The Real Deal

“What Do You Do for a Living?!” Dont. Ask.

You arent defined by what you do for a living

“What Do You Do for a Living?!” I remember when I first met my husband he mentioned how much he disliked that question. He knew that where you work doesn’t always mean that is what you want to be doing or who you are. At the time, it was wedding season, which put him in several positions to be asked this specific cocktail question, “What Do You Do for a Living?!” I did not have the same feelings as him then, because I was not asked this question often. Now that I am older I can understand more of why he did not care for the topic of conversation.

It seems that those who ask this question, only want you to hear about what they do. So, if you are guilty of this topic question, then, maybe you should just introduce yourself and tell us what you do, why you’re better, and how much you love your occupation. I decided to do some searching and see why people ask this question, And I hate to be a “know-it-all,” but it turns out to be almost exactly what I thought as to why people ask this question.

People that ask this question are looking to put you in a group, a box, subcategory. The person instantly starts to make assumptions about you. Assumptions such as lifestyle, income, and personality. Everything happening in less than 5 minutes, this person is forming you. But it isn’t you…It’s your occupation and how you earn a living.

When I was recently asked this question, a part of me wanted to answer in famous words of artist Meredith Brooks, “I’m a bitch, I’m a lover, I’m a child, I’m a mother, I’m a sinner, I’m a saint, I do not feel ashamed.” I read on Pyschologytoday.com a good response to this question would be “I prefer not to answer that question because I am more than what I do, but I’d like to ask you a question, ‘What’s awesome about your life?” I love this answer and will be using it in the future for sure!! To be honest people don’t really care about what you do for work, they usually are just trying to start a conversation, while also judging you for it. When you ask “what do you do for fun?” This opens a gateway to see what makes that person lite up! & there, you may find something in common with that person.

Lissa Rankin, MD from Psychology Today explains it perfectly

“When I lead off conversations with “What’s awesome about your life?” I can have a rousing chat with someone that lasts for hours, and we can laugh about it later, realizing that we still don’t know how each other earns money, whether or not we’re married, or whether we have children. But we know a lot about who we are. Isn’t that what really matters?”

1 Comment

  1. LOVE!! Absolutely LOVE. I too, dislike that question. Maybe it’s because I don’t feel what I do is “enough” for people, or maybe it’s because it’s not what I want to be doing…but thank you, you’ve armed me with a great response 🙂

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