Man dreads relatives asking at Christmas dinner: ‘What exactly do you do?’


Metaphors, anecdotes and comparisons with occupations from a bygone age are all hopeless when explaining ‘what exactly is it you do’, according to a new report. The verdict will make grim reading for people visiting friends and relatives at Christmas to face probing questions about how they spend their days. A staggering 65% of a study group is still totally unable to explain themselves adequately to a range of audiences with different capacities of understanding.

Researchers quizzed a variety of people from a smorgasbord of different emotional viewpoints, ranging from disdainful uncles, through to competitive cousins, curious nephews and nieces, passive aggressive aunts and baffled grandparents. As a controlled experiment the sample also included chippy neighbours of relatives who’ve never really liked you or anything that your post code represents.
The study found that for a range of reasons, it is now increasingly difficult to explain what you do all day, or indeed why. The challenges include feigned interest (which is often just the set up for a pre-prepared gag) generational differences, mismatched expectations (‘I told you to get into computing!’) and a broader category called General Incomprehension. It is the General Incomprehension category that shows the fastest growth. Class war, family resentment and regional differences have flat-lined as root causes of people still not being able to work out what you do.

Meanwhile, Britain’s increasingly eclectic jobs market has been a rich source of confusion. Under test conditions, some uncles who didn’t have passive aggressive digs to make, were genuinely baffled by the job description of Apple Evangelist
Social media blogger and an Audience Insight Manager. Researchers found that some of the people holding those jobs showed signs of not understanding what they do all day either. The report author, called on Parliament to do something urgently. ‘We need to return to the days when people were named after their jobs,’ said Dave Transformation-Manager-Turned-Report-Writer.

5th December 2013

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