When I’m at a networking event (which is rare these days), I get that here we go feeling when someone turns to me, gives me the up-and-down look, and asks, “So, what do you do?”
That’s “life’s most dangerous question,” according to Joshua Fields Millburn. In reality, that person might be asking:
How do you earn a paycheck?
How much money do you make?
What is your socioeconomic status? Where am I compared to you?
How should I judge you? Are you worth my time?
Ick. . . After a few minutes of the job title comparisons, I typically finish my free Chardonnay, grab one more hunk of cheese from a nearby food tray, and dash for my car.
However, the next time I get the “What do you do?” question, I might respond this way:
Oh, me? Thanks for asking! I write for fun, I’m happy traveling, and I’m living a life of constant discovery . . . What do you do?
I could get a blank look, an awkward pause, or “That’s great, but what do you do for work?” I still might cave and say a few words about my freelance work. However, I hope I can redirect the small talk and get my conversational partner talking about what makes them happy. Hopefully, they have something to say about that.
Doing what makes us happy . . . Isn’t that worth talking about?