You’re Not “Just” An Anything

I was fortunate to grow up in a family that ran the gambit of social, economic and professional boundaries.  My dad was a diesel mechanic, my mom head of payroll, a grandmother who started her own business and traveled the world, an uncle who was a cook in a prison, another who leads one of the top accounting firms in the state, stay at home aunt, another who was lab assistant in a hospital, a brother who traded money on the Chicago Board of Exchange but hated it so went back to bartending and cousins who range from attorney to construction worker.


I say fortunate because I never knew any of them as titles or ever thought to judge them for what they did for a living.  My family includes democrats, republicans, gay, straight, all colors of the rainbow, rich, poor, happy and disturbed yet no matter what they are or do I simply know them as family.


There are some that continually refer to themselves as “just” this or “just” that immediately and definitely devaluing what they do and themselves.


Knock it off.


Not everyone wants to be the CEO of a company and not everyone is cut out to be the CEO.  It takes a lot of clerks to run a court and each one is important.   I was talking to a friend of a friend the other day and he was being very sheepish about what he did and he finally said, “I’m just a server.”  Apparently he was embarrassed because he is in his 30s and feels this is a disgrace.


I told him I thought it was great because I know it’s one of the hardest jobs there is and I loved working in a restaurant.  Once he saw I didn’t look down upon him for this he immediately lightened up.  I’m not one to judge someone for what they do for a living, it’s not how I was raised.  Unless you’re a professional hit man, then I have a problem with that.


Do not put a “just” in front of your title as a way to apologize to anyone for what you do.  If you are providing for your family, take care of your responsibilities and do right by yourself and others than you are alright in my book.  Screw what anyone else thinks – it is not their life.


Others may accept this implied apology but I don’t; and I know plenty of others that do not as well.  Another thing you do when you put that “just” in front of your title is make us feel uncomfortable.


When someone introduces themselves as “just” something it immediately puts up a stop sign for any further communication about that topic.  So now what can we discuss because we are now right in the thick of an awkward moment –thank you very much.


I love what I do, I am fortunate, I know.  I also took a very long, difficult and crazy road to get where I am – I’ve worked my tail off to get where I am and where I am going.  But guess what, I’m the same girl that worked behind the counter at Dairy Queen serving Blizzards upside down, worked in a vets office sitting on the floor brushing out a dog while it rested it’s head on mine, the secretary at a law firm convincing my 86 year old boss that a computer is really better than a typewriter….


I was and am never just anything other than myself.



Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.

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