Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Day 247: What do you do for a living?

"What do you do for a living?"

That question. A generic pleasantry used to engage in surface chit chat for conversations with new people. Sometimes I go to parties with dread knowing this question will be asked. I don't even know why I have dread about it. I have an impressive answer:

"I'm a writer. I write books, a blog and advertising."

They respond in one of three ways: 

1) "Advertising? Like in MadMen? 

2) A blog? What's it about?

3) Books? What kind of books?"

Then I launch into a conversation about whichever of the three options intrigues them most.

1) Yes, like in MadMen. I'm like Peggy Olson.

2) Yes, a blog. I'm a blogging superstar. It's amazing. It's a new and exciting art form.

3) I write self help books.

I've gone through this schpiel a hundred times. It's like watching reruns of the Me Show.

This may sound self-centered of me. I would agree. But yesterday I was at a barbecue with people I didn't know and the question came up. I responded in my usual manner. It helps me from staring at the clock and locking myself in the bathroom until it's time to leave.

Turns out the woman I was speaking with was going through a divorce so my book, The Breakup Repair Kit intrigued her.

Then, through what I can only describe as the magic of angels, the other party-goers veered off on their own and we found ourselves alone so she could reveal to me the progress of her process.  I sat there, nodding and practicing my listening skills. It was a beautiful, touching and (I believe) a healing conversation.

After I left, I pondered once again the question, "What do you do for a living?" So often I see it as a vague conversation starter, used to get through the moments in conversation with people we don't know. But in this case, it was well served.

Now, if they choose option 2, I hand them my blog card. I actually do have them.

If they choose 1, the advertising option, we inevitably talk about this pretty amazing scene from this weeks episode of MadMen:

Sorry about the advertising. Geesh. Friggin' advertising.

Now I ponder other people's schpiels about what they do for a living. So dear reader, what do you do for a living?


  1. If people start talking to me about what I do, I direct them here:

  2. Yet another reminder I need to start watching that show...

    I think you should tell people you are a Creator when they ask. Creator of art. Ideas. Blog posts. Books. Healing conversations. Ads. Inspiration. The list really goes on and on.

  3. Hey Mel, speaking of going on and on, I created a little post to you on my blog at rotationandbalance.blogspot.com. See if you can figure out which post it is. And remember, I kid. I kid because I love.

  4. I'm an underground furniture salesman. The conversation usually stops there and I leave them with bewildered looks on their faces.

  5. Underground furniture salesman. Love it.


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