Your job is not your our identity, so why is “What do you do?” one of the first questions you ask when you meet someone? Here are five alternatives that will be sure to get the conversation going.
When you meet someone, what are the first questions you ask? Probably what their name is, where they’re from, and what they do.
But is “What do you do?” a good question to ask anymore? Why are we so focused on what someone does for a living — and in today’s job-hopping society, does it even make sense?
Freelance journalist Mónica Guzmán doesn’t think so. In a recent GeekWire article, she says the classic question is outdated, explaining: “Its assumptions are stale, and we need an upgrade.”
Your job is not your identity
Why the need for a change? Guzmán says these question make your job the item of utmost importance, as well as the source of your identity — two assumptions that aren’t true for everyone.
If you’re stumped at what else to say, Guzmán offers five alternatives, which she culled from her Facebook community.
Here are our favorites:
- What are you working on these days?
- What do you like to do?
- What are you building?
Since these questions are more personal and open-ended, Guzmán says they’ll allow your new friend to choose the direction they want the conversation to take — whether it be their job(s), hobbies, or passions.
Do you think “What do you do?” is outdated? Will you try out any of these alternatives at your next networking event?
Susan Shain (@TravlJunkette) is a travel blogger who loves helping people discover adventure through international travel or alternative careers.