Every now and then I’ll meet someone new in a social setting, and during our getting-acquainted chitchat they will ask what I do for a living, and vice versa. Usually, instead of immediately launching into a detailed explanation of what I do in my workaday world, I’ll abbreviate it with a one- or two-word descriptor couched in terms of who I am. We all do this. We say, “I am a teacher . . . plumber . . . carpenter . . . homemaker . . . sales manager . . . pastor . . . circus clown . . . accountant . . . police officer . . . business owner”—whatever. If the other person wants more detail, we’re usually happy to oblige.
For the past twenty years, I’ve worked in various capacities in higher education. I’ve been an instructor in the classroom (both undergraduate and graduate); I’ve been a research technician, conducting statistical analyses using data sets both large and small; and for the lion’s share of the past twenty years I’ve been a counselor—an academic counselor. I retired from full-time employment at a large university five years ago; since then, in semi-retirement, I have worked part time at a community college as an academic counselor, and I love it. I also enjoy my freelance work at home as a copyeditor and blog writer. I stay busy and, for the most part, out of trouble. Continue reading “How Do You Explain What You Do for a Living?”