How would you describe your job?

How would you describe your job to a complete stranger?

I’ve often wondered – and struggled – to come up with a good answer myself. Here at PowerServe we’re all multi-taskers. One moment I’m a Designer, another I’m a Creative Director, another I am a Project Manager of sorts. We all wear many hats, and that’s one of the cool things about PowerServe: you encounter new things every day.

  • I’m a web designer.
  • I’m a graphic designer.
  • I design.
  • I make things pretty to look at and easy to use.
  • I help businesses improve their business.
  • I get paid to play.
  • I help others to grow as designers and coders.
  • I meticulously write valid markup.

I think my favorite would have to be “I get paid to play.” Jobs aren’t supposed to be fun, right? It wouldn’t be called “work” otherwise. So I feel rather blessed to have a job where I feel like everytime I’m creating a site for a client in Photoshop, or messing with code in Dreamweaver, I’m playing.

A recent conversation I had with a friend and former coworker gave me better insight on how to describe what it is that I – and others in my profession – do. It’s easy to tell someone you design websites or business cards. Most people get that. But many people trivialize our profession because the tools to make websites or business cards or whatever are available to anyone, regardless of their level of skill. Would you trust the maintenance or repair of your car to just anybody? Of course not. You might save a few dollars by going to Mechanic A, but if he doesn’t fix your car correctly, it could end up costing you more money to repair your car when you bring it to Mechanic B. Hindsight is 20-20. I get that.

Website design and development is like working on a car. A really beautiful car that is ugly under the hood isn’t going to be winning the Indy 500 anytime soon. An ugly that runs like a charm is going to do well. How else do you expect sites like CraigsList to prosper?

Anyway, I digress. How would you describe your job?

9 replies on “How would you describe your job?”

  1. I would describe my job basically the same way. Although, I don’t know how pretty I am making things. ;). My job is fun and challenging and sometimes frustrating. People want things quick and easy and good quality and sometimes that is hard. Oh, and everyone thinks you can design a website in Microsoft Word.

    My job is new everyday and I get to work with all types of people. Like you I am very blessed.

  2. Yep, I’m also a web designer and hence I’ve got the same problem. I try to refer to myself as a “web application designer” – that way I hope people will undestand that I do stuff with mySQL and PHP mainly, so not just layouts and pretty HTML… I try not to bring up the term “content management systems” so I wouldn’t confuse non-technical people. It’s a good idea also not to use too much web 2,0 lingo ;)

  3. I like the mechanic analogy. My job is many things: fun, challenging, frustrating, emotional draing and rewarding.

    I have always challenged myself to (to continue your analogy) take the pieces of scrap metal the client provides and turn it into the beautiful machine. Great to look at and it serves a purpose. This adds much more stress to the job, but makes it all that more rewarding when the client recognizes you with a job well done.

    My job has helped me observe more and take in some things that others will pass by without a thought. It forces me to look at details, examine things so that I can one day put what I have seen to use…

    I like my job.

  4. Jeff – that’s awesome. It’s tough to deal with people that think design is easy, but those obstacles can be overcome over time.

  5. Late – Thanks for checking out my site :) You had a really great post on site linking! You definitely need to speak to your audience. I find myself using vernacular we use at the office when I speak to friends and family and invariably they all look at me like I’m speaking Icelandic or something. :)

  6. Nick – What you’ve described is key… you’ve got to enjoy what you do. Yeah, it’s going to be draining, frustrating, etc… but in the end, if you still love what you do – more power to you. The cool thing with web development and design is that it’s always changing; always different. Techniques that worked in the past, are passe now. To stay on top of you game, you have to stay abreast of best practices, new technolgies, etc…

    I love working on the web :)

  7. Ooooh! A question! Very cool.
    I describe my job as connecting people to products.

    A lot of my friends and I are working on a political campaign right now, and I’d describe our jobs there as getting the word out… throughly, rhythmically, systematically.

  8. A Libertarian campaign to boot! I helped a Democrat run for Congress a couple of years ago, and it was fun and challenging. He didn’t end up winning, but I think all of us that helped out with the campaign learned some great lessons from the experience. (The greatest I learned was that I wanted to remain outside of politics!)

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