When it comes to explaining what you work with when you are a BI Consultant can be a bit tricky, if you don't get it right the first time you might not get another chance. So make your work sound as interesting as possible!
Telling people that you work as a BI Consultant is always fun, most people who ask me what I work with, does not have a clue about what a “BI Consultant” is. So to try to explain to a bit more I say “IT Consultant” instead. And by that point you can see that they kind of wish they hadn’t asked. And most people than just says “Ok, so you are a programmer.” And look quite uninterested. And by this point I usually try to explain the difference and then try to say something funny about my job. (Since I have worked mostly with accidents on roads and rails I will probably joke about something quite unethical.) Or try to say something more interesting about it by throwing out words like machine learning or Big Data. But by this point most people have stopped listening. And after a while you give up trying to explain and steer the conversation in another direction.
I think that a lot of us BI Consultants can relate to this, the only people how really find your job interesting are other BI Consultants that actually can relate to our jobs. While people in other jobs don’t have the same issue, it’s always interesting to listen to a doctor speak about her or his job, or a teacher talking about their students. I even had a situation at a party when a girl asked me “What do you work with” And I answered “I Am an IT Consultant, and I’m working in a field called business intelligence” and she looked at me and answered “But you are good at doing your makeup”. I said “ehm.. thanks?” And she then said “You should try to get an education in that instead, I think it’s more fun!” I thanked her for the tip and said that I would consider it. She looked pleased and left.
The Monday after I got the tip that I should work with makeup instead of BI because my work sounded boring, I started to complain about this problem to one of my colleges. And he started to look at me in a funny way and said:
But Jennifer, of course you can’t say that you work just as a “BI Consultant”, you have to be more compelling when you talk about your job. Tell them a story that they can relate to.
We talked about this for a while and I learned a better way of telling people what I work with, to gain some kind of interest. Since then I have always told people who ask me about my work, that I work with decisions. Decisions about how company’s best should handle their customers, or how they can reduce their costs. Or in my case how we can reduce accidents on the roads. And I have found that this works better. People are more interested and asks more questions. And after a while I can talk more about the IT part of it, and still have people interested in what I say.
As BI Consultants we all work with quite interesting information and can make a difference for a company, and that is quite cool. So I think it’s time for the ones of us that say that we work as Consultants, BI Consultants or just BI, to stop say just that, and renew the way we talk about our jobs. Let’s start telling people about all the cool stuff we are working with. All the way from how we at Affecto make banks keep track of our money to the fact that we can use video analytics to target marketing to consumers, and by that increase sales with a significant amount. (Read more about all the cool things we are doing.) All this to make people talk more about our business and to understand what we do. Because you never know if the person you are talking to, even if it is at a party at 2 am in the night, is a potential new customer if they understand all the cool things we can do!
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