Personal – 2010-11-16

What do you do?

I step into the salon. The hairdressers are busy shortening and shaping their clients hair according to the latest fashions. All of them are engaged in conversations, talking about everything between heaven and earth. Still I am greeted by friendly smiles. I walk up to the register, one of the hairdressers apologizes to her client and comes over. I ask her if there is any possibility they can fit me in as I have an important meeting with a new client in the morning and am long overdue for a haircut.

-“Of course, have a seat. I will be ready in about fifteen minutes”.

Delighted I take a seat on one the modern square stools. None of the magazines available are of any interest so I listen in to the ongoing conversations.

The hairdresser I now have an appointment with is a young woman in her early twenties. She is very talkative and from the relentless stream of polite questions I gather she takes a natural interest in her clients. It strikes me that once it is my turn she will inevitably ask me what I do for a living.


Finally a great opportunity to practice explaining what I do in a clear and concise manner to someone who is unlikley to have any preconceptions and who seems to share a genuine interest in her fellow human beings. I do some mental juggeling and come up with a variation of my usual presentation simplifying it slightly and adding a few points about why I enjoy my work.

It is my turn now, after agreeing on length, style and sitting through the obligatory hair wash the question comes. I am prepared and fire away on all cylinders. When I finish I feel like I just hit a home run. This could be how I should always present myself.

Oh, so you’re like an office worker?

My heart sinks. I feel slightly frustrated over my failure to convey how meaningful my work is. I want to say no, no, I do important work that makes the web a better place for everyone, instead I hear myself say:

Yes, I guess I work in an office most of the time but my point is…

I can see she has lost interest and on second thought my simplified description probably does sound a lot like ordinary office work. Maybe because a lot if it is?

Realizing that any further attempts will sound like a line out of Office Space I retreat with what little dignity I have left and change the subject.

While this is now a slightly amusing story I can chuckle over with my co-workers it does feel like I left a piece of my ego next to some of my hair on that salon floor. Probably for the better.

One Comment on “What do you do?”

  1. 1: Tweets that mention FLUXD - What do you do? -- said at 04:41 on November 16th, 2010:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Pontus Hellgren, Fredrik Lindersson. Fredrik Lindersson said: I wrote a short story from real life. A place where UX Designers are not Rockstars: […]

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