One of the few disappointments in my otherwise charmed life is that my mother has never quite understood what I do for a living. My kids get it ("You help people buy software, right?"), but all Mom knows is that I'm not a doctor or a lawyer, and don't even appear to work for anybody other than myself. Technology consultant? It's too abstract.

Writing this column just makes things worse. Mom is vaguely pleased that other people care what I think, but she knows I'm not a professional journalist. Thus, it only adds to her confusion about my real job.

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