So…what do I do?

I’m in a quandary these days.

As some of you may know, I’m working on my Doctorate in Information Systems.

In addition, I have a full-time gig in the consulting world as well as provide some freelance technology consulting for small businesses.

On top of that, I’ve got a couple of entrepreneurial activities going with one particular idea that should come to fruition in the next few months.

Oh…and I try to spend as much time as I can with a camera in my hand out in the ‘wild’ photographing landscapes and wildlife.

Somewhere in there, I’m trying to spend a good portion of my days with my wonderful wife Tracie, who’s a great Dallas Photographer specializing in weddings, boudoir photography and seniors.

So…when people ask me “what do you do?”,  I have a bit of a hard time answering that question.

Some people have snappy comebacks to the ‘what do you do?’ question.  Things like “I type” or “I sell” or something short and sweet.

Personally, if someone tells me ‘I type’ if I were to ask them what they did, I’d think they were sitting in a secretarial pool somewhere.   I actually ran across a software developer who said ‘I type’ when I asked what he did….I didn’t hire him for the project after I heard that.  I want a developer who can think…not just type.

But I digress….

So…what do I do?

A little bit of everything these days.

I’m juggling being a full-time employee, part-time doctorate student, full-time entrepreneur and must less than part-time amateur wildlife/landscape photographer.

When people ask what I do, I never lead with the doctorate work and for the majority of  interactions, I lead with my work in my current full-time gig since that’s what my main focus is.  Sometimes, depending on the circumstance, I’ll bring up my entrepreneurial activities and at other times I’ll dive into photography if I know the other person is interested in the subject.

But the bigger question, for me, is this:  What do I want to do?

Let’s use that big ‘what if’ to think this through.

What if I didn’t have to pay the bills, would I have my full-time gig?  Probably not.

That’s not to say that I don’t like my job…I do.   But I’d prefer to be out traveling around with Tracie looking for some outstanding photographic opportunities.

Back here in the real world, I know I’ve got to pay the bills so I continue doing what I have to do…but I’ve started looking at ways to replace my full-time income as an entrepreneur. This isn’t something that will happen in the next few months or even the next year but I’ve got a plan.

That plan will allow me to build a base of revenue over a few different entrepreneurial activities over the next few years to allow more freedoms in the coming years.  The plan will also see me finish my doctorate by 2012 (woot!).

Let me say this…I’ve wanted to do something different for a long time.  I’ve wanted to…but never really set any goals or made any plans to force the change that I wanted to see.

I look back over the last 15 years and see a lot of mistakes I’ve made. Lots of ideas but little execution on my part.  Some blame placed on other folks because ‘they’ didn’t do something.

But I’ve come to realize that ideas without execution are worthless.  Common sense stuff…but something I somehow forgot.

Earlier this year, I realized that I don’t want to look back in another 10 or 15 years and feel the way I do now…so I’ve made some changes and have a path towards change.

I’m walking that path now….walking the line towards a bit of a different future my previous approach to life was allowing.

So…what do you do?

Are you doing what you want to do?  If not…are you looking for ways to do what you want?

There are a lot of motivational speakers out there that will tell people that they can do anything they want to do…and for the most part, I agree.  You can do whatever you want to…you’ve just got to figure out a way to do that without destroying your career, your finances or your life.

Are you creating your future and walking the path towards that future?  Or…are you just walking a line drawn by others?

Maybe you’re more comfortable letting others draw the line for you…nothing wrong with that.  Just make sure you want to go where that path leads.

In 5 or 10 years when you’re asked “What do you do?”…will you be able to answer with a smile and know you are doing what you want to do?  I’ll be able to….hope you will too.

11 responses to “So…what do I do?”

  1. Waqas Ali Avatar

    Hi Eric,

    Indeed very thought provoking post.

    Well, I am doing what I wanted to do at the age of 22. It was not at all easy to find out what I really wanted to do, until I encountered death. I got very sick in 2008 and got back to health after hard time of a year.

    Currently, I am working for my business, which I started in May this year. I have had passion for business, communication so I work with businesses to talk to their customers.

    I’m also an under-grad student, it’s my final year now. But to be honest, I don’t like what most of teacher require us to do. So I try to spend most of time at Library reading stories from magazines and generating new ideas for betterment.

    One thing more, which is really not very common. I’m working for India-Pakistan Peace, which was my great desire since I was 10. Good news is that, my Indo-Pak Peace Media (a platform to share positive stories & connecting people across the border) is getting momentum.

    So my answer to your question is big YES. Currently sometime I have trouble less income, but I know my hard work will take care of it. 😉

    1. Eric D. Brown, D.Sc. Avatar


      Thanks for stopping by…so glad you are able to say “yes” to ‘are you doing what you want to do’.

      Looking forward to seeing more about the Indo-Pak peace movement…we need more people like yourself focused on peace in this world.

  2. Excellent post! RT @ericdbrown: Just published an introspective post this morning titled "So…what do I do?"

  3. Charles H. Green Avatar

    My advice is to keep on asking the question. It appears to have done marvelously for you thus far!

    1. Eric D. Brown, D.Sc. Avatar

      Great advice Charles! Thanks for stopping by and for the kind words.

  4. #baot Reading: So…what do I do?

  5. davidburkus Avatar

    In the same boat buddy. My wife actually laughs when new people ask what I do. I actually respond by saying “Depends on what time of day” and then outlining what my average day looks like.

    1. Eric D. Brown, D.Sc. Avatar

      Excellent response David…I may steal that from you 🙂

  6. RT @ericdbrown: So…what do I do?