It’s the second day after Christmas and I’ve been standing around for what feels like an inordinate amount of time in a major clothes retailer, while my partner is selecting clothes to try out. I’m the guy trying to find a little bit of space in the shop to cope with the hoard of other shoppers, some men in the store are fighting over the only 2 chairs in a 50 metre radius and I really didn't want to be around so many people today. I agreed to be there because we want to do things for our partners, we love them.
Some background to our situation; we are staying in Sydney with my sister and her family in Bondi Beach. We all wanted to be together at Christmas, by the end of the first day my partner asked if I would go shopping with her for maternity clothes. We are 6 weeks into our first pregnancy and I thought it was a little early to be purchasing clothes when the oven hasn’t really expanded yet. I'm a confused partner, we just arrived in Sydney, great weather, at the beach, we had both talked about wanting to relax during the break and stay away from the crowds. So I wasn’t going to ask any confronting questions, merely listen and observe for the day. I remember hearing a podcast with Clay Christensen talking about how Jobs-to-be-done had help his relationship with his wife, instead of having a confrontation on matters between them try and understand the causality of it.
Leading up to this moment of standing around was lunch, I suggested if we are going to look at clothes for the rest of day lets get something to eat. We ended up at the David Jones food bar in the basement, it was a great experience she was happy I was happy, all is good. We then wondered up through the other floors and for some reason my partner was keen for myself to try out some new clothes, but I thought we had recently talked that I have enough at the moment. Initially I went along with it but then I had to say something, “I can’t see anything I need I’m not in that frame of mind, I’m here to help you.”
So I’ve been standing around while my partner is selecting clothes to try out, answering her questions, do I like this one or that one, I noticed the clothes aren’t maternity type and the amounts she is eying off we definitely haven’t budgeted for, from my outside perspective it looks random, but something is driving it. I ask politely “It seems like you have quite a few non-maternity clothes there.” She stopped and smiled at me, “But I get time to spend with you, you know how to help me so well, but I did need to get out of where we were staying, being with your family brings back a lot of emotions for me, I’m not with my family in Brazil, and you seem to give your family a lot of attention and forget about me.”
"Oh no! Now I know why we are here", I thought. We aren’t here to buy clothes, we are escaping from something, perhaps a remedy to the feeling of a lack of attentiveness on my behalf? Maybe I’ve been doing something wrong or simply emotions are running high at this time of year, is this what we might call retail therapy? So I decided to tweet:
When I posted the tweet I realised I was doing something I recall Ryan Singer mentioned in a tweet:
We did end up buying some clothes, but I think that it was more out of a need to complete the day. Being aware of your situation is definitely nothing new in human nature, but I do find jobs-to-be-done has shifted my thinking to observe more on why we do what we do. jobs-to-be-done is a simple and powerful way of seeing ourselves in action.