What do you say when they ask you this:
“What do you do?”
I used to just say I’m a web developer, then I moved to “web designer”, then to “I work for myself”. Now I make a joke of it and parody my job. This is all done with a wink and a smile.
I say: “I don’t know if you know about this thing, it’s really great” pause… ” it’s called the internet”. If they are foreign, I then say “It probably hasn’t come to your country yet, I heard you were still waiting for electricity, hot water and toilets indoors”.
If they are fun cool girls they will get it. It’s the whole I know, that you know, that I know… thing.
They generally play along, “No, never heard of it, we don’t have it in x town/country”. I then try and look a bit shocked. Then you continue, “Well, on the internet they have these things called websites, you can find out about almost anything about anything, it’s truly a wonder, it’s amazing, heard of those?”.
I then continue: “My job is to build those website things, using this machine, it’s called a computer, Have you heard of a computer?”
At this point they are generally laughing, Then I tell them seriously: “I’m a web designer, I work for myself but contract out to media agencies here in London” I never tell them any specifics, I sometimes throw in the location where I work, then use a subtle DHV, “I enjoy working there, but the best part of the day is my travel into work on my motorbike”. “Anyway, you look creative, I’m guessing your a xxx”.
So she now knows a bit about me, enough to pique her interest. I’ve presented what is essentially a pretty boring subject, my actual job: “Contract C# Developer” into something a bit more fun.
The take away for you is to first parody your work, use it to draw stereotypes about her “backward country”. Think about it, if you work in a bar, you say “I don’t know if you’ve heard about them.. there are these places, called bars, where people go to drink this thing called beer and they have this thing it’s called fun”.
The structure is applicable to almost any jobs, if you work in a funeral home though, you’re on your own. Even I wouldn’t parody that. Okay, maybe I would.
Then you tell her what you actually do, so she knows you can be serious and connect with her. Next throw it back onto her with a statement: “you look xxx, you must do xxx for a living”. Or “your not another xxx in London are you?”.
This is now my standard response to the hairdresser questions of “what do you do?”.
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