“What do you do?” seems to be one of the most dreaded questions. Especially for people in transition or who feel like what they’re doing might be judged. It makes us squirm a little…. or a lot.
It can be especially hard for introverts and perfectionists who like to think before talking and then speak in a thorough way. It’s hard to find a good simple answer!
And yet, we are faced with this question so often. It might sound like this in your head when you get that question:
- “I better have something good to say, Now!”
- “They’ll think I’m a freak if I tell the truth!”
- “They’ll think I’m a loser if I don’t have a ‘legitimate’ answer.”
- “I feel like I have no clear identity like other people have.”
- “I don’t want them to know I have family money to support me.”
- “Staying at home with kids doesn’t seem like a real answer. Maybe I should do more.”
- “I have tons of ideas but they’re still messy and I hate talking about it at this stage.”
- “I don’t want to tell them I’ve been sick for a year. Ugh.”
Can you relate? It’s… Complicated.
Even people who know what they do for work can get nervous with this question. It almost feels like the asker wants us to define ourselves, right now, in one sentence. It’s just impossible to summarize ourselves like that.
Since I talk to so many people in transition, I get this question about how to answer “What do you do?” all the time. I want to share some things I’ve found helpful. Continue reading