Recently we interviewed potential interns. At the end of each interview we always ask if they have any questions for us. One of them said: "I have a question. What does your day look like?"
Great question, I thought instantly. It gives me a chance to gush about what I do, and hopefully make this youngster even keener to get the internship.
"Well, no day is like any other", I started off pompously. "Some days we are fully booked up with meetings, so it means spending the day talking to clients about ongoing projects, which really helps us get a lot of things done. Or it means being in creative meetings, where we brainstorm about upcoming campaigns. That's one of the great things about working here, you can say anything in creative meetings and who knows -- maybe what you say will lead to the whole team developing a great idea."
Since I was in full swing, I thought -- why stop here? Let the young one know just how much we work all the time!
"Of course when we're not in meetings, we're talking to our developers and designers, making sure everything is going smoothly. There are a lot of emails and phone calls, since we work intensely with other departments too. There are no working hours for community managers, so we're online all the time, with our communities and clients when necessary."
Sadly I left out the usual spiel about how we always have time for a laugh and how important it is to work with people you like and so on. But this is normally a part of my repertoire when talking about my job.
There is nothing untrue about my description of my job, but it is a highlighted, perhaps botoxed version of reality. I find that this is what most of us tend to do -- we make it all sound just a tad bit better, smoother, more important, glamorous -- whatever is necessary to capture the attention of your audience. In this case my audience was someone that has not even started out in the corporate world and as such took my every word as gospel. This only made it so much more tempting to really go for it and make myself and my job sound ridiculously important, and yes - busy!
Why do we do this? And more importantly, why do we fall for it when other people do it (and we know they're doing it, too)? Is it the eternal optimist in us, that makes us want to present things better than they are? Or is it purely the need for one-upmanship that drives us to always present a better, more polished and appealing version of our own lives? And, thinking about the things that we do say -- what exactly do we think should appeal to the person we are talking to?