Do you sometimes (or often) struggle with answering the question: “What do you do?” when you are either networking or dating?
Answering this question can be even more of a challenge if a) you don’t have a job, b) you are in an entry level position that you are feeling does not represent your full potential, or c) your job title is not in the category of ‘doctor’, ‘lawyer’, or ‘teacher’ (as just a few examples). What do you do? How do you tell people ‘what you do’ and feel good about it?
The Old Way of Telling People ‘What You Do’
The ‘old’ way of telling people what you do is telling others what your job title is. There are a few problems with what I am calling this ‘old way’ of telling others what you do. The first problem with this answer is that it does not give people enough information about you and what it is that you actually do. By simply stating your job title, you are limiting yourself to being described solely by your job title and allowing for the other to interpret what that means. You limit yourself by lumping yourself among a group of people who hold the same job title as you, and therefore, not being recognized as the unique individual you are. In short, you are being seen as one of a million, as opposed to one in a million.
The other problem with this ‘old’ approach is: what if you don’t have any of the typical degrees or the typical types of job titles? If you limit yourself to thinking that the best way for you to answer the question for what you do is by telling others what your degree is in, or by describing your job title, you are really stuck and can likely feel that whatever it is that you do is inadequate compared to others with those degrees or typical job titles.
The Better (and Even Best) Way to Answer the Question ‘What Do You Do?’
When you are networking and/or dating (i.e. meeting new people), you want to stand out as the unique person that you are. You want to be remembered. You want to give over the bit of information that allows people to get to know the real you.
The better way, then, to answer the question ‘what do you do?’ is to tell people what you are passionate about and what you care most about. Even if you do have one of those more typical job titles, such as ‘lawyer’, ‘doctor’, or ‘teacher’, the best way for you to be remembered is to tell people what kind of work you do and why you do it.
For example, if you are a lawyer and someone at a party or networking event just asked you what you do, you might answer something like this:
“I am passionate about helping innocent people stay out of jail. I help people who are accused of a crime they did not do, avoid being imprisoned, and I do that as lawyer.”
What if you don’t have a ‘typical’ job title? How do you answer the question for ‘what you do’ then?
If you don’t have a ‘typical’ job title, I suggest you use the same approach for answering the question for what you do as someone who does have a typical job title: tell people what you are passionate about and then tell them some of the things that you do in your life to help manifest that passion.
For example, if you have an entry level job as a secretary, you might tell people that you are passionate about, or really care about, making sure everyone you meet or visits your company is greeted with warmth and respect. And you do this as a secretary by (fill in the blank here to give people a very good idea about you and what your strengths are.) See how you are not ‘just’ a secretary anymore?
When you answer the question ‘What do you do?’ with what you are passionate about, you automatically present yourself as the multidimensional person that you (and all of us) really are. You leave a unique impression of you, distinguish yourself from the crowd, and allow others to get to know you for who you really are.
What you can do to practice your answer for the question ‘What do you do?” so that you are prepared for it the next time you are asked it.
For practice, first ask yourself what it is that you do. Be sure that the answer to this first question is not about a job title, but rather a description for what it is that you actually do in your job or in your life. Answers to this question might start with the words: ‘I help people…’, or ‘I teach children to…’, or ‘I create practical items for…’
After you answer that question, ask yourself why it is that you do it.
Your answer to these two questions will help you unlock what you are passionate about. Once you know what that is, you will be more equipped to answer for what it is that you do.
Practice telling those you feel closest to in your life what you are passionate about and what it is that you do (as a way of manifesting that passion.)
(Hint: practicing this, asking yourself what you are passionate about/why it is you do what you do, will also give you insight as to what you want to be doing if you have not yet figured that out for yourself.)
In support and admiration,
Ready to finally feel joyful, fulfilled, and successful in your life, career, and relationships?
(Of course you are! Who doesn’t want that?!)
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