Do you know what your friends do for a living? I thought I did until approximately Tuesday night. I was on the phone with one of my best friends. She was talking about her job when I had an epiphany. I had no idea where Ally was working or even what she was doing.

Then I began to think about other friends and I realize I only have vague ideas of what most of them do during the majority of their waking hours. I see an experiment coming on…

I wanted to see how accurate I was so I e-mailed a few of my friends and asked them to send me 2-3 sentences about what they do for living meanwhile I wrote from what I thought their jobs were. Below is a comparison of the two:

I thought: Randy teaches English in Quebec and a few other odd jobs.
Actuality: "I teach small groups of Francophone business professionals English. I also do print design on the side and for cleaning and upkeeping the house I live in I get to live rent free!"
Conclusion: I had no idea about the print design gig, or that it paid for his room and board.
Accuracy level: 50%

I thought: Ally works for some company having to do with feminism and goes to grad school.
Actuality: "I work for a feminist nonprofit in Cambridge call The Center for New Words, which puts on free and low-cost events all over the city in support of women's voices. What this means basically is that I run discussion groups on relevant feminist topics with guest speakers, book groups, and author events. I put on a couple of events a week and spend the rest of my time doing promotion, finding space for events, contacting publishers and agents, collaborating with community partners, etc."
Conclusion: Ally does way more events and way less theoretical stuff then I thought.
Accuracy level: 30%

I thought: Hannah works for the government on disease prevention programs in South and/or Central America.
Actuality: "My job is currently as a technical officer in the area of immunizations of the Pan American Health Organization (an international public health agency). What I do at my job really tends to vary but generally it is a lot of writing, reading and collecting data/following up on the status of projects. Because PAHO has many country offices in Latin America and the Caribbean, we interact a lot with them through email and on the phone, providing technical assistance for projects, providing them with data and responding to other requests. My boss is the focal point for several topics such as Vaccination Week in the Americas, a big initiative this month, and topics related to flu, yellow fever and hepatitis vaccine so what I work on generally relates to those topics."
Conclusion: I may never understand what Hannah does but that's why she went to Yale I guess!
Accuracy level: 60%

Hugh G*. (Hugh G. is a fake name and I'll let you fill in what he wanted for his fake last name to be yourselves)
I thought: Hugh G. makes maps with GIS software.
Actuality: "My primary responsibility is to orthorectify raw nadir aerial photography based on "triangular irregular network" hulls interpolated from stereocompiled topographic data.  Once orthorectified, I  merge the imagery into a composite photomosaic which is radiometrically balanced and parceled into a logical schema based on client specification. I also am responsible for converting stereocompiled cadastral data into a topologically correct geodatabase feature class, including FGDC-compliant metadata.
In other words: I correct aerial photos for terrain, and convert CAD data to GIS.
Or, even simpler: I make maps."
Conclusion: Hugh G. is a big nerd… and maybe when I describe my job I should throw in some jargon to sound smart.
Accuracy level: 80% (since I had no idea he worked directly with aerial photos)

Towanda* (Towanda wanted to see what anonymous name I'd come up with for her)
I thought: Towanda creates math curriculum and trains teachers in the latest math teaching methods at a textbook company.
Actuality: I'm a research assistant at a non-profit education research and development company. Basically, I work on mathematics curricula and on educating teachers. I'm an all-round handy-girl: I write, I edit, I do graphics layout (sort-of), I evaluate, and I send lots of emails. Oh, and I get to work with students and teachers about once a month.
Conculsion: Sorry to everyone else but this sounds like the best job of them all! (Maybe a tie with Randy)
Accuracy level: 80%

It was interesting to find out what some of my friends do all day, but mostly interesting how our jobs don't really seem to matter much in our social lives…you know, unless you work at a newspaper and everyone expects you to always know what's going on.

Oh and if you're my friend and want to tell me what  you do, I'd be happy to read it in the comments!

Our first in-person workshop in 2+ years is happening September 24!