Sunday, November 15, 2015

Now We're Cooking With AWKWARD

Last Thursday John and I went to a cooking class here in Orlando. We were split into teams of four, assigned a kitchen station, handed a pack of recipes, and unleashed. It was actually kind of fun, considering I hate to cook and was really just there for John's moral support.

(Me: "What's this, you like to cook now? HERE LET ME BUY YOU EVERY COOKING UTENSIL EVER AND SIGN YOU UP FOR CLASSES AND SING SONGS OF YOUR PRAISES JUST PLEASE NEVER STOP COOKING EVER. Also, could we have scratch-made Mulligatawny soup tomorrow night? With fresh bread? KTHXBAI.")

Ahem.

Before our teams were set loose in the class, though, we had the dreaded "everyone go around and say your name and what you do" with the big group. And wouldn't you know it, John was first.

He later claimed he was caught off guard with no time to prepare, since usually he just points at me and says, "I work for her." Flustered by the sudden spotlight of attention, though, John instead blurted, "Hi, I'm John, and I'm a blogger."

[wincing] Oooh. Rookie mistake, John.

This immediately intrigued the instructor - a spry 74-year-old - and for the next few moments we (oh yes, I got roped in, too - THANKS BABE) had to stumble through the usual incredulous Q&A in front of a small crowd of mostly disinterested strangers.

"Well, the main one's about cake, but we don't make cakes. We, uh, make fun of bad cakes - but only bad ones! - and not in a mean way, just a funny way?" [pained smiles] "Yes, it's our real job. No, we're not homeless. Surprisingly, quite a few people DO visit the site. Yes, every day. How many people? Uh..."

Did I mention no one else had introduced themselves yet? And that this was literally our first impression on 20 complete strangers?

John and I don't break the ice so much as bellyflop on to it awkwardly, knock the wind out of ourselves, and then worm-crawl away while waving off offers of assistance like, "no no, it's all good, WE DO THIS ALL THE TIME."

After our painfulness ended, the rest of the group zipped through their intros in about 10 seconds flat, no follow-up questions needed. Of course.

Apparently John and I are so rusty at meeting non-internet people that we've pretty much forgotten how. I'm extra spoiled by you readers; with you I get to meet "new" people who already know me well enough to not be unduly alarmed when I get a little fan-screechy about my Harry Potter Christmas decorations (which happened later), and when I talk about my costumes (which also happened later), you know I (probably) don't mean in a weird sex way. Plus I think there's extra grace given with us geeky internet types: we know to give each other a lot of leeway, awkwardness-wise, and that's a lovely way to live.

I bet there's a life lesson in there somewhere.

Anyhoo, in the meantime: if you notice any strangers in the comments talking about "is this the girl who burned the leeks and who doesn't make cakes but still has a job with them somehow," pay them no mind.

That was totally somebody else.

102 comments:

  1. Next time, start with "I'm a New York Times best selling author." Then, any awkwardness just adds to your mystique. Or swear in Klingon. Either way, you'll make an impression.

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    Replies
    1. That is perfect. Best - Intro - Ever!

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    2. where is the darn like button??? LOL

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  2. You've gotta practice your routine! As a homeschooled twin who lives on a farm, my sister and I have got it down pat.

    Random Person (RP): Hey, wait a minute. Are you guys twins?

    Twin and I (TI): Hahah, yeah.

    RP: HEY! That's so cool! You two look so alike! Stand next to each other.

    TI: *Awkward shuffling next to each other, partially smiling while person looks at us*

    RP: WOW! So do you two dress the same?

    TI: *Glancing down at obviously very different clothes* Nope. We like different fashions.

    RP: Oh, bummer. Hey do you know (insert other pair of twins here) at (insert local school here)?

    TI: Haha, no. We're homeschooled.

    RP: OH REALLY? That's so cool! Have you always been homeschooled?

    TI: No, we were pulled out in 2nd grade.

    RP: Oh. What do you learn?

    TI: Normal stuff, we just don't do a lot of books. We like to go out to museums for history, and we get biology from our farm.

    RP: You live on a farm?? So cool! What animals do you have??

    TI: The usual, just no cows. We have goats though.

    RP: What do you do with your animals?

    TI: Well, some we use for eggs and milk, and others we butcher.

    RP: Oh, I would never be able to do that.

    TI: Haha, yeah. It gets hard sometimes.

    *Insert awkward goodbyes*

    See? Practice. As a introverted teen with anxiety issues practicing these conversations makes everything better. Plus, people do have a pattern in questions they ask.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I were the random person - which I guess I am now - I would have said "Cool! I have twins! They just went off to college." And then I may or may not have told you all about them. Sorry about that. :D You and your twin sound awesome! Keep up the great work learning in creative ways!

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    2. Always lovely to meet people with twins! Did you or your twins ever get the typical questions?

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    3. My boyfriend is a twin, and when I mention his twin sister, I am often asked if they're identical. No, folks. No they are not.

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  3. I find it waaaaaay easier to make friends online. I recently had to Google "How to make friends in your 40's". It didn't help. Maybe I should start a Epbot readers meet up group for Sacramento then we can all get together and be happily awkward together.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was recently thinking about trying to do an EPBOT meet up group in the Chicago area. I don't think it's fair only the people in FL get to share there mutual geekiness.

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    2. I'd come to that group meeting!

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    3. I would so be there! (I'm in Auburn) I have totally realized lately that I am the weird, awkward person in every group I'm in. I have totally Googled "How to make friends," too, lol!

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    4. There's a website called The Toast with lots of wonderful supportive people, and they have a GoogleDoc spreadsheet with contact information that helps readers get in contact with one another. Perhaps some devoted Epbot reader who's better at that sort of thing than I am can figure it out?

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    5. Is there an Epbot group in the Seattle area? I would be all over that.

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  4. Oh God, having to state your name and occupation in front of strangers is AWFUL, why do people make you do it? And what relevant info does your occupation really give people when you're in a cooking class? The instructor should really ask something like, "what do you hope to learn from this class" or "what's your comfort level with cooking/whatever skill you're there to learn." It's still horrible, but at least you don't have to go through that kind of scrutiny.

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  5. Ugh, I hate those awkward "go around the circle" things. And honestly, especially with so many people un/underemployed, can we maybe not define people by their jobs?

    I like Sharyn's idea. Or maybe just say "writer." It's kind of all-inclusive but doesn't invite as many questions. And if people do question you, you can always do the "Amazon me, bitches" thing (but like, more politely than that).

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  6. Susanna Sharp-SchwackeNovember 15, 2015 at 3:13 PM

    Hi, my name is Susanna, and I'm a graphic designer who works with a small publisher in a teensy town in northern Ohio. No, I can't publish your book about how you collect lint and knit puppy cozies. Oh, and I bartend at a gay bar.

    Nothing about that is ever awkward. *grimace*

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  7. Ohhh, I hate introductions. And being first...nooo thank you. I feel ya. It's funny how different it feels talking to people who don't fit into that "geek" mold.

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  8. I feel your pain. Whenever it gets out what I do for a living, everyone is immediately fascinated and keeps asking questions. By the time I finally satisfy their curiosity and the conversation is wrapping up, it dawns on me that I have no clue what the other person does, and then I feel horrible for not asking them more questions. I'm trying to get better at steering the conversation back towards them.

    For the record, I am a props artisan / props master and spend most of my time working on floats for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and the rest making and finding props for various Broadway and off-Broadway shows, and some other projects here and there.

    (A few years ago you tweeted something about asking what we did at work that day, and I was the one who posted a picture of a brick wearing a bowler hat, tie, and glasses. You said we should be friends, and I got so excited that I did not know how to respond and never really did. Hi! Can we still be friends?)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, YES WE CAN. (Do you ever have a "bring a random blogger to work" day? Because if so, I volunteer.)

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    2. I can't decide if I want in on your job, or I want to get cast someplace that can *afford* you.

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    3. YAY!!! We do have an annual "Press Day," but it's tomorrow in New Jersey. Maybe we can meet up in December at Universal though? I'll be down there for a week with the holiday parade down there. PM me on Instagtam or Twitter for more specifics if you like.

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    4. Oops! Forgot my username! Lifeisprops

      Delete
  9. I am a manufacturing associate at a pharmaceutical company so...

    "Hi, I'm Nicole and I make drugs"

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    Replies
    1. I bet that one gets some raised eyebrows.

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    2. I know a middle-aged man who is a pharmaceutical rep to doctors' offices. Every time he introduces himself, he says "I sell drugs!"

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    3. My brother used to deal cards at a casino. His standard answer to "So, What do you do?" was "I'm a dealer," followed by a moment or two of silence. Never not funny.

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    4. My brother used to deal cards at a casino. His standard answer to "So, What do you do?" was "I'm a dealer," followed by a moment or two of silence. Never not funny.

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  10. As much as I love this post, I think I love these comments more. ♡

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  11. Hi I'm Helen and I'm an artist. *Awkward pause* "So you don't work then?"

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    Replies
    1. I have a ton of artist friends, so this made me LOL for real. I'm sorry. I don't exactly feel your pain, but I've heard a lot about it. :D

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    2. I can't decide if that's better or worse than, "draw/paint/ART something for me! Now! In the middle of the subway! For free!"

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    3. And it's always, "Can you draw me???" (i.e. right now, this instant, and perfectly).

      Delete
  12. " Hi, I'm Tina, I teach at a physiotherapy school, what do you do?"
    " Oh, what do you teach? "
    " Anatomy."
    " So you cut up dead people? As a doctor?"
    " No, I'm a zoologist, I cut up dead animals too."

    Fun times, gives me lots of space, especially at cooking classes and tastings. I break the ice like a seal going for the tasty cuddly penguin...

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  13. Another option: lie. "Hi, I'm Jen, and I'm an accountant."

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    Replies
    1. John & I figure we should say we sell mutual funds, and then start asking if they've thought about their retirement options. They'll RUN.

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    2. Or that you sell insurance. Ned? Ned Ryerson!

      -Just Andrea

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  14. I love the belly-flopping on the ice image!

    Hi, I'm Jen, I used to be cool. I used to teach martial arts, I used to travel the world as an architect for an international water park design firm (true both). Now I am a wife to a Air Force officer and a stay at home mom/teacher to my 14 year old geek girl child. I HATE when someone asks me my job, it just isn't cool to be a SAHM to a 14 year old and it is way uncool to be a homeschool mom to an only child with no goats or bees to justify my existence.

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    Replies
    1. I homeschool an only with no farm animals too! :D also married to an AF officer. only my girl is 17 now.

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    2. I love that goats or bees are somehow a status symbol here. I'd like to test those limits. I mean, can I say I raise lizards? Because living in FL, that's pretty accurate. ;)

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    3. Yep. I was a full-time, stay-at-home, homeschooling Mom for 15 years, so know all about awkward introductions. I laughed out loud at the "no goats or bees to justify my existence" comment - so, so true.

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  15. Hi, I'm Renee. I'm a web-surfing mooch who also, is a housewife, homeschools my daughter, designs and sews costumes for theater groups, and volunteers for many causes including the accounting for my church...almost no one pays me. ;)

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  16. Oh my word, I can totally relate! I stink at meeting new people in any situation, but in a "everybody introduce yourself" situation? Oi!

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  17. Hi, I'm Sherry and I work retail at a major craft supply store. Yes, I went to college. Yes, I graduated, with honors in biology. Yes, I could find a job in my field, but I prefer craft retail. Yes, really. No, I can't make them stop putting out Christmas stuff in June, but I *can* help you find everything you need to make the cook geeky projects on this awesome blog that I read...

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  18. Jen, I second Sharyn's suggestion, or you could just say "I work at home".
    The comments really are especially awesome this time.
    I never run into this problem because I say "I am a programmer" and call it a day. Desk jobs have to have some advantages, right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm a programmer too (well, 'Software Engineer' after the latest hurricane re-org at my company) but everytime I tell people that they think I can fix their computer, or that I'm a website person. They are highly disappointed when I tell them I have about as much of a clue as to what's wrong with their home computer/tablet/phone as they do... or why their favorite website is down. :)

      Delete
    2. You could just quote "IT Crowd":

      "Have you tried turning it off and on again?"

      Delete
    3. Turning it off and then turning it on again fixes just about everything. IT doesn't take your calls seriously unless you tell them you already tried that. If not its the first thing they ask you to do.


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    4. I should start with I am a programmer more often, that would probably cut down on the questions.

      My introductions can get convoluted. I really like my work and can talk about it for hours, but I have to check myself and remind myself that I don't want to go all Sheldon and hog every minute of the conversation. I need to learn about the people I'm talking to too. And like Jen's example it can just take all the conversation when you don't mean to.

      I have an electrical engineering undergraduate degree, and a masters in nuclear engineering. But what I work on mostly is a called PRA (Probalistic Risk Assement) which in my case is basically writing programs to roll dice (generate random numbers) for how often people get injured and what needs to go medical kits for an entire mission. The nuclear industry uses it to show their designs are safe, which is how I got into it the first place. But explaining to people all that, and that after I was a nuclear engineer I am now basically just a programmer, gets really weird looks.

      I've discovered I get some different reactions to introductions though.

      "I'm an electrical engineer." Weird discussions, people feel a need to tell me about things they've built. An old lady told be about how she built birdhouses. I've also had people go into home renovation and car engines discussions, neither of which I know anything about.

      "I'm a nuclear engineer." Dead silence usually. Quickest way to end a conversation ever. I'm female 5'6, and they just don't know how respond. Electrical engineer always goes over better than nuclear engineer. I think it sounds more relatable.

      Me: "I'm a NASA Electrical and Nuclear Engineer."
      Them: "Wow you must be really smart. What to you there?"
      Me: "I make computer models for the usage of medical supplies on the ISS.
      Them: "How does that work? Those don't go together."
      Me: Repeat previous explantion in paragraph above.
      Me: "What do you do?"
      Them: "Oh I'm a stay at home mom."

      If I'm on my game I then ask them which of the kids running around are theirs and their ages. If I'm not we kind of stare at each other. And then I ask follow up question of where they're from.

      If she then asks me if I have any kids, I say no and it can get really awkward real fast.

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  19. Yeah, I've done something similar. What you need is a bunch of cool sounding euphemisms/acronyms you memorize when meeting people of the non-internet variety. Linked-in is so useful for that. I'm a "small business entrepreneur", "craftsman", with a "social media monotization", "influencer", "digital archivist"... stuff like that. Just rattle them off without thinking and it sounds cool.

    Not that I have much chance. I flub it in person too. *groan*

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  20. Or you could pretend to be me. "I'm a secretary." They'll move on real quick to the next joker.

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  21. I make wire wrapped jewelry for a living on etsy and at shows. Depending on the person I will say I work for myself as a full time jewelry designer or, if they're extra crunchy, I become and "artisan jewelry maker." It's almost always followed up with, "wow, you do that full time?" Because there's definitely an amazed factor to people that I work for myself. :)

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  22. I have found that you can determine the age of a person by how they respond when you tell them you blog for a living. Teens and 20s think you are awesome. Old people are confused and then worried for your personal security ("Aren't you afraid people will find out where you live?"). And people my mom's age will just ask if I am one of the people who "put things on the Pinterest."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It depends on the old person Jessica! Some of us are into blogging as well!

      Delete
  23. Some days I miss my old job. It let me say things like "Hi, I'm Angie and I answer questions about erections on the phone" and "Hi, I'm Angie and I talk people down off the smoking ledge." (I used to work a phone line for pharmaceuticals... Oh, the prank calls for Viagra!)

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  24. I can't believe you didn't have anyone in the group who didn't know about Cake Wrecks! It seems everyone I know knows about it and we would have been fan-girling all over the place. :D

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  25. My god, I hate it when I have to do that. 'Hi I'm Kari and I work for (major computer repair company name).' Invariably I always get, 'Ohhh, you fix computers? Can you tell me what's wrong with my aunt's 100 year old desktop? *20 minute long rambling list of vague symptoms*' Most people don't get that I love my job, but hate trying to talk shop in the middle of whatever the hell else I'm trying to do. The worst ones are when I'm trying to eat at a restaurant in my uniform and the waiter is doing it. I just want to cram my food in my mouth and leave, not have to fix your stuff for free when you don't have it with you and I have no idea what you're trying to describe!

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  26. The last time I had to do that, I just mumbled something like I'm an introvert and I hate talking to people...nextokbye. Then I just kept my head down and doodled through the rest of the class.

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  27. Am I the only one totally distracted by the "How to Fix Frizzy Doll Hair" on the side of these comments? This is the second time I've read comments and found myself wishing I had curly pink hair like that.
    Annnd...that random comment totally fits the awkward comments in social situations theme of today's blog.

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    Replies
    1. Nah, I keep looking at it wishing I could get my frizzy head of hair to look like that.

      Delete
  28. Oh I know this. And I've tried so many versions.
    "I'm an FX artist." - "A what?"
    "I work in movies." - "Oh, so what do you do for movies."
    "Ehm, I make explosions and stuff with a computer." - "Eh, ok.. I'm not sure..."
    "You know when you have movies and there's dragons and things that breathe fire, the kind of stuff that can't be real and is all done in a computer?" - "Yes..."
    "Well that kind of thing." - "Oh! So you're an animator!"
    Cue big sigh.

    And then they start asking if they might ever have seen a movie I've worked on and of course they haven't seen any big tent pole film for 10 years. And if by chance they have seen one, they'll have lots of trouble understanding that I can't explain which 3 second shot of the film my work was in. Oh well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me: I'm an actress.
      People: OOOOOH. IN MOVIES?
      Me: ...We're in New York. No, theatre.
      People: HAVE I SEEN YOU IN ANYTHING?
      Me: ...Seen any off-off-off Broadway recently? Fringe? Festivals?
      People: *look confused, because they don't know this exists*
      Me: ...I did some background work in *names a film or TV show*
      People: OOOOOOOOOH. ACT FOR US.
      Me: ...Never mind. This is my stop. (It isn't.)

      Delete
    2. or they always ask you to sing!

      Delete
  29. Engineer or defense contractor...nothing better than someone cracking jokes about "if I told you I'd have to..." (which may not be so bad if I weren't built like an amazon and kind of a hermit). Although in my case, I've been awful at introductions/first impressions for decades (great example - my mother was hoping to set me up with a pre-law guy; first time we met, I had stopped at the garage to get them to fix my windshield washer fluid that wasn't working after they had just done work on my car...pre-law had about none of my attention and it was only later that my mother mentioned her plans. Girl whose wipers weren't working wasn't exactly the impression I'd have aimed for had I known...).

    ReplyDelete
  30. "Hi, I'm K. and I'm a writer."
    Can I buy your books?
    "No, I don't have anything published yet."
    What do you write?
    "Children's books"
    Some variation of: Oh, so you're not a *real* writer, then -or- It must be nice to do something so easy, you must write, like, a book a day.

    Seriously, though, Jen, I'm shocked there are still people who don't know CakeWrecks. Definitely their loss.

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    Replies
    1. That was kind of my thought too. If there were 20 people in the class, surely 19 of them knew who J&J were???

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  31. almost as awkward when we say we're artist and people say "no really, what do you do?"

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  32. It's not like I have an unusual job, but for some reason people simply refuse to understand what it is I do. It always goes like this:

    Me: Hi, I'm Laura. I'm a security monitoring agent.
    Them: You're...*looks up and down all five-foot-two of my tiny frame* a security guard? Like, do you carry a gun?
    Me: No, I monitor home and business security systems.
    Them: ...Like a security guard?
    Me: No, I'm not a security guard, I work in an office. I call the police when people set their burglary alarms off.
    Them: You're a cop?!
    Me: Noooooo, I just call the police. On the phone.
    Them: ...?
    Me: ...Like when someone is breaking in or the homeowner's dog sets their alarm off.
    Them: YOU DISPATCH POLICE DOGS?!
    Me: *heavy internal sigh* I press buttons on a computer and talk to people.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I worked (off and on) during high school and college for my Dad,who builds and restores carousels. Yep, wooden ones. I worked on many different aspects--designing and painting horses, guiding tours through the shop, Secretary/Receptionist/Filing Clerk, but the best one for awkwardly introducing myself was that I would clean many layers of funky old paint off before a restoration, so I could honestly say I worked as a stripper (which was preys funny if you saw me at the time)!

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    Replies
    1. I'm so jealous! I absolutely LOVE carousels, and it would be a dream to help build or restore one. That is super cool! And the 'stripper' part is hilarious.

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    2. I would love to work on wooden carousels! *bucket list*

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    3. I also could reply "stripper". My first job was with a printing company. A stripper sets type and strips in negatives to burn plates for printing presses. You know, in the dark ages, when words and pictures came on paper.

      Delete
  34. As usual, thanks for laying your humility bare for the sake of comic relief here! And the comments only get better - I must find a way to make it to an EPBOT reader meet up sometime soon because it's hard to find my "peeps" in St Petersburg, FL. When I worked as a Park Ranger in Everglades National Park I got lots of blank stares or people eagerly asking if they could see my gun.... To which I replied (only to the awkwardly over eager fishermen, always men, never women who asked) - well, based on the conversation we're having you should be relieved I left my gun at home,,, heh heh. Seriously though, never carried a gun but it was always the most fun answer to use. Now as a stay at home mom my meetings go more like this:
    Other mom: oh, what do you do?
    Me: I work from home a little but am mostly doing the mom thing with Clementine here for a while (thinking: please be cool so we can hang out, it's really hard to meet other cool moms when you work at home)
    --We both look down at Clementine while other mom says hello to her to observe her giving the new mom a deadpan "suspicious" face then goes back to examining her Star Wars t-shirt--
    Other mom: She's a nice little.... Girl?
    Me: She's more of an introvert really... (Laughing inside. Nope, not adding her to the mom tribe...)

    So hard to meet new friends let alone new friends who like kids and are able to geek out with you on the latest Star Wars novel or dreaming of cosplay ideas. Thank heavens for EPBOT!

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    Replies
    1. I am so proud of my cousin, who has raised her little nerdlings to be exactly who they want to be...which, in the case of her tiny, blonde, blue eyed daughter, who looks like the angel on a Christmas tree--is either Indiana Jones, or Raphael the TMNT. She would give you the withering death stare of doom if you attempted to go all Disney Princess on her! Wish you guys could meet up!

      Delete
    2. Cara, I'm in Tampa (well, in Palm Harbor) we should totally schedule an Epbot meet!

      Delete
  35. "Hi, I'm Allison, and right now I'm a full-time nursing student."

    "Oooooooh, I have this rash..."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YES!! Why do they always have some rash or "knot" they want to show us?? I mean, as a jail nurse, I fear no rash, but I really don't want to see yours in the middle of Walmart. Thanks, but um... no.

      Delete
  36. I work for my company's social support team. It basically means I help fix the problems people have with our products, but the reports come in from Facebook and Twitter. It's no different than what our phone or email support teams do, but for some reason it's viewed very differently.

    "Hi, what do you do for a living?"
    "Oh, I work for [company]. I do their social support."
    "What's that."
    "If some one reports a problem with our stuff on Facebook or Twitter, I help them fix it."
    "Oh, so you're just on Facebook all day. That sounds like an amazing job!"
    "Well, I mean, technically I guess that's true..."

    While I *am* "on Facebook", the actual reports come in on our ticketing system. It's not like I'm doing anything fun...

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  37. Sounds like your Evil Twins, Skippy, took over.

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  38. "These are not the bloggers you're looking for." (waves hand and trolls subside)

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  39. Couple of years ago, I found the perfect solution for this situation applied to my job.

    Hi, I'm Beth, nice to meet you.

    What do I do? I work for a university.
    (sometimes it ends here, they assume I work an office job on campus, which is lovely)

    Doing what? I'm a research scientist.

    What does that mean? .... You know how you hear on the news that "they did a study and found blah blah blah"?

    Yeah?

    I'm "They".

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  40. cracking up that usually john says he works for you and makes you answer!
    personally, i love the thought of you saying that you are a writer. because you are a damn fine writer. and, ya know, a new york times best selling author. ahem.

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  41. You'd think my job description would be straightforward, but every profession has the same set of questions that always follow:
    "I design wind turbines."
    "Were you involved with the turbines at [local wind farm]?"
    "No, I'm an engineer. I do the design, I'm not involved in instillation."
    "So can you tell me how much it would cost to install solar panels on my house?"
    "...No?"

    ReplyDelete
  42. "I'm a grantwriter for a school district."
    "oooh, you can write me a grant! Hahahahahaha" EVERY.SINGLE.TIME.

    ReplyDelete
  43. "Yeah, I work in a High School"
    "Oh, so you're a teacher?"
    "No, support staff"
    "Right, so what do you actually do?"
    *inward sigh* "I'm the Chaplain"
    And then the inevitable: "So you're a priest/nun/vicar?" or the "Why does a school need a Chaplain?"

    Sometimes, I don't want to explain it. Sometimes I want to let you get to know me before I tell you I have a faith-based job. Sometimes, I just want to "work in a school" and not need to explain what that means... because it's almost always awkward to do that.

    (I was so relieved when I met you and John and he'd already read it on Google Stalker (I mean Hangouts!) and didn't ask me a heap of awkward questions about it!) :D

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  44. I once had a job where the title was Fulfillment Specialist. After the ribald comments the first three times I said it, I just said what I did, which was envelope-stuffing.

    And try the go-around-the-circle thing at an support group for unemployed people. Yeah, fun for everyone.

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  45. So the photo that showed up in my news feed for this was the "read this if you wear a bra" link. So, I'm thinking, Jen is posting about something awkward regarding bras! So, it took me a minute to understand what you were saying, because I kept expecting something about bras...

    ROFL!

    So, in the future, prepare a script where you say, "Well, we blog for a living. Oh, well, I'm sure you've never heard of it. No, really, it's for a very elite class of Internet viewers." and go on in that vein until one of you mentions Cakewrecks... ;)

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  46. I'm a librarian and currently looking for a job. I've gotten really good at going, no, really, librarians are still around. At the moment, I live in an area with an older crowd who either go but technology or but the library's not for me anymore.

    Sometimes its easier to say substitute teacher or fact-checker, that gets questions too, but I like those more. They don't involve as much, let me prove why my profession still matters.

    Thank you for sharing this moment and belly flopping is a great way to describe this kind of awkward.

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    1. I love librarians! Most helpful people on the planet. So happy they are still around. (My local librarians are possibly tired of seeing me daily...)

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    2. Thank you. I love being a librarian and being able to help.

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  47. Ok, so next time (you should totally do something together again like this) you'll be prepared. Bring your own fan to the event/class. Then, when one of you introduces yourself, the fan can go all..... fan-y. "WHAT?! You mean CakeWrecks?!!? I LOVE that site!!!! I can't believe this!!!! Are you Jen and John???!!!! You're famous!!!! You've written BOOKS !!!!! I LOVE your stuff!!!!!!" Kermit flails and squeeling can be up to the fan's discretion, but I recommend a few.
    That way, everyone there will feel bad they are not already aware of you, and you'll see people pulling out their phones, searching for CakeWrecks. And gain more fans because, ya know, who doesn't like CakeWrecks?!
    Thanks for sharing that, Jen. As you can tell from the other comments, you are not the only one to have a profession that does not fit into a box that people can readily understand. Try 'splaining being a chief data steward/responsible for state reporting to someone in two sentences that they'll "get". Yup -- fun times.
    Maureen S

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    1. Brilliant idea of planting a fan in the audience! Jen, I volunteer since I'm within driving distance - as long as you don't mind a discerning toddler in "boys clothes" coming along for additional peanut gallery support! ;). My maiden name was usually a show stopper in group intros so for most of my life I used to break out in sweats then only use my first name and just hurry along before anyone noticed I didn't use my last name. Yet another reason I love my husband - his name is awesome with my first name - like a super hero secret identity! :)

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  48. I'm a baker. I can tell people this anywhere and they will ask where their brownie is. As though I carry around a magic bag of goodies, just because I make them. I have been known to ask pushy questions of those who have thought this comment was a great joke.

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  49. "What kind of jewelry is it that you make?"
    Every single time I get asked this, I am never wearing any of it. And it's always awkward, particularly as I sell my jewelry, and I still haven't learned, even though it happens all the time. I blame it on a succession of food service jobs that have trained me out of wearing jewelry.

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  50. Try having a job no one thinks is worth the time or effort. I work at someones house caring for horses. The owner sells items at dressage shows so they are gone most of the time. The response I get is your still working there?

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  51. You seem to be fitting in with the theme of the last week or so. I'm sure you've seen the posts of "awkwarding" tweets on the Bloggess's site. You are in excellent company. The best, in fact.

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  52. I agree entirely. The "give your name and occupation" question emphasizes exactly the wrong sorts of things about a lot of people. Do I love my job now? Absolutely! But I'd rather not explain the mechanics of it and justify my choice of work to you to prove it's worth making a living at. Moreover, I haven't always been employed in a job of my preference, and it's difficult to make a good first impression when you have to introduce yourself and immediately explain why you're in a job you didn't necessarily chose and/or can't get out of for often pretty personal reasons.

    Seriously, though, how did no one know you guys? I wouldn't have been able to actually cook if you guys were there; I would've spent the whole time trying not to pepper you with questions. --I love that you guys do classes like that, though! What a fun idea!

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  53. I hate when people ask what I do for a living - I don't even know what I do for a living!! I'm usually all like, yeah I work from home - but that always leads to what do you do? - and i start floundering... I write 'stuff' - I blog, I do graphics .. basically i screw around online!!

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  54. Ugh - meeting people! I feel your pain. I have a book called "How to Talk to Anyone" and I skim it before going to parties where I'm not going to know many people. I just recently used it to prep for a Harry Potter themed Halloween party, and in the week leading up to Halloween I awarded myself points (House Points??) any time I carried on a conversation with someone longer than I felt was "normal" (which means it was probably closer to what the rest of society considers to be normal).

    Speaking of belly flopping...I've never done it on ice, but I *have* done it on a slab of marble in a Turkish bath...if you want to talk about awkward! ;-)

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  55. Every social gathering ever:
    " Oh, you're a -------? I'm a theatrical milliner."
    . . . . . .
    " It means I make hats for Broadway shows."
    . . . . . .
    " No, I don't get discounted tickets. Sometimes we don't even get to see the show."
    . . . . . .
    " No, the Costume Designer designs the hats, we make them."
    . . . . . .
    "Actually, I hardly every use hot glue. It's a lot of invisible hand stitching. Hot glue looks awful and doesn't hold up for years or decades of hard use like theatrical hats get."
    . . . . . .
    "There's a very small handful of people in NYC who make hats for Broadway."
    . . . . . .
    " 'Fun'? Err. . . I am grateful that I can earn a living in a creative field."
    . . . . . .
    " How nice that your great grandmother was a milliner."
    . . . . . .
    "I do occasionally make hats for people I know, on the rare occasion that I'm not working long days 6 days a week."
    . . . . . .
    " Oh, it depends on what you want; $150 into the thousands."
    . . . . . .
    " You can get them for $20 online, but I can't even get the raw materials for that little. I assume hats that cheap made from recycled plastic bottles and the tears of the orphans whose lungs are destroyed processing plastic into faux 'felt'."
    . . . . . .
    " Yes, I know about Etsy. I've *shudder* seen some of what people sell there."
    . . . . . .
    "It was nice to meet you too."

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