Thursday, May 23, 2013

Career Day, or as I like to call it "What the hell did I get myself into?"

My daughter brought home a sign up form a month ago for career day.  I vaguely remember ours in school, where you had to sign up to go to a class and a parent would talk about their careers.  I thought it sounded like a good idea.  Of course my memory was on career day for high schoolers, in this case, I would be dealing with elementary school kids, how hard could it be.

My concerns started brewing when after signing up, they sent home a flyer advising parents to ensure they bring their materials.  Materials?????  What the hell kind of materials am I going to bring.  I sit on a recliner, with my laptop and my phone, that's the extent of my materials. 

I shook it off and decided to carry on with my plans of showing up sans materials.  I managed to even laugh along with the jokes from my daughter and wife in the weeks leading up to it.  They claim they don't understand what I do (although my opinion is they don't particularly care).  My daughter thinks I play video games all day and then go to Las Vegas occasionally, which would truly be a great job if that was the case, I suspect my wife believe the same, but has no interest other then that the bills are paid.

I will admit, that while the specifics of what I do are fairly mundane, there are some interesting things about my job.  I work for a Fortune 50 company at a fairly high level (given the number of years I've been there).  I work with people all around the world on high dollar contracts for cutting edge technology.

There is something cool about that, isn't there?

If that question was posed to elementary school students, the answer would be a resounding "no".  The career fair I arrived at, had us at our own tables in a horseshoe shaped seating arrangement and the students would come in and walk around the tables as the teachers brought their classes in. 

I was lucky enough to be seated by the chef/owner of a local restaurant and the fire chief.  Lucky me!!  Thankfully my table had little traffic allowing the chef to queue up the eager students awaiting to get at his display of gummy bears, dried cherries, and other assorted foods.  Any stragglers that couldn't fit in front of the fire chiefs table were also able to wait by mine, as there was a line forming to view the infrared camera he was showing off (way cooler then I would have expected and the resolution on the new models, wow). 

The poor children that did inquire about what I did, quickly had a glazed look come over their eyes, until they caught sight of the bright, shiny fruits and vegetables at the next table, which snapped them out of their trance.  Towards the later part of the event, I'd start my conversation by telling the kids they really should check out the infrared camera with the fireman.

I shouldn't have been surprised, over the years, I've taken to just saying I'm a project manager when people ask me what I do, it's quick and easy and a professional title that people understand, although I don't necessarily think they understand what a project manager does. 

My brother who has also shared this problem, advised me I should have taken the Barney Stinson approach.  "How I met your Mother" is a show which I've only casually watched, so I wasn't familiar with this running joke, but here's a collection of them.

Going forward there will be no Career days, I'll stick to coaching the daughter's softball team, I will be utilizing the Barney Stinson job reply though for the foreseeable future.