If you’ve never been asked this question, then you have never been to a networking event or met anyone as an adult. It’s bound to come up. Sometimes it’s a polite conversation starter or a hope that you’ll be a useful person to talk to (commonly masqueraded as genuine interest in you as a human).
So Sarah, what do you do?
The answer to this is complex, ever changing and has a history so it usually ends up in my mouth motoring on for far longer than expected and my brain in the back seat tapping me on the shoulder, whispering “they didn’t want to know this much” in my ear.
My solution is to write it out here so I can put this link on a business card to hand to them (jks I’ll just read this to them). To you I say:
Hello unsuspecting stranger, do read on!
I am a full time Senior Search Engine Optimisation Specialist.
This is my job that gets me out of the house and waking up at a regular time every day. I work on websites for some big brands, I work with some very smart and fun people. It keeps me up to date with all that is new and cool (to me at least).
While I am not formally educated in this field (there really isn’t any formal training for it worth taking), I have over 3 years of experience in Search Engine Optimisation at an enterprise level and another 2.5 years experience in the eCommerce industry – so I’ve had plenty of on the job training and learning in a full time capacity.
I’ve also completed contract and freelance work for small businesses and a council as an SEO outside of my full time role.
I am a freelance Graphic Designer.
I hold a Diploma of Graphic Design which was 2 years of full time study. I have completed branding for small businesses, including storefront signage, print media like catalogue-style advertising, flyers, business cards, book printing, book covers and plenty of web assets. I find logos fun to design and complete.
I don’t tend to showcase my work because the style always reflects the client more than me. I will work to the style, vision, taste and personality of my client because ultimately, the brand is theirs and not mine.
I am an illustrator and artist
This one started at a young age but grew when I started a tattooist apprenticeship out of high school. I love to draw and convey ideas.
I work in 2 styles. Simplicity and layered meaning.
Simplicity comes out in my pet portraits, charcoal drawings and muted palettes.
Layered meaning comes out in my book covers, which can be bright or muted, but often use mixed media, symbolism, hidden messages that only reveal themselves after you’ve read some or all of the book. I like to create something that displays the feeling and message of the book to make sure it can be judged by the cover and finds the right reader to pick it up.
I take commissions and I do self-driven work. I’m always trying to find more time for my art.
I am a writer, a thinker, a planner and a strategist
I’ve always read, I’ve always written. If ever I was trapped on a desert island, there is a part of me that thinks I’d be okay with a pencil that never blunted, paper that never ran out, an endless supply of reading material (and of course food and water). This has led me to a fascination with communication in all forms.
My exposure to brands both large and small has given me an understanding of what a brand needs to develop and how to break it down to get there. I have a unquenchable thirst for progress, and an obsession with organising. These both play beautifully into the work I have seemingly gotten myself into over and over again.
I am a yogi
Qualified and registered as a yoga instructor, I have completed training and practice every day. Mindfulness is key to not becoming overwhelmed and dealing with life issues when they arise. Commitment to the practice keeps me grounded, keeps me listening to my body and what’s beneath this sense of self I have developed.
Most importantly, practicing yoga keeps me from defining myself by my answers to questions like “what do you do?”.