What do you do?

Now that I’ve moved from my old traditional day job to work as a blogger life couldn’t be better. We have a good balance, I get to be at home with the children and I finally feel like life and work take up the right amount of time each. But, there’s one thing that still always catches me off guard and makes me nervous about this career of mine.

When people ask ‘What do you do?’ I end up a stuttering wreck, blurting something out like ‘Oh, I, errrrr. I’m a … errrr…. a blogger’ and then swiftly change the subject. But, if they’re still listening they’ll usually say ‘Oh, you can get paid for that?!’

On our recent holiday I had conversations with probably half a dozen people and it’s always the same sort of thing – Have you been on one of these holidays before? Where are you from? What do you do? And I find it so hard to answer that simple question.

It’s not because I’m embarrassed or ashamed of it. It’s not that I don’t want to stand up and be counted as an ‘influencer’ – it’s that whenever it comes up in conversation I’m sure the people I’m speaking to won’t realise it’s a valid career option and will instead think I’m just typing out ‘Dear diary…’ posts when the children are in bed. It’s because I don’t think people will take it seriously and will brush it off as a hobby and pastime rather than a career.

But, until I start being assertive about blogging, until I start saying what I do with pride, keeping the conversation going and explaining more about it – how are other people ever going to see it as a legitimate job? How can I expect other people to respect what I do and understand it if I can’t even open up and talk about it to people I’ll probably never see again on holiday?

When I worked for a High Street bank I had no problem talking about my job and my job roles as I moved through the company. I was happy telling people I was a cashier or a Bank Manager later in my career. When I worked at Woolworths as a teenager I’d happily tell people where I worked and was so proud of managing the entertainment department and selling CDs.

But now, when I am self employed and do so many different things each day – writing, taking photos, using social media, admin… I find it so much harder to talk about what I do to people who haven’t been there from the start, people that haven’t seen me go from hobby blogger through to it being my career. When it comes up in conversation I find it awkward – and avoid the conversation where possible when really I should be embracing it.

Blogging as a career and making a living from a life online is a relatively new thing. It’s not something many people are aware of outside of the blogging circles. When I was little I wanted to be a lawyer, a criminal psychologist or a National Geographic photographer. I didn’t aspire to write the blog that I do now – because this world didn’t exist back then.

But now the whole digital world is so big and it has opened up so many opportunities that being a blogger is a legitimate career option when children are looking at their future. Our children could grow up to travel the world, documenting it online. They could be a fashion or beauty blogger or the next big Instagram sensation.

So, as much as people will know what a shop assistant is, what a doctor is and what a lawyer is they may not know what a digital influencer or career blogger is – and that needs to change. But, that change needs to start with me and everyone else that has no idea what to say when people ask what they do.

So next time someone asks what I do I’m going to say I’m a family lifestyle blogger, that I spend my working day online, writing, taking photos and promoting on social media. I’ll tell them that I love what I do, it lets me stay at home with the children and no two days are the same. I am going to stand up and be counted and in time that simple question won’t be hard to answer.

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14 Comments

  1. September 16, 2017 / 7:51 am

    I love this post Donna 🙂 I agree, it’s tough. I usually just say that I’m a freelance writer, although the majority of my work no longer comes from my writing but from my blog. You’re right though, we should really explain, it is a great career, particularly for a parent balancing work and a family life.
    Nat.x

  2. September 16, 2017 / 8:07 am

    Good for you, be proud. You work very hard. Celebrate you’re achievements, it’s taken a lot of dedication and self belief. I think anyone going self employed are extremely brave. What wonderful qualities to show your children.

  3. September 16, 2017 / 8:09 am

    Good! Like you say, people won’t get it unless more of you exist and talk about it.
    I have a similar thing. I still have a job but I also want to be a part time photographer and I’m officially an Editor. Obviously, I want to promote both. Don’t need to promote my job. But I find it awkward not to mention my actual job as if that’s more valid somehow. I’m working on changing that ☺

  4. September 16, 2017 / 8:31 am

    100% agree and I’m just the same. I really struggle to know what to say! We should be proud, we work very hard

  5. September 16, 2017 / 8:53 am

    Completely agree – when I went full time a few years ago, people thought I just sat in coffee shops and got ‘freebies’ (ahhhhhh) ok so some people still think all I do is sit in Costa and go on holidays but because I’ve constantly talked to anyone and everyone about what I do it’s becoming easier for people to understand what we do…

  6. September 16, 2017 / 9:04 am

    Try playing with grown up playdough for a living! I get a lot of “are you still making your little people instead of working?”.
    Yes I am and I have been for a decade but I have given up on other people getting it now. I own it now. When people ask what do I do for a living I tell them exactly what I do. I sculpt and I write a blog and I hope the fruits of both of those things is that they make people smile and make them think.

    You are right, doing what you love is the best thing in the world and you don’t need validation from anyone else.

  7. September 16, 2017 / 12:00 pm

    Stand be proud x

    I love your assertiveness .

    You inspire me xxx

  8. September 16, 2017 / 8:01 pm

    Having recently left my day job , i too find it hard to say the words ‘ Blogger’ when people ask what i do. Maybe as it’s still early days for me but like you i tend to steer the conversation in a different direction. I really dont know why i am like this as i am really proud of how far i have come in the last 12 months.

    • September 16, 2017 / 8:12 pm

      And so you should be! I’ve been blogging over five years now and gave up my job 10 months ago and I still find it so, so hard so I think it’s natural x

  9. September 16, 2017 / 10:06 pm

    I would be exactly the same if blogging was my job. I hardly tell people that I do it as a hobby! I just get all embarrassed and don’t really know what to say and then pray they don’t start reading it. Which is just crazy!

  10. September 17, 2017 / 7:28 am

    People know I do mine as a hobby, more like an online record, but I admire everyone who does it as a job x

  11. September 18, 2017 / 10:58 am

    Love love love this post sweetie! I’m the same. I always dread that question! Recently, I’ve just been saying ‘I work freelance’ and I only expand on the subject when people really prod hahaha!

    • September 18, 2017 / 11:21 am

      haha! That’s SO Vague! You could do freelance anything! x

  12. September 26, 2017 / 7:23 pm

    Yes to all of this! When people ask what I do I just say I’m a stay at home mum. I reality I am working hard on my blog every day and am slowly starting to earn decent money from it. I too think people will just think in typing out a load of diary type posts when that’s not the case at all xx

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