As humans, we seem to have a need to place ourselves and others in a box. It seems that we have to define ourselves by something. If I had to guess what the most common question is when two people meet, it would be “What do you do?”.
I get asked this question a lot, not unlike most people. My inability to answer it has always puzzled me. It has continued to rank among the hardest questions I am asked upon being engaged in conversation. I’ve often wondered if there is something wrong with me with regards to the perplexity I experience when faced with, what seems on the surface, a menial question.
Was I thinking too hard? The truth is, I don’t really know what they mean when someone asks me that. My mind struggles to find an answer to a question that has not really been made clear and can have multiple motives and origins. I find that most people answer that question with what generates the majority of their income. I wonder about these people, and not in a necessarily negative way. I wonder about their daily life. What does it entail? Do they go to bed at night thinking about work and do they wake up in the morning thinking about work? How stressful must that life be? I would assume that if my immediate answer to “what do you do” was a job that generated income, I would be incredibly distraught if i one day lost that job.
Let’s get to the flip side of that. What of those people who answer that question with whatever they seem to be doing at the moment? They seem to be living such a harmonious, care-free life. But is that a false reality? Is this just a cover-up for an inability to plan or to focus on goals?
The human creation is magnificent. Some people have been enlightened enough to become aware of the awesome ability and purpose that has been linked to their humanity. By asking them this question you might as well be asking them how many strands of hair they have on their body. You cannot keep something in a box that has outgrown said box. Count it a blessing if the answer to this question escapes you and congratulate yourself for outgrowing the box.
The question has not gotten any easier for me to answer. As a matter-of-fact, it has gotten quite a bit harder as i try, with great diligence, to expand my mind and broaden my horizons.
Whatever your answer is to this question, let it be an honest reflection of how you live your life and use it to examine whether or not your happiness is reflected in the answer to the question “What do you do?”.