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What do you do?

When meeting new people, or even when getting to know someone a bit deeper, one question always pops up. The words are akin to always asking the taxi diver “have you been busy”. At falls out of your lips within a few minutes, an almost automatic conversation filler that feels strange but seems to attach meaning to the person.

“So…What do you do?” It actually means very little in the broad spectrum of a person and their life. Yet we rely on a persons job title or assumed choice of career as a major personality point of the person as a whole.

What we really should be asking is “what do you enjoy doing?” But our culture seems to attach more meaning to what we do to gain money, than what we enjoy doing in our lives. The way we afford all of the nice things in our life is more important than what we choose to do in the rest of our waking hours.

Passion and work

The fashion is for complicated or more advanced job titles as a status symbol in society. Why be an office worker, when we can be a sales administrator. Why be a cleaner when you could be a hygiene operative. Does it really matter what’s written on your business card, or if you even have a business card at all?

What we as a culture need to understand is a faux title or a job all together really means nothing. It does not reflect the person, if they chose their current position of not. Nor does it point to any personality traits or their hardworking nature.
Stop asking what people do and start asking real questions about the person. “What’s your passion”, “what do you enjoy”, “what do you think about x” and start listening to the real person.