Answer “What Do You Do” Differently

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Every time you meet someone new the same question rolls off their tongue right after their introduction, “so what do you do?” I have come to hate this question because everyone answers it the same way. They tell you what they do for a living.


They don’t tell you who they are. And since everyone is answering the question the same way, it’s become expected that you’ll answer it the same darn way! But what if you answered the question differently? What if instead of saying what you do for a living, you told people what you actually like to do?


You’re intrigued I know! So picture it, you’re at a cocktail party and a handsome fella comes up to you and starts chatting you up. After the customary introductions, he asks you what you do for a living; instead of saying something boring like “I’m a lawyer,” you say you volunteer at a homeless shelter. I mean he has the whole night to get to the boring details of your law firm gig! And now he actually knows something you’re passionate about.

Me volunteering with Feed My Starving Children

If volunteering isn’t your speed, you can mention one of your athletic activities. ‘I’m a marathon runner.’ Well, I’m not, but someone reading this with far more ambition than me could be.


The point is not all of us are enthused about our current careers or jobs and we shouldn’t feel like we still can’t socialize and talk about things that we love just because we hate what we do…for a living! I’ve personally struggled with this question because while a lot of people seem impressed when I mention that I’m a lawyer by training, I always feel like it’s forcing me to talk about something that I don’t want to talk about once outside of work. Likewise, I feel like once people find out I am a lawyer they make all kinds of often wrong (and negative) assumptions about me. It’s made me avoid social situations a lot more than I used to.

So the next time someone asks you this question you let them know that you’re more than just some job title description in a dusty human resources book! You, my friend, are a Superhero out here creating art, saving the world, and generally being the most interesting person at the cocktail party!

Author: Grace G.

New Mom and Retired Lawyer trying to share the ride.

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