How do you answer that question?
Most people would respond accordingly with their profession:
- A bus driver
- A podiatrist
- A professional ping pong player (where do I try out!?!)
In a beautiful little town in Hawaii by the name of Hana (and as much as we fell head over heels in love with Hana, it’s no surprise it’s the first thing I chose to blog about), I was part of a conversation with a few locals, whereby one asked a visitor this standard, conversation-opening question.
“So what do you do?”
“What do you mean, ‘what do I do?'”
“Like, for a job…what do you do?”
“My job? Why do you want to know?”
So at this point you’re thinking “what a jerk” – what he said next was extremely thought provoking.
“Listen – when you ask me ‘what do I do?’ – well I surf, I fish, I like to read, I really enjoy writing in my journal, I have a beautiful girlfriend who I try to spend as much time with as possible…that’s really what I do. Doesn’t that tell you more about me than what my profession is?”
So yes, maybe still a jerk, but he wasn’t trying to be. He was answering honestly, instead of perpetuating the expectation that anyone participating in that conversation would get anything truly meaningful talking about the successful HVAC company he founded 15 years ago. Nevermind the fact that he could tell the person asking…well she didn’t really care.
His answer changed the tone of the conversation from small talk, to an hour-long discussion about relationships, how people interact with one another, and how each of us chooses to approach those interactions.
So…what do I do?
I approach life with open arms, open eyes, and open ears. I love my wife Jacke very much, and our dog Terra puts a smile on my face every morning as I walk out of the bedroom and see her anticipating a great doggy-day. Travel is my favorite way to experience life – the beach is magical to me, I could listen to the sound of waves crashing for hours and hours. I respect honesty, character, courage, innovation, integrity, commitment, and passion…and believe the same should be expected of me. I enjoy fast cars…maybe a little too much. I play guitar, and aim to learn a new song once a month. I have recently begun to really enjoy gardening and flora in general. I love technology and the automation of just about everything. I am extremely passionate about the impact that technology continues to have on the business/consumer relationship, and am a firm believer that we are on the cusp of something special as organizations place an emphasis on their obligation to deliver a stellar customer experience. While cutting edge technology is great, I still hold a special spot in my heart for retro gaming and electronics – things that just work as they should. I often have very high expectations of myself, my friends, and my colleagues, and have always felt if you’re going to do something, give it your all. One of my favorite quotes hangs in my office (a gift from my wife) from James Dean:
“Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today”
The concept Dean conveys is what drives me every day.
So…what do you do?
Since you asked… 🙂
I read, I swim, I spend a lot of time trying to get near water to do either of those things. I ballroom dance, and spend far too much time staring at airplanes. I go to school, half of my homework is so I can get a degree, the other half are just classes that interest me, they don’t count towards anything. I teach my kids, and we love to travel. Every Monday I start crossing off the days until Friday, when I can see my husband again. I like fast cars as well, and really, cars in general. Working on becoming a gardener, but, after years of failed attempts,I am having a horrible time this year trimming and pruning as needed, because things are actually growing! I tend to rush into things, because I think doing SOMETHING is better than nothing. (Sometimes to my own detriment.) I have a book I collect quotes in. And one of my favorite quotes is “The cure for anything is salt water…sweat, tears, or the sea.” Sorry, I don’t remember who is is by.
Life is so ridiculously serendipitous sometimes – my wife and I were talking the other day, out of nowhere she said how much she loves that exact same quote!!! It was the first time I heard it (and according to her, her absolute favorite quote of all time, shame on me). Trimming and pruning is totally tough – I too have a really hard time cutting back full, beautiful, healthy plants even though I know it’s for their own good. Really cool introspective post, thanks for sharing!
good GOD what a douchey response to that question, but i see his point. it’s also easier answering that question when you have an easy-to-explain/no-follow-up-questions-needed-type of job. it used to take what felt like forever to explain what i did at my old job (“i work in the publishing department of a oncology member organization blah blah blah boring”) but now i just say “graphic designer.” easy. and fulfills the small talk requirements. anyways, nice post, nick. and welcome to the blogging world!