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What do you do for a living?

You’re at a dinner party you wholeheartedly wanted to cancel because you “honestly don’t feel the need for shallow introductions that just stay there. And because you have enough friends in your close circle and not enough energy to fit more people in…”

By Adriana Lebbos

Wait, where was I? Yes, you’re at this dinner party, and someone you’ve just been introduced to asks you this. “What do you do for a living?”

Is it an ice-breaker? Is it a conversation starter? Or is the person trying to define you by what you do and, upon that, decide whether or not to keep chit-chatting to you or move on to the next person they’ve just been introduced to to show you respect for what you do or look down on you?

Remember when Romy and Michele went to their high school reunion claiming they invented Post-Its? Yeah. That’s the kind of pressure I am talking about.

So, does it mean I am nobody if I am in between jobs / unemployed? Does it mean that I’m nobody if I grew to hate the nauseous environments of the glammed-up from the outside, rotten from the inside, advertising and media world?

The oh-so-overrated stability of a 9 to 5 job? And with them, I grew to despise all the acquaintances who give me a 30-second lecture on the security that a stable job with health insurance and other so-called benefits brings when they’re stuck inside a sick, toxic environment, counting the days until the weekend finally shows up to distract them from their misery… Just for the sake of social security? Social security turning them into anti-social slaves to the system.

And would you like and respect me more if I had a fancy pants job title but hated my life like I’m dead on the inside?

A few weeks ago, at a dinner party that I couldn’t cancel, though I wanted to simply because “I honestly don’t feel the need for shallow introductions that just stay there. And because I have enough friends in my close circle and no energy to fit more people in.”

Before alcohol kicked in, someone asked me what I did for a living. I smiled, inhaled, exhaled (“You are an endless point of light.” Thank you, sister Shivani, for the Raja Yoga meditation sessions), and then I replied: I travel, I read books, I write, I paint, I craft, I watch movies, I spend time with the friends I love and I work on my flaws. I am also trying to lose weight. And learn carpentry.

The guy laughed. Come on, seriously now, he insisted. I mean, dude, you come on. Did the above fail to give you enough material to start a convo? I moved to the bar, gave the bartender my empty glass, and kept my mouth shut as he said, ‘Say when.’

One of my former employers contacted me recently to talk me into returning to work for him. “Millennials are so unreliable,” he said. “They’re nothing like you and your generation. They never show up on time, stay after hours, and leave without notice!”

Unreliable. Yes, because millennials, unlike me and my generation, were not brainwashed by our parents and their generation. Because they want to care that effin diem, and they don’t give two sh*s about social security. They want to do what they love. And it is rarely a 9 to 5 job.

At least, not to me.

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Adriana Lebbos
 
Adriana Lebbos
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One comment on “What do you do for a living?”

  1. Good one! You nailed it!!! 🙂
    Anyways i have developed through the years a serie of fantastic made up answers for that question that usually keeps my interlocutor wondering if i am joking or i am serious. And if and when he asks, i just smile, letting him wondering...

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