The problem with “What do you do?”

Let’s start with a question…One that I personally always struggle to answer…

“What do you do?”

My knee jerk response, which I never say but often think is:-

“What do you do with what?”

However, in my working life I’m asked quite a lot. If we’ve worked in business, we are conditioned to ask that question with relatively annoying consistency…so much so I often find myself asking it of others despite knowing it annoys me!

All Human beings, on the whole, are amazingly multi-faceted. I might be a chartered financial planner but I’m also a dad, a podcaster, a man constantly trying to fight off a middle age spread, a love of bananas, a traveller, a thrill seeker and much more…

You’ll have thousands of things which makes you interesting and it’s clear that you’re not defined by simply your occupation.

So, I wonder what a better question might be?

How about…

“How do you spend your time?”


“What do you love to do?”


“How do you help others?”

Maybe a slight subtle change in the questions we initially ask when we’re finding out about someone, whether in a business or personal setting might help us start to understand who they really are as opposed to what they do for a job?

What do you think?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *