What do you do?

This question makes me cringe inwardly when I hear it. Four years ago I would have perked up and chatted about how I help people make money. I’ve had a few jobs, starting in high school.

Directory Assistance

  • You really should be 18 or over the way clientele speak to operators :/

Tim Horton’s

  • “Gimme Lady” (gimme coffee)

Call Centre

  • A soul sucking job

Universal Life Specialist

  • Helping the rich get richer

Fitness Instructor

  • The best job I ever had =D

Although I don’t currently have a job as I am a Canadian living in the United States with no employment authorization, I definitely fill my days. Each and every day, I try and do something good for those around me and make the world a little bit better by volunteering.

I nourish.

producemondays Packing and handing out fresh, local & seasonal produce at the local foodbank.

I guide.


 Guide runner for the visually impaired.

 I motivate.


 I keep folks movin’ & groovin’ by teaching dance classes at my local YMCA.

 I comfort.


 My pup Sunny and I visit hospice patients.

 I give.



 Giving platelets.

 I nurture.


 Wish Grantor extraordinaire with Make A Wish.

 I teach.


Teaching nutrition to low-income families with Cooking Matters.

I have to admit that doing all of these wonderful things gives warm fuzzies from helping others and being a contributing member of society. Sometimes not working makes me feel unimportant and like a mooch off of my husband, but it generally feels liberating and grounding. I love the people I meet and the experiences I have.

Robin said one of the reasons we became such fast friends is because I was the first person to not ask her what she did for a living. It’s kind of an icebreaker question though, right? It can set up several minutes worth of conversation discussing your career.

Why not ask what people enjoy? Their hobbies? Their favourite travel destinations? Their dreams?

What has been your favourite job? 

What do you do for fun?

Do you volunteer?

14 thoughts on “What do you do?

  1. This is a lovely post. You do so many amazing things!
    I’m a kitty vet by trade, but sometimes find talking about it quite exhausting because people mostly just want to hear about how great it is and really it often isn’t.
    I am much happier talking about cats in the non-vet setting (especially my own kitties!), baking, geekery and veganism! I run bake sales in my city sometimes as well to raise money for animal shelters, and volunteer doing information collection (and hopefully some other things) for Animal Lib. I would be so much happier having discussions about all of these things with people rather than being expected to talk about how much I love a job that I often don’t! I will try and remember this for when I am asking people about things as well!

    1. Thank you for the kind words Susan. A kitty vet is actually a pretty cool job =) Love that you try and help the animals as much as possible. You must be a very organized lady to run bake sales! Love it =)
      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I’m a new reader, and I have to say – love this post. Wouldn’t it be amazing if ice breakers were more about what drives you, what your passions are, or how you try to make a difference in the world?

    I think what you do for a living would intimidate and exhaust most people!

  3. Wonderful post! I used to have the same problem and the same awkwardness. I came up with several replies to “What do you do?”

    – “I don’t! ” Then I would discuss narcolepsy and my volunteer work with the Sleep Wake Disorders Association.

    – “Freedom 25 early retirement!”

    – I would explain that I have a neurological disease that prevented me from working, but that I have many different interests and skills that I use to benefit various charitable groups.

    I really love how you expressed yourself and described your life in this post. So any people define themselves by their employment, and can’t understand the value in unpaid work. Personally, when I ask people an opening question, it’s often “What do you do for fun?” surprisingly, most people don’t know how to answer that question!

    1. Your responses are pretty great Ali ;p It’s great that you volunteer even though you can’t work, you are a good person =)
      I will admit that I used to be one of those people that identified myself by my job, but a job is a job. What do you do for fun is a much more interesting question with more possibility for answers and better for getting to know someone.

  4. I also hate the question about “So, what do you do?” I am a stay at home mom and whenever I tell people that, they say ” Well, what do you DO all day?” i usually just respond that Matilda keeps me busy.
    This a great post! Very inspiring!

    1. Ha – stay at home mom is one of the most important jobs ever!! That is a full time job 24/7! I really admire mommies =) I’m sure Matilda thinks you are the best employee ever ;p
      Thanks Heather.

  5. That’s so great that you are getting the chance to do all that volunteer work! I’m not working a lot now either and really looking forward to volunteering with my local animal shelter and with our wilderness team up here.

  6. Great post – It is a shame that we define ourselves by our work as we are all so much more interesting and complex than that – in a job I did for years I had a title that didn’t really give much clue about my job and stayed the same as the work I did changed. I have been able to do some volunteer work esp in time when I didn’t have work and I have always found it really rewarding – your volunteer work looks really interesting and important.

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