My grandmother never got a degree, never worked outside the home, and like many women of her generation she stayed at home and looked after her children. When I got my degree she bought me a watch. Although she personally believed that women’s best place is at home and looking after children, she was very proud of my achievement.
To my dismay, after I got my first job as a researcher at the university she was proudly telling everybody in town that her grandchild was working at the library.
To her knowledge, researching was not a job, but spending ten hours a day at the library was one, wasn’t it? At least, one she could talk about.
Sometimes we insist in telling our story to customers who are not ready, who cannot grasp the whole meaning of what we do, and as a result we feel frustrated.
How can we tell a shorter version of what we do to people who aren’t there yet? Can we fragment our story for different audiences?
We can meet people where they are, explaining to them what we do in a way that they can relate to. Nobody says that you need to tell your full story all the time – sometimes simpler and shorter versions can work too for those eager to talk about you.
PS: In case you’re wondering, yes, I spent the next three years explaining to a lot of people in my home town that I was not a librarian.