'What do you do for a living?', is a question which can unsettle anyone as the scope for answers appears to be restricted to one's job title and yet can cover all the aspects such as salary, nature of the job, etc. In most of the cases, people ask a person this question to analyze where does a person stand, is he or she richer than the person who has asked the question, is he or she doing better in life, etc. Therefore, the answer to the question is not as simple as it appears. Moreover, in situations where the person who is being asked this question is not earning, it might become very embarrassing for him or her to answer.
Sometimes, such a question can also leave a person think about his or her capabilities which is fine as long as the person does not get lost in self-doubt and start judging himself or herself. This can cause major harm to a person's mental well-being. Usually, an economy is divided into lower, middle and upper class and when you interact with people, it won’t take you long to ascertain which class they belong to in the society. Therefore, in such cases, the thing that can bother you is that what is your position in the society and you may also start comparing it with the person who has asked this question. One should always answer such questions smartly without giving in society's ways of labeling a person as inferior or superior by how much a person earns, what kind of job is he or she employed in etc. The best approach is to remain calm and answer confidently that you are happy with what you do and take full pleasure in it.
#1. Outline Your Personality
Outlining your personality is one of the easiest ways to take the essential aspects of your personality into consideration and then deciding how much information you should give to the other person. The key to do this is, to be honest with yourself. There is no point in bragging about yourself in front of others when you have not achieved anything worthwhile. You may appear like a shallow person if you do so. Instead, focus on your skill set, passions, personality, values, etc. and then answer accordingly. For example, instead of saying that "I am a cricketer.", you can say, "I am a left-handed batsman who likes cricket very much, and I wish to succeed and do well in my field." This will tell them that you have enough self-confidence and are at peace with what you do.
#2. Keep Your Failures And Achievements To Yourself
When you talk about something you have worked hard to achieve, you will get all kinds of reaction from people. Some may adore you for what you do whereas some may feel that you are boasting about yourself. Similarly, if you talk about your shortcomings or failures, people may think that you are looking for sympathy so that you can feel good about yourself or write you off as a weak person and pity you. What do you do for a living ? is a question which doesn’t require you to speak about your failures and achievements directly. Try to answer as precisely as possible. The answer should be to the point and well-crafted. However, it should contain all the necessary details that may convey the idea of 'what do you do' correctly to the other person.
#3. Frame Your Answer According To The Questioner
One of the best ways in which you can answer 'what do you do for a living' to a complete stranger is by incorporating the knowledge that you have about him or her and use it to speak about your own values. You need to size up the person who is asking you this question and then make out if the person is just making a small talk or is genuinely interested in you because once you do that you will be equipped with the truth about the person, you are dealing with.
Whatever they do has not earned them the right to be a snob and behave in a disdainful and conceited fashion, yet many do this out of habit. If the person who has asked you 'what do you do for a living' an accountant, then you can tell him or her that you are a marketing expert who is always looking for low-cost promotional materials so that he or she (the accountant) can do the math and leave early. When you say something like this, you remove all doubts and cannot sink into self-critical thinking. As you have already voiced both what you and the person who has asked you the question, do for a living, there is no room for vilification.
#4. Incorporate Moral Aspects Into Your Answer
The person who is asking you this question may or may not have a broad mindset that takes into account the trial of everyday life and does not acknowledge that all of us have to be kind as every one of us is fighting a hard battle that others know nothing about. They may be unwilling to look at the aspects of other lives and tie one knot over the other in their soul blaming a particular feeling. This can go on for the longest time as our brain will never stop thinking and our mind will never stop feeling and make us bitter to the core. We can easily embark on a spiritual war with ourselves when we question the essence of our life and keep questioning it with all our energy in the hope of an answer that changes who we are and never getting it, limiting ourselves to questioning as we have not taken any action to change it.
So when someone asks you 'what do you do for a living' and your business or job is not going well, you can simply answer that 'I am using my life to take myself on a higher moral ground as money is something that I don’t always chase because I have just enough in my possession so that there is no lack of it nor any excess.' When you address the moral aspects, people will be surprised to hear something refreshing as all they have got till now are answers that describe how they make money, but you tell them that it is not only money which is important, it is our soul which keeps us alive. Making people aware that only the pursuit of money can make one cruel and vindictive helps people become more understanding and tolerant of others. People who are at a spiritual war with themselves get joy in criticizing and belittling others as they have convinced themselves that they are damaged beyond repair and are in search of material and information about other people that they can attack and feel good about their damage. Never forget that a man who makes troubles for others is also making trouble for himself.
#5. Don’t Suffer In Silence
You may be the kind of person who is unsure of himself even after your adolescence has passed and the adventures you embarked upon have not translated into a successful journey. You feel that it pains your conscience to answer what do you do for a living? Every time you think of answering it, the failure shoots up the sense of loss before your eyes. You cannot live a normal existence if you haven't taken care of a problem that affects your life. It is indeed painful to not realize the thing you hope for, but when you milk it and don’t let it go, you are limiting yourself and won’t be able to bring in a new perspective. It is very important to bring in a new perspective when something doesn’t turn out the way you thought it would. Don’t suffer in silence and tell the other person that you are still figuring out what to do for a living as the ventures you have advanced on till now have not borne the fruit which you thought they would.
Tell us what you say when people ask you 'what do you do for a living?' Drop comments in the comment section below. We would love to know your thoughts and experiences.