“What do you do for a living?”

Not long ago I heard someone ask the question, “What do you do for a living?” For some reason this struck me as extremely intriguing and provoked some deep thought into the question.

Typically, when people ask this question, they really mean, “What’s your job?” or “What is your career?” and I find that there is a major flaw in the way 99% of people answer this question. A common answer may be, “Well I work in advertising” or, “I am in Sales for a major corporation”. However there really should be deeper meaning into this very question. What DO we do for a living? I sure as hell know it’s not work.

We often connote the word “living” for, “occupation”, or even what is your means for being able to live and do things. However living is what all humans do. We are all blessed to have an opportunity at life and should all have a better answer to this question. If not, just take the question more literally for a moment while I explain. Everyone must work. Well – most of us have to work in order to make money and to do things we like to do and to be able to sustain ourselves. That’s just how the world is.  But when someone asks you this question, “What do you do for a living?” our answers should really be more profound than the obvious [insert your job title here] answer we all give.

Personally, what I do for a living is spend time with people who make me a stronger person. Physically and mentally. I spend my life exercising, laughing, and trying as hard as I possibly can to choose happiness and to be a happier and healthier person. What I do for a living is live for others, to better the lives of those around me and those I care about.

It is very upsetting that when you meet someone for the first time, or you are on an interview, or just chatting it up with an old friend, that we ask “What do you do for a living?” and immediately just talk about our jobs. Because our jobs and the money we make enable us to earn a living, but not a life. And it is that life that is more important, how we use the time we have here that is more meaningful, than any occupation on the planet. Our jobs come from some sort of passion that we have towards what we do. So when someone asks a doctor the question, they can answer, “I save lives and help those in need”. That is so much more powerful than just saying “I’m a doctor”.

So I urge everyone to think about how you yourself would answer this question. Because when someone asks this to you, don’t take it to mean, “what you do to make money?” Pretend that what they are asking “what gives you life?” “What motivates you and what are your passions?” The conversations you have will be more meaningful, and you will find out a lot more about a person, and yourself, if you answer this way. And of course, when they ask, “what’s your career/job?”, answer it simply and directly.

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