What do you do?

I think the question is about “what do you all day?” Most of us spend most of our waking hours at work. It is just a way to connect.
I met someone who was a program scheduler for a late night show. She told me how very famous people would call her up to schedule their time on the show directly. I got invited to her wedding. She got married to a well known musician on the show. Many people performed at the wedding.

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Orthodox or Reform Druid? Reform can also worship shrubs.

(Old Hawkeye Pierce joke from M * A * S * H)

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Slightly off topic, but my wife and I were in Chapel Hill this past weekend. We spent some time in Kenan Stadium – on Saturday afternoon, but more importantly on Sunday afternoon.

It’s always a pleasure to visit The Southern Part of Heaven!

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My father-in-law, was a serial entrepreneur in things like medical laboratories, cable TV, medical clinics. He bought a 125 acre property in the midst of a real estate recession and dedicated 1 acre to garlic. (It had been a black walnut farm many moons before and there are lots of walnut trees on it). He would write on government forms that he was a farmer.

Remember in a bankruptcy class in law school the professor said there are only two rules you need to know when it comes to making loans to farmers. You can never decline a loan to a farmer and you can never collect a loan from a farmer.

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In our area the “what do you do” question is a networking tool. It’s the question that got my newish college grad his first job when the person who asked the question just happened to own a company doing that type of work. The conversation led to a formal interview and a job offer. I’ve known tradespeople who were able line up extra work at social gatherings and people who were unemployed or underemployed get leads that turned into jobs using that question. It can be a pretty useful tool.

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@austinmshauri, it can be good for networking.

I have considered writing about about how to think about career choices. It’s a talk I give sometimes to elite college grads/young professionals. I have found that asking people what they do is a first step but the really interesting question for folks figuring out what they want to do is “Talk me through how you got to where you are now.” Many people’s grand arc story seems to suggest an obvious, no obstacles, fated path from where they started to where they are. But, if you ask them to talk it through chronologically, you see a) serendipitous choices; and b) failures or roadblocks that are rebranded as learning experiences or spun as obvious steps that moved them along the not so seamless path to where they now are. But, you have to ask the “what do you do” question first.

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My best “where are you from” story: H and I were at a fundraiser for a theater company on Nantucket Island in Massachusetts. If you don’t know Nantucket, think “beautiful place with lots of very expensive real estate.” We didn’t know any of the other paying guests, only knew a few people affiiliated with the theater company. My husband is one of those people who loves to chat with strangers. He went to get me a drink and returned with a drink and a guy I didn’t know. H introduced me to the guy saying–“Bob, this is my wife; she’s from Chicago too.” Bob immediately asked me where I grew up. I told him (a working class suburb adjacent to the city’s South Side). The guy looked at me with raised eyebrows and said “Well, you’ve certainly come a long way! How on earth did you get here?”

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Favorite little childhood memory. I was in elementary school maybe 1st grade. I guess the teacher asked us to tell the class what are parent’s job was. Considering I had absolutely no idea what my dad really did I said, “he makes money.” Fair enough answer!

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More importantly, @Bromfield2 , how did you reply to that smug snooty SOB?

I know! If I were thinking fast enough (unlikely) I would use my go-to answer for questions I think are rude (and I don’t want to answer): “What an extraordinary question!”

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Hard work and ignoring details about arrogant people. What was you name again (pause) Bob?

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How about, “Oh, we drove. And you?”

What DID you say @Bromfield2 ?

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D1 went to a nice resort at Maldives for their honeymoon. There was a senior executive who just retired and it was his once in a lifetime trip with his wife. He kept on asking D1 and her husband what they did for a living. D1 was a bit evasive, so the guy finally blurted out that he wanted to how they could afford such a trip. D1 said, “We used points.”

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I would have just deadpanned and said, “The ferry” and left it at that.

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@Picklenut6, when asked what I did at a pretty young age, ShawD said, “He talks on the phone and types in the computer.” But, my favorite was a drawing she did when she was in the stick figure drawing stage. It shows my head with stick figure body carrying things in each hand. The caption, dictated to ShawWife, was “This is Daddy. He has his briefcase in one hand and money in the other. He is going to work to think.”

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Adorable!!!

Many moons ago as a single person I noticed that when on the West Coast people would more often ask, “What do you do?” and on the East Coast, “Where did you go to school?”

I recently asked someone new to our town where they had moved from and the response was, “I moved here a month ago and the city will be redacted.” Um, okay. Witness protection program? :roll_eyes:

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I went grocery shopping today and an employee saw the San Francisco t-shirt I was wearing and stopped me to ask if I was from the west coast or just liked it there. I quickly told him about our recent train trip. That led into a short, but fun conversation about some places we (both) have been (he grew up on the west coast). At the end he wished me well and told me if I had trouble locating anything in the store, not to hesitate to ask. (It’s not my local store.)

Some folks might cringe at such things, but it made for an enjoyable morning doing a mundane task (stocking up for my lad) for me.

Maybe I should wear t-shirts more often… we’re at the end of a trip and I haven’t done laundry yet. Nice bonus from procrastinating since I could have done it yesterday.

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My husband sometimes wears gear from his college while we are on vacation. It’s definitely a conversation starter for some. (He did not go to an elite college).

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