Sunday, May 17, 2009

What do you do for money?

So I haven't been a prolific poster recently. I think that the main reason is that my mind has been really focused on my current job and I don't feel comfortable talking about it on the internet. It's not fair to my students/clients/staff.

I haven't been knitting, I haven't been cooking, I haven't been taking care of the house properly, I haven't been writing here. I have also come to the conclusion that I really don't want to work more than 3 to 4 days a week, if I can help it. It goes against everything I was raised to believe (work hard! get rewards!) but I am finding that I think the leisure to do what I want is really the best reward. Also that I shouldn't be defined by the work that I do - even if that is something that I love doing, like riding horses.

I'm going to go as far as to say that the question "What do you do?" as in implying "What do you do for money?" is almost rude. Maybe I think so because I started to hate answering it so much when I worked for the hedge fund. My standard answer to the question became, "I work for a hedge fund but I'm not a republican. Yes, they are just as evil as you've been told."

When I was a horse trainer, the answer was always greeted with: "I rode a horse once." So while I originally liked answering the question, I got tired of the stories about someone going on a trail ride and the horse "bucked them" or "started going really fast."

Now I have such a convoluted answer, I really don't like bothering. Every answer seems like a betrayal to everything else I do. And I can't really list everything and I don't really feel that what I do for money is the same as what I, well, do.

But I suppose it's a question, like any other, that people use to learn about other people. Obviously I've asked the question myself, but I think I tend to wait until the person volunteers the information. I mean, what if you want to not work at all. How do you answer the question then?

I think this all stems from my frustration with being defined or boxed into a category and my frustration with defining or categorising others. I'm sure I do it though much my own chagrin. It just seems like a lazy and more importantly harmful thing to do. Lately I've been feeling very categorised all too often.

Well this has turned into a bit of a ramble. Oh well.


Shawn said...

that question can be fun or not to answer depending on what words you imagine in there. I ususally imageing them wher I want that serves my own purpose. "What do you do [for fun]"? "What do you do [when you're not answering asinine questions like this]"? "What [in the world] do [or will] you do [to avoid finishing this conversation]"?

slartibartfast said...

That's exactly what someone with connections would say.

Lister said...

It occurred to me this morning that when I ask "What do you do?", I actually mean "What are you doing with your life?" or "What occupies the bulk of your time?". For most people, this means "What do you do for money?", but it's more interesting when it means something else, such as "What major life goal are you working toward?" or "What are you so passionate about in life that you spend most of your time on it?". But what exactly the question means really depends entirely on the person being asked, and whether "what they do" most of the time is "work for money" or "pursue their passions".