How do I answer the dreaded "what do you do?"

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How do I answer the dreaded "what do you do?"

Postby sallymay » Tue Nov 25, 2008 4:11 am

I am often speechless when asked the standard "so what do you do?" question that inevitably follows new introductions. Without a standard two or three world title that fits into a neat box I find myself frustrated and embarrassed as I think of a suitable reply. I am aware that they are asking about how I make a living, however when I am in a "good enough job" to fund the wilder side of life, I am hesitant to name this as my title. How do other scanners answer when there is many and varied things "that you do"?
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Re: How do I answer the dreaded "what do you do?"

Postby FrauBlasebalg » Sun Dec 07, 2008 8:37 am

Hi Sallymay,
I don't know your specific situation, but I wanted to share my immediate thoughts about this with you. Don't know if it'll help you, though.

My first thought was "why does she dread that question? Isn't it a great opportunity to talk about all the wonderful things she does in her life?"

Perhaps it's this: When we meet new people, we want them to think good about us. I'm sure most of us who are not 150% self-confident do depend on other peoples' opinion, at least a bit. You would like to answer something admirable or great so that others think good of you ("oh, she's a doctor at the hospital, she really accomplished something").

And of course, and very comprehensible, if someone answers reluctantly, mumbling something about a not-so-important-and-great-job, the other one will think "poor thing, hasn't made anything out of her life, I'd better go and find someone more interesting to talk to". Yeah, I would dread that, too!

As scanners we work differently than "normal" people, so why should meet their expectations in small talk? (I lack a bit the words now to express what I mean, not a native english speaker, but I hope you get what I want to say).

You could answer that question with very broad and confident smile and say "Oh, I've managed to do something, most people don't: I do everything I like / I paint / I write / I [put in here whatever it is for you]". They might ask you "And can you live off it"? Smile even broader and tell them "Oh no, I have a job at XYZ, but that's just to pay the bills." I'm pretty sure they won't think "poor thing" anymore, as long as you show off your pride about the way you live your life.

People don't really want to know what you do as your main income source - they want to know what you have accomplished in life so far. And your good-enough-job isn't that accomplishement, it's just the thing you need to do to pay the bills - so don't emphasize that, but all the wonderful things it allows you to do.

Maybe not everybody will understand that. Maybe there are still people who think "poor thing, she hasn't got an impressive job".

But, honestly, people who think that way won't be your new best friends anyway...

I wish you all the best, and be proud of being a scanner! :)
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Re: How do I answer the dreaded "what do you do?"

Postby CroMag » Fri Jan 30, 2009 5:12 pm

Forgive me of jumping right in, this is my first post on this board.

How about picking the one thing out of your many interests you love most (or are most proud of)? That will quickly answer that question and then you can continue discussing any other subject of your liking. I find that most people rarely follow-up beyond the initial answer... and you can always deflect by not wanting to discuss "boring" job-related issues. Granted, that's the theory, I've personally blundered on this one way too often. Btw. my answer is consultant and I am content with that umbrella-like job description.
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