’Tis the season for awkward conversations with people you haven’t seen in a year. And while it’s impossible to predict the array of inappropriate questions you’ll receive during the uncomfortable, crowded holiday gatherings you’ll be required to attend, one inquiry you’ll hear at least a few times is, “So, what do you do again?”
The question seems simple, but as business has become increasingly complicated—and creative—job titles like “technology evangelist” or “corporate securities legal ninja” or “chief culture officer” no longer provide the easily digestible job descriptions they used to. During the holidays, when you’re faced with making small talk
for days on end, it can be tough to describe your professional role to people who don’t know—or really care about—your industry.
Nevertheless, you need to have a prepared answer to this question because otherwise you will have to talk about something else—potentially a topic of substance like global warming or the downfalls of the South Beach diet or what your cousin Mary thinks she is doing with her life—and God knows no one wants that.
But don’t worry. I’ve consulted with my professional network and developed a number of best practices for answering this question, tailored by audience.