What do you do?

When meeting people for the first time, I often ask the question “What do you do?” I think it started out as an icebreaker to reduce the awkwardness of that first conversation. However it has become a great revealer of character. With this simple question, you can learn a lot about how someone thinks about their life.

All too often, the answer is something like “I drive trucks for a shipping company” or “I’m a student” or some other description of their work or studying status. This is probably because this is the expected answer and maybe also because of how people identify with their occupation. Sometimes though, I’ll get a surprising answer like “I scrapbook” or “I like to sculpt with clay” and later find out what they do to make money. Obviously, there are enough musicians in the circles I move in that the answer will coincide, the paid time-consumer is also the passion.

I’m certain that this is an identifier for quickly finding creative passionate people – the answer should be about what’s in the forefront of their mind – not about the daily grind or about possessions.

How do you answer this question – “What do you do?”

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