mom explains daughters careerI envy the moms who can describe in one or two words what their kid does for a living: Accountant. Physician. Teacher. Ah, the beauty of simplicity!

For those of us moms (and dads) who lack a basic understanding of the tech world, who have a child gainfully employed right in the thick of that world, we have a harder time. Yeah, she is in the internet world, we know that, but what does she actually do? Who knows?

My daughter has explained to me in detail what she does, more times than I want to mention, but it’s like she is speaking a different language.  My eyes start to glaze over when she talks because I lose the train of thought. Because I don’t want to look like an idiot, I nod my head and hope there is a little part of what she does that seeps into deepest crevices of my brain.

Despite having visited her office, meeting her boss and team members, and despite the fact that I have no problem suggesting the steps her company might take to improve Wall Street sentiments without having ever utilized the product, I cringe when someone asks what she does.

“How does Melissa like her job?” my brother asked me the other day.

“She loves it.”

I looked down at my shoes in shame. I knew what was coming next.

“What exactly does she do there?” he asked, following up appropriately

“It’s hard to explain,” I say, “but she ‘s in Rev Ops org, and does Ad Ops.” It flows off my tongue like I know what I’m talking about.  “Rev ops stands for Revenue Optimization,” I tell him.  (Actually, It does not- it stands for Revenue Operations.)

“Isn’t that what every company tries to do? Optimize revenue?” my brother asks

“Yeah, right,I guess so, but that’s what they call it,” I tell him, having no idea I am completely wrong.

And then I go on. As I do when anyone asks me what she does in New York, I give it the big fake, in the vaguest of terms, using a combination of the following:

  1. I say that she works for a social media company.
  2. I say that I know it’s a real job that she goes to every day.
  3. I explain that she works on a Team.
  4. I say proudly that she is financially independent.
  5. I say it’s like a combination of marketing, and advertising, and consulting, but not really any of those things exactly.
  6. I mention that the company has really cool benefits, like Kombucha on tap in the office.
  7. I say that there are not many people over the age of 30 who work there.
  8. I mention that their offices are super cool.
  9. I tell them there is no dress code—not even an informal one.
  10. And I tell them that her work may have something to do with the fact that when I walk into Equinox for my daily exercise, I sometimes get a text message telling me that their juice bar is having a sale on some wheat grass something or other. But then again, I explain, maybe it doesn’t have anything to do with that.

As soon as I can, I change the topic to where she is living, with whom she is living, and how she spends her time when she is not working. I am very good at describing all of those things—they are real to me.

I asked my daughter for one sentence I can use to describe what she does. She told me,”I’m basically a campaign manager for publisher network’s mobile app campaigns.”

I still don’t have a clue what that really means, but I’m going to memorize it. Certainly, when I say that, my friends will fake a smile and switch the subject.


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