What Do You Do?

Yesterday was my 13th wedding anniversary.  Amy and I went out to dinner at the Flagstaff House with Seth and Greeley who were celebrating their 3rd anniversary.  We had a wonderful time – I wouldn’t trade the last 13 years with Amy for anything (and I suspect Seth and Greeley feel the same way about each other.)

We spent a lot of time talking about how satisfied we are with our respective existences on this planet.  It’s a huge pleasure to be able to sit quietly at a nice dinner, looking out over one of the most beautiful views of any city that I’ve ever seen (Boulder from the top of Flagstaff is special), and enjoy the company of a few of the special people in my life. 

At some point in the conversation, we started discussing the ever present “introduction” question that comes up often, which is “What Do You Do?”

We decided the best answer – inspired by one of Amy’s friends – is “I’m Happy.”

  • Dave Jilk

    In The Fountainhead, the name of Gail Wynand’s yacht is the “I Do” – which is a response to people who said when he was younger, “you don’t run things around here.”

    I’ve always thought a better name would be the “I Am” — i.e., happy.

    Happy Anniversary!

  • I HATE the question what do you do and it seems everyone asks it, right? I’ve always felt somewhat awkward when a stranger sizes me up based on my chosen vocation. As such my response, when not in the mood for small talk, is usually that I’m looking for work. This makes them think I’m unemployed and usually ends the line of questioning, but what entrepreneur isn’t on the prowl for new business!

  • Happy Anniversary!

    In February I did a post about the question “What do you do?” as the driver of most small talk conversations. It’s annoying. People left some interesting comments.

    This also has to do with my recent post about creating and projecting your personal brand. I think most people undervalue their own life experiences as generic and uninteresting, and tend to think of themselves in the context of their work / school or whatever, instead of who they are, what they enjoy doing, and of course, whether they are happy and excited about life.

  • Allison Bergamo

    I used to hate that question too and wondered if there was a “friendlier” version of it that didn’t put people on the spot or in a box. I met a woman at a party recently who asked, “So Allison, how do you spend your time?” I liked how she phrased her question because it didn’t imply that she wanted to know what I did for a living. I told her what I do “after hours” and we ended up having a much more interesting conversation that revolved around books, travel and tennis!

  • Albert

    I like to ask people what they read…That is usually a great conversation starter but can sometimes backfire when I am in Miami. I can say that because I’m from Miami.

  • Happy Anniversary. Thanks for the touching post. I just blogged that I’m back to reading a few (very few) VC blogs – I got too oversubscribed to too many blogs there for a bit. I’ve enjoyed your recent posts from Paris, esp Rodin sculpture garden and hearing you are investing in a local gallery too.

    I met one of my best friends over a year ago at an evening event where I think he was trying to impress me with his background, what he did, blah blah blah. Kinda stuff you get with, “What do you do?”

    I was feeling slightly bored, it was late, I was ready to leave, yet felt an intuition that said there was something buried that we might have affinity for, so I finally simply steered the conversation, “What are your passions?”

    Right move. He’s one of my best friends now.

    p.s. Albert, I’m from Miami too. I survived on books growing up and books are the bulk of my most cherished possessions today.

  • I like the quote, and will use it…I hate the question…I’m happy is a great answer.