I heard this question today at a lecture by Josh Coates, CEO and Founder of Berkeley Data Systems. A person you’re hiring should know what they do well, and quickly be able to prove how well they do it. That was the general idea anyway.
You might imagine my embarrassment after the lecture when the girl next to me turned and asked me what I did, and my response began with “Uhh, well….”
If you haven’t gathered already from my site, the truth is that I do a little of this and a lot of that. A bit of everything I suppose. Like web hosting, design work, and some SEO and consulting, marketing, CSS, sys-admin stuff — oh and I really have a knack for excellent customer support.
And that’s what I told her. I’m glad she asked too, because even though my answer was awful, we ended up talking about some important things.
But I’m afraid the way I said it makes it sound like I just have a bunch of hobbies! Yes, friends, I do all that, and sing and paint, wrangle wild servers, volunteer, fix computers, video the stars, put together the church newsletter, and have somehow managed to convince my kids (at least for the next few years) that I’m a Really Great Mom. I speak English and a little Russian, but am also fluent in Geek, and translate effectively between the two. I’m not much good at ironing, but I can convincingly smooth out the worst of wrinkles in Photoshop. And don’t even get me started on my mad Wii Hula hooping skills.
Back to my real work, I never went to school for any of these things. Perhaps I’ll get a degree in randomness, and if I can’t, I do intend to get a degree in something, someday, soon. Probably not in Astronomy like I’d once hoped. But that’s another story. In the meantime, I frequently do some sort of combination of those things in contract and volunteer work.
As an example, and since my work on novapages.com tends to be quite folksy and at times (like now) more than a little silly, let me show you a small site where I’ve done absolutely everything. Check out www.green-sun.net. I did the logo, layout, and content there several years ago. I’m afraid the forums there are indefinitely closed, but I’d skinned them to work with the site as well. The business didn’t ever get rolling due to difficulties in Utah law for solar contractors, and the founders moved on to different work for the time being. But the site still gets a fair amount of traffic.
I’ll be adding more examples and tagging them appropriately so they’ll be easier to find, but for the moment, enjoy that. And don’t forget; next time you need a little randomness, think of me. 🙂