So…what do you do for a living?
We all have our canned answers to describe ourselves to the strangers that ask us this question. So…I suppose for a moment, pause and reflect upon the answers you have given throughout the years.
Think of those times you were hesitant to state your job title; and also think of those times you were proud to state your job title. Consider the times you were either happy, sad, or indifferent when someone asked you “what do you do for a living.” One thing is for certain; professional competence, college diplomas, jobs, and socio-economic status do not correlate to happiness, fulfillment, and satisfaction.
We are all on a wave but each person’s wave has different lengths. Being self aware and cognizant of this fact provides each of us with small boosts to our emotional intelligence score.
The dreaded “first impression” can certainly have different outcomes when you’re able to live in the moment of a conversation instead of replaying canned questions and answers.
If we agree that human beings are much more than job descriptors and titles; consider your own life story…
If someone had to introduce you in front of an audience; would you expect them to come to the microphone and blurt out your job title and degrees… then walk away from the microphone and sit back down?
Maya Angelou famously said, “At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” Ultimately, that’s what this blog post is about.
When you meet people for the first time, please let the experience be organic. Leave the canned answers and questions in the pantry closet. I have learned from my own personal experiences that this is an important concept to apply in my life. By making this small decision, it has allowed me to not blindly box people into categories or groups—because everyone has their own story to tell.
When you meet a person for the first time, consider this… those diplomas, job titles, and trophies on the mantle are simply short highlights to the various chapters that fill a person’s unfinished book of life.
Take home statements…
- You do have a life outside of your career…reciprocate this truth when meeting people for the first time by not immediately going for the “what do you do for a living” question.
- Throw the canned questions and answers in the garbage. They will help your conversations be more refreshing and organic.
- Instead of asking people what they do for a living, ask instead, “can you please tell me about yourself?” This allows people to have a moment of reflection. They then have an opportunity to decide if they would like to tell you their personal story.
Author, Sam Blakemore, August 4, 2017.