I LIVED IT: Someone Asked Me What I Do for a Living

I Lived it:

There is one central rule that everyone who engages in polite, casual conversation knows to abide by. However, when I was recently engaged in such a conversation with a distant acquaintance at a party, this rule was immediately broken when the person I was speaking to asked me what I do for a living.


I couldn’t believe the absolute gall someone had to possess in order to utter such a vile question. Literally, what could I have possibly done to deserve this?


What did they expect me to say? My job title? I don’t think so.


If I answered truthfully and said “marketing,” I’d then feel obligated to ask them what they did for a living, and it would become this whole thing where we’re both talking about what we do for livings.


In short: I’d rather die. That is absolutely not the kind of person I’m trying to be at a party –– I’m meant to be dancing on a table, or smoking a cigarette out back with someone who only wants to talk about the stars, not about the way I make money on one of the two days of the week that I don’t actually have to be doing that thing.


So, instead of answering candidly, I dodged, saying, “What do any of us do for a living?”


Huge mistake.



What I thought would be a cheeky deflection, something that would push us more into “What lights your fire?” territory (still not the best topic, I’ll admit, but definitely better than “What do you do for a living?”), instead turned out to be just the thing my conversation partner needed to launch into a monologue about their hour-to-hour duties as a corporate attorney.


It was too late for me, but it’s not too late for you to learn from my mistakes: If you’re looking to have a normal conversation at a party, stay outside with the cigarette people and talk of the stars. The inside people are going to ask you how you make money and, god forbid, if you enjoy it.