What Do You Do?

Do you ever find yourself at an event where you meet new people and invariably one of the first questions people ask is, “What do you do?” I always respond, “You mean for fun, or for pay?” This response is often met with surprise and then clarification that the person asking wants to know what I do for work. I agree it is sometimes interesting to me what folks do for work, but I usually wait to ask that until I know them better or I ask if it is germane to the conversation.


What I prefer to ask are these questions: What do you like to do for fun? Of the places you’ve traveled, which is your favorite? What are you passionate about?


I find people’s response to these questions to usually be much more interesting than what people do for work. Some folks are lucky enough to do work that is also their passion, but let’s be real, that is maybe 5% of us. I find some meaning in my work. I find it interesting most of the time. But my job is one of the least interesting things about me. This is not the career I had in mind as an idealistic college student; this is what I ended up doing due to life circumstances. The job I have helps me to afford to partake in my passions.


One of life’s greatest treats is connecting with other humans on a deeper than surface level. Small talk is something I am competent at but I find it boring. I’d much rather pull back some of your layers and see if you are willing to show me a glimpse of who you are.


  1. I appreciate this tremendously. When I worked as an accountant that was the dreaded question when I met knew people. The stigmatism associated with being an accountant is so hard to shake. It wasn't who I was and was, in fact, the most boring part of my life.

  2. Turns out, accountants rock it in the sack and are incredibly fun adventurous people. Maybe it's from doing dull type work all day, all that passion is pent up just waiting for an appropriate outlet. (At least former accountants...in my experience ;-) )


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