Popping “The question” (again?)


Along my journey Ive come to realize that what one “does” for a “living” matters.
Enjoying where you spend most of your waking hours is important to a happy life.
An income (that suits your lifestyle) along with the enjoyment of what you “do”definitely “matters” (Im mean why be miserable?)
If however, we are not careful (deliberate) about what “matters” one can place too much value on only the income or social view of the position (status), job title of degrees one has. This can lead to an “identity crisis” , even a large ego – distorted values.
Recent events Like the stock market mess in 2008, 9/11 in 2001 are wake up calls to how fragile ones “position” can be…
A word of caution about your identity being attached to a position or job title.
If you are what you do, then when you don’t -you aren’t!

The Question

About ten years ago, I was working for a company that hired a foreign exchange student for one summer.
Liz was a 20 something from the UK (London I believe) who was working on her graphic arts degree, for credit she helped my company with ad stuff.
I remember asking her how she liked the US. Her answer was its “OK”.(She didnt seem excited at all).
I then asked her “what differences do you observe between the US and the UK lifestyle?”
her answer(s)
“The biggest difference here in the US she explained is “everyone Ive met here sees busy as a status symbol, works too much, sees vacation as a weakness & is in a hurry & stressed”.
She continued….” Another difference is that when I am introduced to someone here, the first or second question is WHAT DO YOU DO FOR WORK?
Thats pretty shallow, kinda “shitty”she added.

I recall feeling a strange mix of numb, embarrassment and shock as what she said set in.
(I thought) Are we (Americans) realty like that??? (YES).
Regardless…She was correct. It is a shallow leading question.


De Ja vu

Recently I attended a local group that gathers to practice public speaking. It was my first time attending. At the end of the meeting four people came up to me and personally introduced themselves.
And guess what?………..
All four POPPED the question!
(it was the FIRST question).
After an internal cringe, I felt a mix of embarrassed, a bit uneasy & some deja vu – back to ABOUT 10 years ago! DAMN this IS an issue!!!
How can I get out of this…NOW?
I entertained pretending I don’t speak English(too late I blew my cover)…maybe faking a heart attack? No better yet simply running out of the room- I’m talking a full speed dash… to never return?
Instead ?
I endured the torture of answering the (shallow) question.
Im working on redirects like …What do I do ? “I a passionate about simple living. What are you passionate about?

Interestingly enough the answer to “what I do for a living” has changed no less than 5 times in those 10 years! Some answers (job titles) impressive, some not so much.
Yet- none of the positions DEFINE ME Im still the same person, if anything all the wiser for the variety of positions Ive held.

I welcome your comments on this subject.
Include your name and a link to your blog or website if you have one.
No need to include your current job title though…
Its kinda …well…irrelevant.






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