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Dan this is a great topic. I have had relatives tell me that Singapore is part of China and that Africa is a country. Holidays can be tense enough without this issue--- I had not thought of it before --- but it's definitely true.

Wish our readers would share some of the questions they've been asked by people that have no idea of what they do.

Oh --- I told a friend once that I was working with a company that had 4,000 employees overseas. She looked amazed and asked why 4,000 Americans would be wiling to work overseas!!

What do you say to something like that!!

Probably the only proper response is something along the lines of "Did you watch The Bachelor last night?"

My two sentences are "I help my company decide what to pay its employees for what they do. I also make sure we obey the laws and follow our plans when we pay them.

Jacque: There are about 4,000 Americans crewing every U.S. Navy aircraft carrier in foreign waters. I'd also add that, for the right price, Americans are known to operate as expatriate employees in global enterprises ranging from NGOs to major corporations. Of course, that still would not correct her initial misunderstanding, but it might be embarrassing to have to point out that American companies do employ people other than U.S. citizens when they operate in other countries. You really DO get the tough questions!

Dan, My first boss in Compensation (James Pelkey, Memorex Compensation Manager) answered the "What Do You Do" question in four words on the nameplate outside his door. Just below his name and title he inserted: "THE BUCK STARTS HERE". (This was meaningful to those "seasoned" enough to remember Woodrow Wilson's quote, "The Buck Stops Here".)

Thanks for helping with the conversation everyone.

So far I think the best response is "The Buck Starts Here"! Thanks Jim Johnson!

I look forward to other comp pros adding their own thoughts to this.

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