Saturday, March 27, 2010

What do you do?

I've always hated that question.  You know, when you are at a party, or out to dinner with new friends, before long the question will come up:  So, what do you do?  Or, where do you work?

I've always felt that the question is so limiting.  I suppose its only natural for people to want to try to peg you down based on the stereotypes of different professions.  But its always been an awkward question for both Trish and I.

The expected and easy answer is, "I work in marketing at a mid sized A/V company".  More appropriately I might say that I sail, kayak, and generally try to enjoy life.  The questioner would probably look at me funny and say something like, "No seriously, what do you do?".

I'm not sure where the discomfort with this question comes from.  Maybe its just that I haven't found my true calling.  Or maybe that I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs.  More likely I think it is because I have come to value life and living above material possessions and status.

This post has mostly been inspired by a book I just read entitled "The Best Life Money Can't Buy", by Andy Deering.  Andy's answer to the question is: "I Live".  Andy and his partner, Lisa, have had some wild adventures including sailing the Pacific, and living through winter in a small cabin in Alaska.  At the heart of his book is the idea that life is short and the time we spend on this planet is finite so it is best to enjoy it.  Andy's personal sense of enjoyment and my own are pretty similar I think, except I don't want to experience any winters for a while after we get out of NY.

I'm sure there are people out there who truly enjoy their jobs and get real satisfaction when they tell people what it is they do.  In my experience they have mostly been people who have a direct and positive affect on other people, i.e. social workers, special education counselors, and teachers.  Maybe that is the answer.  Maybe if your work truly benefits others you will enjoy it the most.

As we embark on our great adventure I can't help but look to the other side of it and wonder where we will come out.  Will we find enlightenment that will lead us to our "path"?

On the other hand, maybe this adventure is our path.

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