Why is it that when new people meet you, they want to “know what you do?”
Even if they don’t come right out and say, “What do you do for a living?” you’re already halfway through telling them about your 9-to-5 job. (Or, in my case, my 7-to-3:30 job).
I do it all the time. This morning I did a 5K with my little buddy, a 3rd grader who I was paired up with to get her to the finish line. I met her a few weeks ago at her school and we did a practice 5K with the other girls in the program and their running buddies. Today was the real deal.
When I met her parents before the race started, we talked briefly about — of course — what I do. I told them that I work in clinical research at a hospital. Suddenly they seemed really impressed. I think the words “clinical” and “research” put together automatically make you seem smarter than you actually are.
But then I — of course — back-pedaled a little.
“Well, I was a journalism major though,” I said. (Minus 5 smart points right there). “My first job out of college was as a reporter at a weekly newspaper,” I added. (Minus 10 smart points for that).
Telling people that I am in clinical research feels like it’s a lie. But, it’s not. I do work in clinical research! But, it doesn’t consume my identity. I feel like my ex-job as a reporter describes me better as a person. But I also keep telling myself that I never want to go back to reporting.
What is a girl to do?
My 3rd grader “E” and I ran and walked side by side for 3.1 miles this morning in the cold, drizzly Seattle weather. At the end of the race, I asked her if she was going to keep up running now that the program was over. She replied with an, “Ummmm, probably not.” I then asked her if she was going to do this program in the spring when the next session starts and without hesitation she said, “Yes.”
Maybe E is a little like me, having a bit of an identity crisis. She wasn’t thrilled about running — what 3rd grader is? — but she is already looking forward to doing the running-based program again.
Also, let me add that E is 8 years old and just completed her first 5K. I was 14 when I became a 5K finisher.