Let me be perfectly honest here - as a child, whenever anyone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I didn’t know what to say. Most things I said in reply would have a question mark after them, suggesting pretty clearly that I didn’t really know: Vet? Lorry Driver? Police Detective? Zoo Keeper?
Yes, these were all things I stated at one time or another (I think Police Detective also entailed the vague idea of moving to America and being a bit ‘Starsky & Hutch/Charlie's Angels’ so I don’t think it was a genuine dream…).
And, the thing is, I still don’t really know what I want to be when I grow up…At school it seemed as though every one of my friends knew exactly what they were planning for their future - and it usually involved a proper job title. Something like: Teacher. Doctor. Hairdresser. And so on, and so on… Even now, here, right this moment, there is a proper grown-up woman typing away at her computer who struggles to actually know what to call herself. You see, I don’t really have a proper job title these days. Mumpreneur? Graphic Designer? Business Owner? Erm… Artist? - crikey no, that’s much too grandiose!
As business owners we’re supposed to have this thing called an ‘elevator pitch’. For those who don’t know, this is a sentence that perfectly sums up what we do and who we are in the time it takes to move between floors in a lift. You know, just in case we end up in one standing next to Richard Branson or one of those Dragons who asks us to validate our existence. With the idea being that we have this sentence so well-honed and keyword packed and witty and entertaining, that they are bedazzled by us and immediately offer us a quintillion pounds to be a part of our exciting venture. Makes sense.
Erm, I’m still working on my elevator pitch… and I think, if I still struggle to find a job title for myself, it’s going to still be a while coming!
So, whenever anyone asks, I usually say I’m either a graphic designer - which I think makes them think I’m working on multi-million pound contracts creating advertising campaigns, or I work in media or something flashy - or I say I run my own design business. If I say that they usually ask, ‘ooh, what do you design?’, and I mumble things about websites and personalised prints and gifts and things… before abruptly running out of steam. And the problem there is I think they then go away picturing me playing with Pritt sticks and glitter and an online account with Hobby Craft, and selling my sticky crafting in village halls and scout huts (but mostly to my mum). And that’s not what I do at all!
It really is hard to come up with something that sums it all up - and I’ve been doing this since 2009! I wear so many hats in my PhotoFairytales role that it’s nigh on impossible to find a sentence (or even two) that describes all the various parts of my job.
So, if you ever do meet me and inquire politely ‘So, what do you do?’ don’t be at all surprised if I sigh a bit and say something like ‘Orangutan Charmer’ or ‘Handsome Cab Light Fitter’ or ‘Dog Whistler’ - because any of those sound much more interesting than my usual mumbling!
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