What Do You Do?


WHAT DO YOU DO? At a get-together last month a guy asked me, “What do you do?”  It is a common enough question, and most people generate their answer without any drain in resources. But for me you might as well ask, “I saw you coming out of that bar last night with my wife.  What’s going on with that?” Beads of sweat begin to form above my hairline and I take the look of a deer in the headlights. Quickly, I puzzle together the relationships between this person and myself, pairing them with one of the channels in my life to keep everything in harmony. Is this a music channel? Construction channel? Design channel? Studio furnishings? Product reviews?

If I can’t process quickly enough I just go with the last thing that I was doing. If I had mixed a song in the studio that day, I would say “I make music.”  If I remodeled a bathroom, I would tell them I was a general contractor. If I had created a logo I would say I was a graphic designer. If I had interviewed teachers that day, Bam: Music School.


WALMART The term “Jack of all Trades” always seemed cheap to me. Walmart sells cameras, shoes, bicycles and home theater systems. I personally wouldn’t buy any of those things at WalMart because, I assume, they only sell the crappy versions. I don’t want to refer to myself as the WalMart of the professional world.

“Renaissance Man” sounds quite a bit better. But I don’t’ think one can use that term for oneself. That’s like saying I’m a “genius” or “good with the ladies.”

Have I convinced myself that it is possible to be on par or better than actual trained specialists in so many different fields? I am not actually sure, but the terrific thing about being forty-five years old is that I no longer care.


ENTER THE PAUL DEXTER BLOG This is my coming out. This is me messing up my circles. My music friends might turn on me when they find that I love to get up a five a.m. to go hang a kitchen cabinet. The architects that depend on my technical drawings might learn that I create them in Illustrator because I have three other art projects going at the same time. Get ready for it to all come caving in. No longer will I pretend to be a specialist when I sit at your conference table. Maybe not a specialist, but I will still claim to be an expert in the field, because of the results I bring. After contracting for the last twenty-five years I have found myself to be, more times than not, the last guy called but the first guy that delivered.

I do not consider myself to be an expert in everything (knitting and securities trading come to mind). The thing that took the longest for me to learn has been when to say no, and how to stay within my limitations. (I know a few singers that could learn the same thing).

So this is my blog. I don’t expect many readers, but does any blog? The point will be for me to embrace the diversity, while introducing you to some of my different channels. The first half of my ride was enjoyable, while pretending to be a specialist to most of my clients. Let’s see what happens when they learn what’s on the other channels.

Until then,