Is it normal to respond honestly to the question "what do you do?"

I can't stand the question "What do you do?", and I can't stand that it's one of the very first questions everyone asks you. I'm fed up with having to smile along and pretend that I have a decent job and that I enjoy it, just to satisfy the social convention. I'm considering next time answering frankly something like "Just some shitty office job". Or at least if they ask me whether I like my job, to reply "No I hate it". I wouldn't act miserable saying this, I understand that that could make them uncomfortable. But even so, there still seems to be such a taboo around being honest if you hate your job.

Is It Normal?
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  • So tell them about your hobbies and interest.

    If I want to know what someone does for their job or income I specifically ask what they do for work.

    Usually I'm just looking to see if we can have a conversation... and talking about hobbies or interests are usually a lot more interesting than talking about work.

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  • Tell them you’re into murders and executions mostly

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  • It's fine to hate your job. I used to have an office job that I really hated. When I explained what I did people would say "that sounds interesting" and I would say "well it isn't. At all. I hate it. I'm looking at getting into X in the future".

    As long as you are making an effort to change your situation then it's fine to be honest. For me it meant going back to uni. For you it could be something different.

    Just make sure you aren't one of those people who complains about their job all the time but has no intention of doing anything about it. Those are the people that no one wants to listen to.

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  • Absolutely normal.

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  • In some cultures its considered rude to ask that right away.
    You could give a snarky answer like " as little as possible" or " i do my best"

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    • Yes, I've heard the same thing. I don't always appreciate the way people here in the states feel comfortable asking me twenty questions right off the bat as soon as they meet me. I think most people are just being friendly, but it comes off kinda like an interrogation, and it's hard to tell if someone has nefarious intentions right from the beginning. Then again if I feel uncomfortable it's a good reason to just excuse myself. I've usually been quite friendly for most of my life so I have ended up over sharing with people, and then walked away feeling kinda emotionally violated.

      I'd like to be comfortable saying something like, "hey, let's leave the Spanish Inquisition in the history books, okay", especially if it's some creepy, overenthusiastic guy, but women can be like that too. I love having a cellphone because I don't have to feel lonely, or needy, and it's an easy way to make myself unavailable. Of course I used to just carry a book, or magazine with me a lot back in the day.

      One thing that has helped me immensely has been CoDA, also known as Codependents Anonymous, the list known as the Patterns and Characteristics of Codependence is a great tool!

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  • At 71 it's not a question I get asked any more.

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  • To lie about your job sounds kind of stupid to me.

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  • Just change your job, I've had bad contracts and just dumped them. A few months down the road because everybody hated the place they went under.

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  • Asking about jobs is a normal conversation-starter when you meet someone. It isn't too personal, it might indicate areas of shared interest and it allows us to slot people into a neat pigeon-hole.

    Lots of people lie to others about how happy they are about the work side of their life because they want to appear successful and in control of their destiny. Lots of people also lie to themselves about how happy they are in their work life. Some of them realise ten or twenty years down the line that they've built their life around a job they hate and they've been chasing goals that are meaningless in the grand scheme of things. The really sad people are those who get to sixty and realise they took a wrong turn in their youth and have wasted most of their life doing something they aren't proud of and which gives them no true satisfaction.

    The way our economy is structured means that there are a huge number of people doing drone-work that pays the bills but occupies a large part of their time and gives no real sense of achievement or satisfaction. There's nothing wrong with being honest about being in such a job when you first meet someone. If that makes them uncomfortable, it could be that they're one of those people who's lying to themselves about their own job-satisfaction. Cognitive dissonance - that unsettling feeling you get when the facts in front of you conflict with what you believe - can be a bitch.

    As Swick says, the work you're doing right now isn't nearly as important as where you're heading and what your long-term goals are. If you're in a shitty job, going through the motions like a good little drone and hating yourself for that, it's probably time for you to have a good think about what you want out of life and how you can get to a better place.

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  • I don’t understand why people ask about jobs so much, lots of people aren’t doing what they planned or wanted to do, so this question usually isn’t revealing of your character and can’t be used as a way to get to know people better, why do people continue to ask? I’d honestly tell them what I do and how I feel about it, wouldn’t occur to me lie about something so straightforward and trivial.

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  • Yep.

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  • I could see that kind of response working if you'r a funny guy and play around with it, otherwise it's just going to come off as a conversation stopper

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  • Just tell you do stuff and thangs, if you're less than comfortable with the question. Also if someone asks you want you're doing at a specific time, but you don't want to answer just tell them you're takin care of business.

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  • There's probably some taboo around that because most people make the connection that you can either pick your berries or you can buy them, and if you're gonna buy them you need stable income

    I think it is normal to be frustrated with the current paradigm though, in America we have capitalism and while it does work it also pigeon holes a certain percentage to jobs like McDonald's where you're really not gonna make a life for yourself out of it but it can pay the bills and get you some commodities

    Capitalism also requires you to be smart to be successful, that's why there's so much entertainment things, the world has basically decided to put a hold on conscious development so we can slowly build up better and better technology to give companies money over time so capitalism can work

    Because the more people laughing at family guy and keeping up with the Kardashians the easier it is for any shadow government to take action

    But I see what you're saying about convention, it sucks being forced into a conversation you have to say what you should instead of what you think. Sometimes it's better to smile and say you love your office job than it is to be counter culture. Psychologically speaking, if you don't even want to have that conversation, it would be quicker to give them the answers they want to give them what they came for

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    • Capitalism: God's way of determining who is smart and who is poor.

      Fun fact: You dont need to be smart at capitalism to win it. It's all about what you define win.

      If your endgame is just to continue living, working at mcdonalds (with no advancement) is just barely enough if you live with other people. Which is a living standard you will have to be in since McDonalds is an entry level position meaning literally anyone can pick it up if given the 1 hour ornitatation.

      Now if you move up to lower management at mcdonalds you can be making enough to get your own place. With some money that can be put in an emergency fund.

      Sure capitalism causes some people to fall through the cracks but if it's not the persons fault for falling through the cracks (mental disorder or physical disability) there are goverment support structures put in place to help you. Now if you have fallen into the cracks due to your own volition it's on you to drag your way out.

      The American dream can take more than one generation to achieve if you start at the very bottom. The problem is people continuing the cycle of poverty by making stupid decisions or simply being stubborn to not move to greener pastures.

      Pick berries or buy berries. Why not by seeds for a berry bush and wait 3 years for that bush to grow fruit. Oh you want the fruits now? Well you got to pay the people who own the land, grew the bushes, who picked the berries and took out the crappy disfigured ones, then sold them to a distribution company, who drove said berries to a store who placed them in a refrigeration unit within a short drive from your home. All for maybe 4$ per package. Or if you want to be cheaper buy the frozen stuff for 3$ a pound.

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      • I don't think you should have been down voted, we're almost basically saying the same thing

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      • Well if we define win as moving past the entry level positions getting enough income for yourself, you would need to be smart. How many other people are willing to earn that promotion? (Sometimes not many, other times you can have half the crew putting in their dues)

        If you define winning as starting a family, then you just need two people working 40 hours, which I'm finally breaking through that threshold. So winning in this case is being smart with dating/finding and keeping a partner

        I admit there is some dumb luck involved. I just happened to want to try delivering pizzas, I didn't think I'd end up being a manager within 8 months and starting training to take over a store in four/six months. But I couldn't have gotten that if I wasn't smart

        If it were easy, everyone would be rich, but if everyone was rich, theoretically then a hundred dollar bill could be worth 1 dollar in today's economy. The country needs fast food workers, people to fold clothes, someone to mop up puke. Even with government assistance they're not gonna make it so no one still has to be in one of those jobs

        Take a look at all the propaganda, all the distractions. They want people to work these jobs and spend any extra money on cell phones, tvs, gaming consoles, computers, treat yourself to a fancy meal, whatever but it keeps you in that pit where you have to continue working to support yourself and you'll never dig yourself out because you're at work all the time; unless you're smart and can find a way to give yourself an edge

        And yeah, you'd still need the money to buy the berry bush. My point with the berries is yeah, it's possible to survive without any government or economy, but you still gotta put in work. Especially with how frustrating the system can be, it's still nicer buying what I need at a store over an hour versus hunting and gathering

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