So what do you do?
To me, this is one of the most useful tools in this book. In fact, I use it all the time. When you find yourself in almost any social situation, what’s the first thing that happens? Most likely you’ll hear the standard question, “So, what do you do?” And what is the standard response? Usually something like, “I’m a secretary, a business consultant, an attorney, a manager, a driver, etc”.
Do you see a problem here? I sure do! Someone just asked you what you do, and you automatically responded by telling them your occupation – what you do for money. Shouldn’t the natural response be something like: “I paint, I ride bikes, I surf, I listen to music?” The person didn’t ask how you make a living. They asked about what you do.
By adding the words for fun to the end of the “So what do you do” question summarizes the entire purpose of Grown-ups Don’t Skip. It changes our focus from the adult thinking of responsibility, and work, to a place where we can discover the passion, pleasure, and fun activities of others. Using for fun in a conversation is like the ball kids use on the playgrounds. It becomes the object that we can all relate to. It helps us create a common bond with others, and opens the door that allows us to come out and play.
Adults too often forget to think about fun. But awareness is the first step to change, and the solution is fairly simple. By simply asking about someone’s hobbies and interests, instead of their occupation, you will be on the right track to finding your fun again. Break out of your work mode, and start to focus on the fun. Starting today, when someone asks you what you do, respond by telling them what you do for fun, not what you do for a living. This may surprise a few people at first, but that’s a good thing. It makes them aware that they may have an excessive focus on work. I mean, really, do you honestly care if a person is an insurance agent or a construction worker?
Wouldn’t you be more interested if you discovered that someone had similar hobbies as you? Maybe you both enjoy horseback riding, collecting lunch boxes or building sand castles. How would you ever know that someone shared your joy of turtle racing, if all you talked about was work? Be prepared to dig a little deeper because getting to know the person, not the job, may require a bit more effort. You may have to ask people what they do with their time when they are not working, or even ask what they dream of doing in the future. The aim is to refocus your conversations away from work and towards fun. Stick with it and maybe you’ll find someone to bike with, a partner to play cards with, or simply some interesting information about a hobby you may enjoy or a place nice place to visit. All of this because you looked for the common bond and focused on the fun!