What do you do?

9:57 pm

My sister had a party for her kids, my niece and nephew.  My husband, my son and I went to Pennsylvania, where she lives for the occasion.  Some parents came and dropped off their kids.  Some stayed.  At one point I was introduced to a husband of my sister’s friend.  He said, nice to meet you.  What do you do?

Hearing him say that was expected, but at that moment, I just wanted to scream.  What do I do?  What the fuck does it matter to you what I do?  What I do does not define who I am!  Why is that the starting point of every boring conversation on Earth?  Why don’t you ask me how I feel?  I did not say that.  I said, “I am a jewelry designer,” smiled and made an excuse to leave.  I did not talk to any adults that day, for the fear that they will ask me what I do.

What do you do?  Next time, someone asks me that I will say I am Jehovah’s witness.  The next sentence will be, did you know that Christ is our savior?  You want to be boring?

There was a sign on a chalkboard out side of a bar in Bushwick.  It said, What? You want to be boring?  Not in this bar.  I wonder if anyone there asks anyone what they do?

When I worked on Wall Street, that question, what do you do, used to hurt me more.  I guess I am getting closer to my core.  I hated saying, I am an analyst, not because of boredom.  The answer to me was like saying, I enter a torture chamber everyday from 8:30am -7pm, and you?

My Boss Janet, gave her life to becoming a big powerful boss.  She only said few things to me during my two and a half years there.  There is no free lunch, was one.  Her husband was a big real estate guy.  When they went to parties, she found herself surrounded by his colleagues and their wives.  Their wives had no jobs, other than shopping and charity work.  Janet said, Could you believe it?  None of the men ever ask me what I do.

10:07 (10 minutes baby)


8 responses to “What do you do?

  1. What a response. Like a poison dart! I also used to balk at this question and formulate unexpected and wacky responses. BUT, it was very interesting to me when I went from being a WRITER to being an EDITOR. It was hard to give up one, and stick to the other. I’m obviously both, and a million more people. I would say, “I slap people who ask me that question. Are you ready?” and raise my hand as if.

  2. I must say that I have been guilty of asking that question once or twice in life… but nowadays, I like to ask people how they spend their time. When people ask me what I do, I cringe. But only because I’m worried they might have a clown phobia… Yoinks!

  3. I love this entry. It’s very true. There is so much judgement in those few words, especially when asked right away. But boring people are not creative…that’s why they’re boring, so can we really blame them for not having any other interests or things to say?

  4. It is a very interesting and new for our old generation conception NOT to ask ,What do you do. It is much better if people ask,How you spend your time. I am sooooo
    agree with that comment.
    Olia,you are good in noticing little things in life. It is an important feature for a good
    writer and a smart human been ( I think).

  5. I like the Janet twist at the end. I like.

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