I really, really hate that question.

Since we’ve moved to Colorado and each day is filled with meeting new people, I get asked that question all of the time.

“What do you do?”

And I really, really hate it.

We live in such a career-focused society that what you “do” is the ultimate label that we put on people.

If you are an accountant, you must be quiet and studious.

If you are a hair stylist, you must be carefree and artistic.

If you’re a salesman, you must be loud and dishonest.

Whatever your label, certain personalities traits come with it.

It’s all BS. 

And why do we so fervently believe that your career (or lack thereof) defines you?

Are we so starved for conversation starters that it is just the default and we’re sticking with it?

Why not ask “what are you focused on right now?”

“What has got you really excited these days?”

“What projects are you spending the most time on?”

Those would tell you so much more about the person and could start a really interesting conversation.

Want some more ideas? Check out 250 Conversation Starters.