What do you do and other terrible questions


I hate that one of the go-to socializing questions is “what do you do?” Maybe because I’ve never had a great answer to it, and usually end up lying out of boredom. Because what you do matters way less than what you feel about what you do. It’s an introductory question that should immediately be followed by something more interesting, like “what do you like about what you do” or “what do you want to do?”

Sometimes I feel a really strong urge to say something ridiculous. Like, “Meth.”

The problem with “what do you do?” is that it asks without really asking. It’s the same problem I have with people saying “how are you?” They want you to say fine. They’re expecting you to say fine. They’re not even really listening to your answer. Chances are they’re just waiting for to finishing talking so that they can tell you how they are.

I’m such a cynic…

In a similar vein, “what did you do today?” is also an awful question, especially when someone asks you about it right as you’re walking through the doors from a mediocre day. A good day for me is one where I got a lot of writing done. But someone asks you what you did that day and you said that you wrote, they’re apt to ask if you did anything else. Also, sometime nothing really out-of-the-ordinary happened. Nothing funny or dramatic or anything at all. If there was a good story from the day, I’ll tell it to you.

I’m contemplating just giving people plot. “What did you do today?” “Oh, I went to a carnival, was kidnapped by a cult, fought my way out, and killed man. And all that before lunch!”

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” This one is annoying because I’m twenty-three years old. Also, I never wanted to be anything when I grew up. I always wanted to be something right now. I don’t believe in delayed gratification.

All that being said, let’s answer the terrible, networking questions.

What do you do?

I’m pursuing a masters in publishing right now, and then I hope to go into marketing/publicity while I continue to chip away at my own projects. I also metabolize food, breath oxygen, walk on my two feet, and do meth. (Disclaimer: I do not do meth)

What did you do today?

I woke up at about 8:30 on a camping mattress laid out on the floor of my friend’s apartment. Her boyfriend was getting ready to go to work. In my half-conscious, half-dreaming state, I became convinced that if I didn’t wish him a good day at work he would have a terrible one, so I said, “Have a good day at work” and then dozed off-and-on for then next half hour before becoming convinced that my friend had left with him and I was alone in her apartment. I finally became anxious enough about this to check, and she was still asleep. I read a chapter or two of a book called The Pickup by Nadine Gordimer that she had sitting out for school or something. At about ten we got on the train. She went to work, I went to the bus loop at the mall. I missed the bus, ordered and ate a Subway sandwich in fifteen minutes, got on the next bus. Walked home from the bus stop, carrying the empty pop can that I’d gotten with my sandwich and drank on the bus, because I couldn’t find any recycling bins, and I felt horrible anxiety when I thought about throwing it in a garbage can. I threw it in the recycling at home, played with my dog a little, then played Final Fantasy XIII: Lightning Returns for about four hours. I started downloading the trial version of Adobe Creative Cloud. I ate some leftover pasta. Drank some tea. Checked the download. Continued downloading Adobe Creative Cloud. Added some videos to my lynda.com playlists, so that I’d actually know how to use Creative Cloud. I had a shower. I started writing this blog post.

Super fucking fascinating, no?

How are you?


What do you want to be when you grow up?

I don’t want to be anything when I grow up. I want to be things right now.

How bout you guys?




One thought on “What do you do and other terrible questions

  1. Thanks for the amusing post. I also hate questions like this. Because I know that no one actually cares about the answer. Cynics unite?

    I, too, especially dislike the “what do you want to be when you grow up” question. I generally have some kind of plan A (to include a plan B, C, D, and so on), but that’s usually in regards to where I’m going, not where I’ll end up. But you make a valid point: we should strive to be something now. Now is where we are. We don’t even know if we’re going to make it to later. Oops. There’s the cynicism again . . .

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