Just only a couple of days ago, while my girl was running around the playground with a newly found friend, the other mom asked me the what-do-you-do question and without really waiting for my answer started telling me all about her career… I never got to know her name, because although I introduced myself, she never really felt the need to mention her name as well.. Interesting, right? Well, at least we had some sort of conversation…
I always get uncomfortable when people ask me “what do you do”, especially right after only just have met them. Not because I feel that what I do now or did before is not worth mentioning. I am a stay at home mom, who every now and then works on little projects from home and simply loves it. So why does this question irk me? It irks me because I find it very shallow. It’s like talking about the weather… And it confuses me, as I personally rather try to get an idea of the personality of someone, because in the end that is what I will have to deal with and what I found way more exciting.
I understand that we need a CV to pinpoint who has the best background for a job and to hopefully hire the right person. Nevertheless personality should also play a role. I had the pleasure to have met what for me was one of the greatest entrepreneurs (at least in Europe) of our times. He was always a little bit different then others. And he also had slightly different approaches in so many areas. Nicolas G Hayek once told me that in his eyes someones personality is more important than his CV. “You can have a dream education and be the best of your area on paper. But that does not mean that you understand people and the way they work and the way business works.” I will never forget those words. He surrounded himself with the people he knew he would be comfortable with. And this is something a CV can not tell you. Being comfortable with someone has nothing to do with your background. It all comes down to personality. The chemistry between the individuals.
So why is the what-do-you-do such an important question everywhere, on playgrounds, sports fields, dinner tables? Does it really matter? Isn’t it more important who I am, what kind of person I am? Are we no longer interested in the person sitting next to us but rather in what they do? Are we really as shallow? Or are we so insecure that we need to constantly measure ourselves on others, or on what others to for a living? Or is there a hidden agenda? Are we always on the lookout to open up a new door, the I-don’t-know-this-person-really-but-he/she-does-that-for-a-living-and-I-might-need-that-one-day kind of thing?
And as if it is not enough some people then also ask the what-does-your-husband-do? Seriously? And why should that matter? So if I can not be put in one of the very interesting drawers of what-people-do, then at least into the drawer she-has-a-husband-with-an-interesting-job drawer? Seriously?! Can anybody out there please explain to me why you would ask that question?
Don’t get me wrong. I do ask people what they do or even what their partners are doing. But the question only comes up when we know each other already and when it is not out of context. When I feel comfortable asking because I already have some sort of a picture of that person. When one thing leads to another.
Unfortunately I never really have a spicy answer ready for when I get asked… although I do have a list, you know. But I guess I forget in that moment, or I am to polite. But this is definitely something I want to work on. Just give an answer they don’t expect. Like:
– Why does it matter?
– Why do you want to know that?
– I am an astronaut
– It depends. What time of the day were you thinking?
– I am a Super Hero
– I am a Super Villain
– I rob banks
– I am a hacker
– I work as a prostitute
– I am a porn star…
Dear everyone out there: I don’t care what you do. I want to know who you are and then I will either like you or not. And if I like you, I want to know more about you. And maybe then after a lot of time spending together, I might ask you what do you do. But only to get that last piece of the puzzle.
I love the way other blogs inspire me. The way they get an idea, which is already in my head, rolling and developing. How they shape it into a form or maybe how they make a little seed grow. It feels like suddenly words start shaping and forming into sentences and I feel the need to write. It’s just what Lucile De Godoy’s blog post did to me this morning.