Adventures in awkward storytelling

I’m working on many projects right now: I’m consulting, writing, and building. Eventually everything will be under one big reveal but I’m not there yet. So when someone asks me what I do I have a ton of flexibility in how I answer. I love the challenge of trying out new professional narratives in casual networking situations.

Last week I bombed hard as I was telling a new professional narrative. At a dinner party with my partner’s coworkers, someone said to me “So I hear you’re working on some coaching stuff.” I winced a bit. I’m not coaching. In fact, I’m trying to avoid coaching. So I tried out a new story:

Me: I used to coach but not anymore. Now I’m doing some consulting, working with career services to upgrade their curriculums for international students. But that’s just for right now because I’m launching a school to prepare students for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Him: Awkward silence and polite smile. 

Imagine it’s a fine summer evening and you’re enjoying some delicious ceviche talking amongst the group about the fresh scallops and vacation. And then someone tells you their working on preparing people for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

WTF does that even mean?

He had no idea. I don’t blame him. I don’t even know why I said it. A polite silence ensued. He walked away. I went back to eating my ceviche and wallowed in the awkwardness.

Then I made a mental note: spend a little less time on the interwebs reading reports of robots taking over all the jobs and more time talking to real people.

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