What do you do? It seems like a simple question. It seems like a harmless question, so what’s the issue? Well, let me tell you. Many of us dread this question. Many of us stay away from large crowds and catching up with old friends and family members to avoid this question. I’ve always dreaded this question after I got my degree. I wasn’t in the professional field and I felt like a loser. Every time I was asked this question I just wanted to disappear. I felt like such a failure. I would just say “well I just finished getting my masters” (even though it was a year or two ago). I didn’t want to say the usual …. I’m in between jobs right now. I didn’t want the pity look or look of judgement. Over the years I’ve learned that I’m not the only person that feels that way. Not only people who are in the same boat as me, but some people who are doing well (in my eyes at least), but still feel like they’re not where they want to be.
I feel like this question is okay to ask when you’re on a date, because the person has a right to know. A lot of people are dating to get married and not dating just to date. They don’t want to waste their time and some things might be deal breakers to them, so they have a right to know. I think it’s fair in that case. I personally wouldn’t date until I was in a comfortable place. I am already married, but I got married while I was still in school, and I thought the jobs would roll in after I got my last degree. I was sorely mistaken, and I probably wouldn’t have been in the position that I am in now had I known. I’m still struggling trying to find my way in this life. I’m not giving up. I will make it, but in the meantime, I want to shed a little light to the people who like to make casual small talk.
When you’re out at social gatherings, church, family get togethers, or any type of event and you start to have a friendly chat with a stranger or someone you haven’t seen in a while, just be mindful before asking that question. I know it’s not meant to make people feel bad, and in a lot of cases people might love to answer this question because they are doing so well. It’s just that for some people it makes them squirm and melt inside, and possibly push them away from crowds. There are ways to feel people out. Maybe just mentioned your job and the ups and downs of it and the other person might jump in and share something about theirs, and that might show you that they’re okay talking about what they do and where they are. I don’t know, just throwing ideas out there.
I know some people might roll their eyes to this, or even make a snarky comment about it. It’s okay. You can feel how you want to feel, but I just want to share for the people who care. I know for me; I like to avoid awkward situations and don’t want to make people feel uncomfortable. I know, it’s not your responsibility, but lets just be a little more mindful about what we ask. Let’s feel people out first, and then go from there.
2 thoughts on “The Dreaded Question: What do you do?”
Saw this on twitter. The truth is that there aren’t enough jobs in the U.S. at least and that is the reason you have 500 or 2,000 people applying for the same job. Half of Americans work low wage jobs. If you get decent pay then stay there and never move to another company. That’s how it is now.
Yes, I agree. Most positions I apply for has at least 500 other people who are applying for the same job (according to the Indeed status updates).