What do you do for a living?

30 replies [Last post]
JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

This is a strange question. 

But last night we went to the theater and people beside us ask this question right off the get-go.  I don't know them, not even their names.  I thought back later and said later to DH I never ask people that question, but there are these people who ask you so you will ASK THEM.  I see it all the time and it drives me nuts.

If it comes up in conversation, then fine.  But to ask that as the second line in your conversation to a stranger is very bold.  I didn't want to talk about my job.

I got up to stretch and get a drink and in the car later DH said, they have 4 kids, she is a principal, he does this, they do that, their drive is this long to get home tonight, blah blah blah.

I guess with so many personal questions here at the B&B I thought a night out finally away from kids, guests, all that chit chat would be more private for us.  Instead we were sitting around sticky beaks.

__________________

"What the country needs is dirtier fingernails and cleaner minds." Will Rogers

 

gillumhouse's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

OK, guilty. We ask our guests (if they have not already said) what they do in (whatever State/city) and then we ask what they do for fun. Both have started some very interesting discussions. Last weekend we had DH and one man talking motorcycles, the 2 wives were talking about - I do not remember but were so engaged that they ended by exchanging contact info, and the other man & I were talking sailing. When I asked what he does for fun - the gates opened and the discussion rolled! We have both had such varied interests that we can get into great conversations as long as they stay away from metaphysics, etc.

And a friend who was studying for her phD refers to it as a post hole digger.

Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

See one thing I agreed with my husband aboutSmiling  

We NEVER asked our guests, what they did, or anything really personal. We figured if they brought it up on their own in conversation it was fine but we never would be the ones to ask that.

As much as I was curious, he convinced me that we respect their privacy when they stayed with us. We were providing the bed and the breakfast and any assistance we could give them..but their lives were really none of our business. So our talk usually centered around "things to do" making dinner reservations and answering any questions they had.  If in conversation, other personal info came up, fine..but we didn't ask.

Offline
Joined:
05/30/2008

For some reason, people spill their guts to us about all kinds of things.  haha!  We also don't dig at all but I think we're pretty good listeners. 

I find that the most interesting things about people are not what they do to live (pay the bills), but what they live to do (what they have passion for).  We have just met the most interesting folks!  I was interviewed for a magazine article recently & we ended up talking more about this gal & her husband's "hobby" - they're restoring a historic private railroad car and will take people on trips when it's finished.  There is an association of people that do this & hook their cars onto Amtrak.  So interesting!

And I try to discourage my dh from talking too much about his other job...it's kinda boring to me.  hahahaha!  But there has been the occasional tech geek that's enjoyed hearing about it. 

__________________

People don't notice whether it's winter or summer when they're happy.
~ Anton Chekhov

 

Morticia's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

Samster wrote:

And I try to discourage my dh from talking too much about his other job...it's kinda boring to me.  hahahaha!  But there has been the occasional tech geek that's enjoyed hearing about it. 

Heaven help me on the tech geek talk. I watch guests' eyes glaze over and try to change the subject.

__________________

Never judge a person's story by the chapter you walked in on.

 

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

Bree wrote:

Samster wrote:

 

And I try to discourage my dh from talking too much about his other job...it's kinda boring to me.  hahahaha!  But there has been the occasional tech geek that's enjoyed hearing about it. 

Heaven help me on the tech geek talk. I watch guests' eyes glaze over and try to change the subject.

See that is where DH finds his niche.  If guests talk to him about his real job, then they disclose their profession as being in the I.T. industry, he gets a kick out of it.  They might be on gvmt contractor side or something so they hit it off. 

But DH is not a talker, so he is the "charming australian" as the reviewer wrote, who can say and do whatever he wants and they laugh and want to hear him talk.  He has them feeding out of his hand.  WHAT EVER! 

Morticia's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

JunieBJones (JBJ) wrote:

Bree wrote:

Samster wrote:

 

And I try to discourage my dh from talking too much about his other job...it's kinda boring to me.  hahahaha!  But there has been the occasional tech geek that's enjoyed hearing about it. 

Heaven help me on the tech geek talk. I watch guests' eyes glaze over and try to change the subject.

See that is where DH finds his niche.  If guests talk to him about his real job, then they disclose their profession as being in the I.T. industry, he gets a kick out of it.  They might be on gvmt contractor side or something so they hit it off. 

But DH is not a talker, so he is the "charming australian" as the reviewer wrote, who can say and do whatever he wants and they laugh and want to hear him talk.  He has them feeding out of his hand.  WHAT EVER! 

It's ok if the guests are in IT. Then they are happy to chat. It's when he's got a roomful of 'shoppers' who want to hit the street and he's yammering on about work.

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

Bree wrote:

JunieBJones (JBJ) wrote:

Bree wrote:

Samster wrote:

 

And I try to discourage my dh from talking too much about his other job...it's kinda boring to me.  hahahaha!  But there has been the occasional tech geek that's enjoyed hearing about it. 

Heaven help me on the tech geek talk. I watch guests' eyes glaze over and try to change the subject.

See that is where DH finds his niche.  If guests talk to him about his real job, then they disclose their profession as being in the I.T. industry, he gets a kick out of it.  They might be on gvmt contractor side or something so they hit it off. 

But DH is not a talker, so he is the "charming australian" as the reviewer wrote, who can say and do whatever he wants and they laugh and want to hear him talk.  He has them feeding out of his hand.  WHAT EVER! 

It's ok if the guests are in IT. Then they are happy to chat. It's when he's got a roomful of 'shoppers' who want to hit the street and he's yammering on about work.

or worse, talking to ME ABOUT IT!

edited to say, I have to add tho, I would rather listen to I.T. than shopping!!!

gillumhouse's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

They are on different subjects, but our DHs are similar in that. I FINALLY found the secret OFF button for my DH. I go up behind him and do a twist in the off direction in the small of his back and he goes into closing mode. Motorcycles and sports are the main subjects unles he finds an artist in the mix - oy vey!!!

Yes the hobbys and the passions are what light up the guests. Just get me started on B & B - same thing......

gillumhouse's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

We do not have a plethora of things to do unless I do a routing and I tailor routings to their interests. I have found our guests usually enjoy talking about themselves and you have to start somewhere. We do not start the conversation with, Well, what do YOU do? But if there is a lag, I am going to try to fill it with them talking about whatever interests them. If the answer is a generalization we slide to so you like sports? or some such thing.

Conversations do need to get started and usually need some common ground for it to be a conversation.

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

catlady wrote:

See one thing I agreed with my husband aboutSmiling  

We NEVER asked our guests, what they did, or anything really personal. We figured if they brought it up on their own in conversation it was fine but we never would be the ones to ask that.

As much as I was curious, he convinced me that we respect their privacy when they stayed with us. We were providing the bed and the breakfast and any assistance we could give them..but their lives were really none of our business. So our talk usually centered around "things to do" making dinner reservations and answering any questions they had.  If in conversation, other personal info came up, fine..but we didn't ask.

Your proximity to DC was probably what prompted that.  We can sure google if we feel the urge, but we don't ask anyone either.  In fact, we have an unspoken rule as well.  The man who is very wealthy and his wife who stayed here never said a word, but his name kept ringing a bell for me, so I googled him.  I thought later on that those guests never knew they were dining with a multi-millionaire.  I think that is cool and the way it should be. 

Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

yep...knowing that I was serving a multi millionaire would freak me out.  Hey they all put their pants on the same way..one leg at a timeSmiling

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

catlady wrote:

yep...knowing that I was serving a multi millionaire would freak me out.  Hey they all put their pants on the same way..one leg at a timeSmiling

I am more freaked out serving innkeepers, or foodies. 

Offline
Joined:
05/30/2008

One of our first guests was a gentleman who was a regional food & beverage manager for Ritz Carlton! Eek!  I was glad that I didn't know that until later in their stay.  He told me that I passed muster with flying colors.    Whew... 

The techno babble is OK unless you notice people looking like deer caught in the highlights   haha!

Morticia's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

JunieBJones (JBJ) wrote:

catlady wrote:

yep...knowing that I was serving a multi millionaire would freak me out.  Hey they all put their pants on the same way..one leg at a timeSmiling

I am more freaked out serving innkeepers, or foodies. 

One reason I don't Google guests in advance! We had 2 young 'uns a few weeks ago who wanted to know where all the micro breweries were. So we talked to them about the places we knew, got them directions, etc. The morning they left (3 days later) we asked how they had liked the microbreweries and what was their interest? He's a chef and she's a hotelier in NYC. I said, 'I'm glad I didn't know that 3 days ago!'

Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

Yep that would get me too..so I don't want to knowSmiling  Found out we had several chefs with us..glad I did not know.

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

catlady wrote:

Yep that would get me too..so I don't want to knowSmiling  Found out we had several chefs with us..glad I did not know.

I was sad to know AFTER on one ocassion, but relieved as well, so I didn't freak.  She had that cooking show in Indiana.  She was not here to critique or anything, but I was glad she didn't let me know before breakfast.  Another guy was a chef in Richmond VA - but it didn't phase me, he owned a sports bar.

gillumhouse's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

My son the Chef never criticizes another's cooking. He just says they have another way of doing it.

Offline
Joined:
06/02/2008

I find this discussion strange.  When business people meet, that is usually the first question people ask.  It is a way of getting to know you.  I don't think of it as nosey.

I also find it funny in a different way too.  My husband has a Phd and just retired.  But for years, his choice of clothes if he can get away with it is overalls, T shirts and flannel shirts.  He also wears one of those head scarves that tie at the back. So most people that meet him outside of his job, assume he is a farmer, biker, or some other thing like that. 

It is fun to watch people question him and put him in a slot of some kind.  Then to see someone else question him and put him in a different slot. Or see a piece of mailing that is to Dr. -----. etc. Nothing fits with their perception.

For irreverent wives, Phd stands for 'piled higher and deeper'.

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

hawley wrote:

I find this discussion strange.  When business people meet, that is usually the first question people ask.  It is a way of getting to know you.  I don't think of it as nosey.

I also find it funny in a different way too.  My husband has a Phd and just retired.  But for years, his choice of clothes if he can get away with it is overalls, T shirts and flannel shirts.  He also wears one of those head scarves that tie at the back. So most people that meet him outside of his job, assume he is a farmer, biker, or some other thing like that. 

It is fun to watch people question him and put him in a slot of some kind.  Then to see someone else question him and put him in a different slot. Or see a piece of mailing that is to Dr. -----. etc. Nothing fits with their perception.

For irreverent wives, Phd stands for 'piled higher and deeper'.

There have been some of the most unusual guests stay here that I learned the most from.  I was telling them that this morning about this man who had an entire solar powered home and orchards.  His whole orchard was made from grafts of famous persons fruit trees.  (This discussion ensured after the apples were a hit).  That was his hobby, and that was why he was here, to collect a piece of an apple tree from Thomas Jefferson or Patrick Henry or someone.  I found this fascinating.

The next day the table had the "what do you do discussion" and he reluctantly mentioned he was an astro-physicist or something way out of my arena.   In fact he lived up near Riki somewhere in the mountains near Charlottesville VA.  One cool dude!

Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

I think I know him.or at least of him...I wish I could remember what magazine it was in....a huge article about this apples etc... Really interesting. Doggone..I meant to save that ...I know I have it somewhere...maybe it was a web site...I think it was...hmmm do a search on his name and see if something comes up.  I will need to look through all my zillion bookmarks because I wanted to go there in the fall sometime.

Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

It is so interesting ...one of the things discussed in a New Earth is "WHO ARE YOU...really?"

Everything we are used to saying about who we are ... are merely LABELS. People want to label everyone and put them in the "right place"...do they fit in my circle? Can they help me in some way, Are they good enough etc etc

Alot of deep thinking here lately.  Try to enter into a conversation with anyone WITHOUT asking things like "what do you do?", where do you work? etc It is all  labeling...and not doing it is REALLY hard!!!

Sorry I am in one of my pensive moods today with this weather.

Oops...I just updated Firefox again, reloaded and guess what...still no new emoticons with it????

ginocat's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/30/2008

After reading A New Earth I think more and more about the question of 'what people do'.  Perhaps it's because of my international guest list but the subject usually comes up and it's usually a great source of conversation. Often there are people in the same profession and it gives them a chance to talk about the differences between countries.

It seems to me that Americans are 'different' from Europeans (and Canadians sometimes :-} ) in that you don't want to talk about politics, religion or things personal. In other countries it's a great source for conversation and healthy debate and discussion. I don't know why it is so upsetting to you (generalizing here) or why it these subjects are so difficult to talk about without having raised blood pressure.

I have learned sooooooo very much from my guests by listening to, and participating in, some really great discussions on the above topics.

__________________

Wendy
"now retired from the BB business"

 

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

catlady wrote:

It is so interesting ...one of the things discussed in a New Earth is "WHO ARE YOU...really?"

Everything we are used to saying about who we are ... are merely LABELS. People want to label everyone and put them in the "right place"...do they fit in my circle? Can they help me in some way, Are they good enough etc etc

Alot of deep thinking here lately.  Try to enter into a conversation with anyone WITHOUT asking things like "what do you do?", where do you work? etc It is all  labeling...and not doing it is REALLY hard!!!

Sorry I am in one of my pensive moods today with this weather.

Oops...I just updated Firefox again, reloaded and guess what...still no new emoticons with it????

I am much different to the average person.  I think this way all the time, I don't want to know what you do.  You tell me and I have preconceived ideas about you off the mark.

Of course where we (both of us) live, in this state, letters after your name are most important.  Show me what you DO, not what you say.  I think of the people I admire most in the whole world - it doesn't matter what they do for a living.  It is way beyond that. I look at their life and the impact they make.   I know some people think it is an ice breaker, opens a door to talk about something you are familiar with.  I think that is it most of the time.  But the other portion just want you to find out about them.  Those are the least interesting people in my opinion.

Do you find it is like digging for gems, you start on the hard surface then start diggin deeper and the soil kinda gives way and you find all sorts of interesting things.

Morticia's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

OK, I do have to say that I thought this was a question you got at breakfast! We DO get that a LOT...'So, what do you do for work?'

I wasn't at breakfast quite at 8 one day and someone asked hubs if I had gone to work.

Of course, the answer is, 'Nothing, I'm retired.'

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

Bree wrote:

OK, I do have to say that I thought this was a question you got at breakfast! We DO get that a LOT...'So, what do you do for work?'

I wasn't at breakfast quite at 8 one day and someone asked hubs if I had gone to work.

Of course, the answer is, 'Nothing, I'm retired.'

I had that this week, "Dh goes to work, so this is all you do?"  Yeah, all.

Offline
Joined:
08/04/2008

My dairy farmer neighbor's wife and I were sitting down one day having a quick cup of coffee and he walked in and told her that he was going to dock her pay for "sitting down on the job". She very quickly replied that was fine, how long would she have to sit there before he fired her....Eye-wink

Offline
Joined:
05/30/2008

roflmao!! 

Offline
Joined:
09/22/2008

My husband is a remodeling carpenter, and we hate this question, as well.  Mostly because every time he responds with what he does, people immediately "have work" for him to do, as well.  Or, they immediately start asking him for advice about something they are doing on their own at home.

It gets old and annoying, not to mention it's rude.  Even moreso, they think they are entitled to a discount because an evening of small talk immediately makes them friends.  Or because we both know the host of the party where we met. 

 

YellowSocks's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

I make breakfast for strangers, then clean their toilet.

=)
Kk.

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

We had this once at a full table here, long story, but funny one where two were CIA, and two were FBI (one attending the academy) and then there sat this British couple asking everyone what they did and NOONE would answer.  Finally one said we work for the government. 

When they checked out she mentioned she was really embarrassed about that, and at the B&B they stayed prior to here everyone was asking THEM that quesiton, so they thought it was what you do in America.

I assured her only nosy people get all in your business like that.  Then I told her the rest of the story which will be a good story from her journeys here to retell when she gets home.

 

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.