So, what do you do?

I usually make it a point not to talk about my work. But today I will make an exception. I am an Instructional Designer. Before you go “Huh?”, let me assure you I didn’t know what an ID (industry-approved short form) was till a little over one year ago. Everytime someone asks me what I do, this is what I say:

XYZ: So, what do you do?
Me: I’m an Instructional Designer.
XYZ: (Comes closer as though their ears have deceived them; a question mark on their face. If I am very lucky, some people are actually impressed.) Eh?
Me: I design courses for corporates based on client requirements.
XYZ: (Has no idea) Oh!
Me: For example, if a company wants to let their employees want to know about a new environmental law which has to be followed, instead of having a seminar or workshop, they approach us to make a course.
XYZ: (Confused but eager to drop the topic) Oh okay! Where is your office?
Me: In S___.

I am very sure they haven’t understood a thing but I haven’t given up. The above is the pattern of every single conversation I have had about my work. I don’t blame them. Being an ID is a relatively new profession. I am sure every profession till it becomes established goes through his “huh?” routine!

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12 thoughts on “So, what do you do?

  1. I’m faced with the same problem tooo!

    E-learning? ID? COurse designing?
    Always get the same reaction…huh????

    Yeah, as you mentioned..it will take a while for this field (or other new professions)to get recognised.

  2. I get the “huh? what?” every time I say ID or CD. I have given up. I now say “It’s about elearning and content stuff”. That gets me an “I understand you” nod. 😛

  3. ehehehe..only too familiar. noone..and i mean NOONE understands what i do for a living. they inevitably confuse it with advertising which is very irritating. although nowadays, after that “huh” question i usually stick to”something related to advertising”

  4. Frankly, me being an engineer-in-the-making, have no such problem…but I think I can understand…people seem to know only Comp. Sci. Engg. these days…

  5. I am very sure they haven’t understood a thing but I haven’t given up.

    Evangelism is a tough-take but it s a challenging take! Good thing you derive lots of confidence when you explain your work to someone! And this enthusiasm is at times contagious!

    All the best

  6. Brave attempt, but I don’t think a lot of your readers(incl. me) would have still understood what you do!!!
    Yours is a niche field, so it is obviously understandable. My parents still don’t know what I am doing in far-away Bombay. “Marketing kar raha hai TV channel mein” is the best they can come up with when someone asks them what their son is doing. The follow-up question-“But woh karta kya hai actually?” elicits the same standard response-“Woh ads wagehra…” It doesn’t help that many people(a lot more than we would like to accept the existence of) still confuse marketing with sales.

  7. You forget every Lakshmi, Saraswati and Parvati is a S/w engg too 🙂
    Many uncles and aunties are familiar with Java (and they have no idea its actually coffee hah!) and dotnet….anything else and they go “why dont you shift to java or dotnet??” with a hahaha-my-son-or-daughter-is-cleverer-than-you-yet-my-sympathies-with-you expression

  8. Another new occupation in my lexicon. No more ‘huhs?’ from me when it comes to Instructional Design.

    A friend of mine was a sub-editor, when she went to her native village, the people couldn’t comprehend the work of a sub-editor – news for them was only about reporters. After hearing through her job description, they came to the unanimous conclusion that she worked as a ‘typist’ irrespective of the fancy-sounding job title. Not too off the mark anyway.

  9. AquaM, Vee, Zee: We are all in the same ID boat! 🙂

    Ron: I knowww!

    The Monk, Naveen: You are lucky!

    Sanchapanzo: Thanks so much!

    Anurag: I still don’t understand completely what you do! 🙂 We are even now!

    Rohit: Thanks for the sympathy!

    Siri: Methinks aunts and uncles have only a vague idea about java, dotnet etc.

    Soumyadip: Awwww! Typist is really NOT a sub editor! Poor thing!

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