“What do you do?” – Keeping up with the Joneses


I am quite down to earth. Perhaps that’s what growing up in the Netherlands does to you: Dutch sobriety must surely exist for a reason. But I never had a thing for a lot of fuss and I’m not easily impressed. Not by friends, not by dating candidates and not in work. I am not impressed by an expensive car, bragging stories or job titles of which I wonder what you do all day. And there are a lot of those. I will not name the company name out of respect, but I recently saw a vacancy and description of an organization in healthcare and it is still unclear to me to this day what the organization and its many expensive employees do there. Creating a lot of fuss about a healthier society (how?), making connections (with whom?), working transcendingly (over what?), creating affordable solutions (for what?): all questions remained unanswered.

Let’s keep it real

Now, as I do not have to do business with them or work there, I quietly closed the webpage and continued with life as we know it. But boy, if I were allowed to sit down with such a director, I would literally ask: what are you doing all day? Not sarcastic, not pedantic, but sincere. What are you doing? If you just take me through your day, you can make your business so much more concrete and transparant. I understand that one job is more concrete than another and that a consumer product is easier to describe than a policy organization or a complex business service provider. But in the end we all go to work. And there we do something (at least, I hope for your boss that you do). Start with something so small, something simple. That does so much for your transparency, image and connection with your (potential) customers / actors. Be real and regularly go back to your essence. There’s a reason why they used to say in school you only understood a matter properly if you could explain it to someone else.

Truly sexy

Yet there are also organizations that can very well communicate their essence in my opinion. Of course it is easy to call out department store de Bijenkorf or Albert Heijn here. Then I will probably be criticised for choosing companies with very concrete product. Nevertheless, for those companies it’s also a challenge to build up their right to exist being in a full market with so many competitors. But I accept the challenge and opt for less concrete organizations. And I love to give compliments, so here are my favorites:

  • ZLM
  • Brainport

ZLM insurances. Choosing your insurance(s): just about the most boring job there is. Something that you often arrange once in your life and then never change (except your health insurance maybe). And where you always feel that you are paying too much. Great, does not really sound like a sector where you want to start your business in. Nevertheless, ZLM ‘feels’ as a fair insurer that explains in clear human language what the rules are and when you get compensated and when not. And I always read their magazine. Quite an achievement for someone who really does not care about insurances.

Brabant Zuidoost Safety Region (VRBZO) really has transparency as a priority. This governemental policy organization can sound complicated, but they regularly share (visually appealing) reports and plans. You can see what they have done in the past months and what they will be doing the coming period and how their approach will be. All on a B1 level so that it is clear for everyone. As a resident of Eindhoven, after reading such reports, I feel like I’m up to date on what’s happening safety-wise in my region.

Brainport is a joint venture in the field of technical and economic development in the Eindhoven region. A mouth full and a typical example of: what do you do when you work for them?! They describe this with clear examples on their site which you can really see proof of in the region. A nice piece of regional marketing.

Then I was wrong at the beginning: you can make an impression on me. If you know yourself and you can explain what you are doing, that’s super sexy. And if you find it difficult to get it on paper, I would also like to give you a hand. I didn’t become a writer for nothing.



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