Please kill me if I get asked “what do you do for a living?” within the first ten minutes of a date. This question is palliative care for dating conversation. It’s often a sign of nerves. But for God’s sake don’t answer it by outlining your day-to-day activities. It’s a lose/lose outcome, you either bore them to tears or you come off sounding arrogant as you try to big-up your existence. Unless of course you’re a secret agent or a rock star, then maybe indulge a little. So how do you tackle it?
Well this is what I do, when asked that question I give a swift and honest answer then switch to a wittier response. You can come back to the question after you’ve built some rapport. This may sound silly, but trust me, talking about your job won’t generate a spark. Here’s an example. Your date asks: “So what do you do for a living?”, You say: “I do sales in IT, it’s pretty hectic…but not as hectic as our waiter’s jacket,… did you see those lapels?”. Obviously you’ll have to come up with the witty misdirection on your own, I usually leverage off something that’s happened to me on the way to the date, or something my date is wearing, just anything other than talking about IT sales…obviously right?
Now, there IS a time to talk about your job, if you avoid it too much your date may think you’re unemployed. I guarantee it will come up again after you’re both comfortable, having chatted about life for a couple of hours (hopefully making each other giggle), letting some banter flow, and toward the end of the date I’m sure they’ll say “so you said you sell IT products?”. That’s your opportunity to fill in some gaps.
The take-away from this blog is, be prepared for someone to ask you that fatal question in the first 10 minutes, pivot and keep the momentum going. Alternatively, if your standard dating conversation opener is “what do you do?”…. stop it now! Your welcome….