That Line for “Occupation” on Forms

Taking a moment to recognize the change in my career.

Anna Burgess Yang
3 min readMar 15, 2021


Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

After nearly a year with my kids at home, I am trying to re-enroll my 3-year-old in preschool. I worked on the application this morning and paused when I got to the line for “occupation.”

I began a new job less than a month ago. Not only that, but I completely changed careers. I had to take a moment to look at that line and think about what I would write.

Honestly, I have always had trouble with that line. I never had a career with a straightforward answer like “teacher” or “dentist.” I worked for a software company for 15 years, but when most people think software, they think of programmers. I think I used to write “software implementation” and then later “product manager.” My final role involved a long title (of my own creation) trying to encompass the fact that I had taken on an executive role, managed the customer service department, and still operated as the product manager. It was a mouthful.

That conversation starter of “what do you do for a living?” was always awkward for me. I’m a…. what? Depending on the situation, I would usually reply with a brief “I work for a banking software company” and leave it at that.

Turns out, my new role in content marketing is even trickier.

First, the form wanted a “work phone number” and I was tempted to write in “there is no phone number… we use email, Slack, and Zoom” but finally left the space blank. Then I finally settled on “marketing” for a job description even though what I do (write things) is far from what most people think of with marketing.

Then yesterday I was prompted with a Covid survey to help with ongoing research and I thought “Sure, why not.” After answering that I’ve not been in contact with anyone who has Covid, not experienced any symptoms of Covid, and generally not left the house, I was given the following question:

Please select the occupational group that best fits the main kind of work you were doing in the last four weeks.

There was nothing like marketing or advertising, so I finally chose “arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media.” Then on the next screen, I was prompted to choose a subcategory…



Anna Burgess Yang

Productivity geek + solopreneur with niche expertise. #5amwritersclub frequent flyer. •