Tired and socially exhausted after a very nice company dinner (a common predicament for introverts), I was looking forward to some me-time on the taxi home. But it was not to be — the taxi driver was a little chattier than I’d hoped.
Having seen me catch his taxi amongst a group of foreigners whom presumably were my colleagues (yes, they were), he was curious as to what I did — “what do you work as?” I told him I worked in the education industry, and briefed him a little on what my company did.
I then went into a little bit more of the specifics — what my role entailed (“I’m a sales/business analyst. You know… business, IT, data, analysis…).
But I saw he wasn’t really getting it (“you analyse?…”)
In the end, I went on to the fall-back option of saying, “I work in sales and marketing.” (I’ve faced this issue many times before. See my post “What do you do? I’m an analyst.“)
And he got it. It seems he got it real good.
A most unexpected look of shock followed by abject pity came over his face. “Boss,” he told me, “I used to work in marketing. But look where I am now.”
I noticed we were in a taxi.
“Boss,” he continued (“I’m a boss!” I thought to myself), “before I started driving a taxi, I used to work in marketing. Earning big bucks. Then my company restructured and I got retrenched. I earned too much.”
He paused, as if reminiscing of the good ol’ days rolling in dough, then said, “You know, in marketing, as long as you earn money by only talking, anyone can take over your place and do your job. Let me give you some advice: don’t just stick to marketing. Go out and learn more.”
I realised that no, he didn’t really get what I did (yes, I work in sales and marketing; but no, I don’t do “marketing” per se).
And I couldn’t help but debate in my head if he meant “sales” and not “marketing”.
My head pounded. Was it the wine? Probably not.
I half-opened my mouth wanting to say something. But you know what? He looked so happy (1) reminiscing about his glorious past; and (2) revelling in the present dispensing career advice to a chap who desperately needed it; that I couldn’t bear to break the spell by saying “you got it all wrong, sir.”
So I nodded in silent agreement, and promised to look beyond marketing. A promise made good as soon as it was made.
I’m an analyst. And I’m bloody glad I am.