Or, "Will the mom on the playground think I am nuts because I won't shut up if I tell her all about my many hats?"  {insert awkward thinking pause}.

I guess the nuts and bolts of this particular post is that I need to find a title and introduction.  I need my own perfectly honed response to, "Nice to meet you and what do you do?"  I've been asked to speak to a few professional groups about social media and networking.  Before those speaking engagements, I need to find an answer to this question.  I would LOVE to hear your suggestions or examples.  So I'm asking: Do you wear a lot of hats?  How do YOU introduce yourself?

7 comments:

Amanda said...

"I work at Any Favorite Business from 7:30am to 3:30pm then I go home to my family and spend quality time with them while we cook dinner and play games and put them to bed to later relax with my husband in front of the TV"
It isn't always as lovely as that sentence makes it sound... but that is my life. And it still doesn't give any clear idea of what it is that I do all day.

If you are looking for simple, I think mentioning you are a self-employed stay at home mom is accurate without over complicating the description.

Annie and Greg said...

Don't you love how our culture or human nature or something insists that we categorize everything? Some things just don't fit into nice, neat categories. I say, let the world know that!

Ute said...

If I put on my career services hat I would suggest that you write you own 30-60 second commercial. You may decide to start with something like: "I am a creative, organized, and motivational multi-tasker who uses technology to increase productivity and enhance communication on many levels. I wear lots of hats and the one [PICK ONE: I currently enjoy the most; you might be most interested in; I am most proud of; I am adjusting to the most; focusing my time and energy on; etc.] is...." That give you lots of flexibility to tailor your response to the audience or purpose of the conversation. It also invites people to ask questions, which can be a real plus and make for an easier conversation.
Just some thoughts from a time where I used to wear that hat in my professional life. As you can see I still put it on again from time to time.

Bungalow'56 said...

Saw you comment at Confused Housewife and decided to visit. So glad that I did. As a former teacher and now SAHM who's kids are now all in school. I help to care for my 90yr old Nana, and often want to explain it all when someone asks what I do. My sister-in-law lived for a short while in Ireland, and the one thing that struck her was that no one asked what you do for a living. It just never came up. It is very much a North American thing. Still trying to figure out a classy response.
Dana

Cara said...

Amanda - I hope this didn't offend, I know it's not always ideal to have that sort of schedule... that's why I said it was "idealistic". I do appreciate your suggestion, I have a tendency to over complicate ;)

Annie - thanks for the new topic to explore!

Ute - you are a wealth of knowledge and then some ;) Thanks!

Dana - Nice to meet you and thanks for the visit! Your insight is also appreciated. how interesting that this seems to be a North American "thing"...

Kim Moldofsky said...

I relate to your struggle and generally have trouble with forms that don't allow for narrative responses. And I leave typos in comments All. The. Time. That's why people think I'm so smart. (At least people know when I've visited their blogs!)

I like Ute's idea. May give that a try.

Sparx said...

I wear a lot of hats; people love to put each other into boxes and it's just easier if you can find a box to put yourself in that people understand! Those forms are a nightmare... I often completely make up my answer. That didn't help you, did it?!