Monday, October 28, 2013

what ELSE do you do?

In atypical fashion for the b-logue, today I am going to veer left of the usual snark-filled writing style and take a turn towards the serious side of the road. If we're bucketing this particular post into one of the three categories of the b-logue description, this would fall under "societal dialogue."

So, I was recently at a lovely little housewarming fete, this past weekend as a matter of fact, for an equally lovely colleague of mine. By colleague, I mean agency partner. Now, for the non-marketing contingent of us, agency partner can colloquially be defined as someone one works with outside of one's own marketing discipline. Example: I work in media, said agency-partner colleague works in public relations. So, while not the same spoke of the marketing wheel, the two are inextricably linked. We clear on that?

Moving on. At this particular fete, I found myself surrounded by rooms full of people who, for the most part, all worked in the same few fields. We were all proverbial agency partners in a way. It made for a unique situation... without having to ask the fellow party patrons the typical-out-to-dinner "what exactly do you do in your job", it was innately (or at least for the most part) understood.

Herein entered the refreshing breaking of the societal norm - instead of asking the tiresome "what do you do" question (to which no one typically cares to hear the answer anyway), I got to thinking. Why don't we all ask each other "what else do you do?" As a matter of fact, this idea was born in a conversation between myself and a friend's husband given both of our knowledge on the other's job functions.

Instead of boring myself to tears (no, writing that I bore myself to tears was not a mistake) with the saaaame exaaaaact elevator pitch of what-is-media-planning-anyway, I found myself instantly engrossed in a much more unique, personalized dialogue. The simple act of inserting that one 4-letter word, "else" transformed the much-too-overused-and-under-cared-about phrase into a brand new thing: a conversation.

For the remainder of the candy-filled fiesta, I continued to pose the question. What else do you do? The answers I heard and conversations I subsequently found myself engrossed in, were some of the most interesting ones I can remember for a stretch. I had a lovely exchange about the art of cartoon-ing. Learned things I never knew existed... who knew there was such thing as a cartoon table? Heard all about the wondrous benefits of yoga from a truly passionate yogi. Had the luxury of learning about college ROTC scholarships... and I really listened.

In summary, while I had a fabulous day full of candy corn, apple cider and apps, I believe part of that fabulousness was attributed to the non-mundane conversation. I love being a working professional and talking about business like no other, trust me. But while work, houses and family are grand, I believe we should all try a little harder to keep just one ear outside of the proverbial box from time to time. Ask questions you care to hear the answer to, and when you hear it, listen. You just might find that you're genuinely interested. One simple stepping stone to move in that direction... just remember to insert the word. Else. What else do you do? Take it from a girl who's as guilty as the rest of us of engaging in cookie-cutter-convo. One word can go a long way.

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