What do you do?
This everyday small talk starter is a loaded question. Names and what we call ourselves are important. Typically when it’s asked, people want to know what job you hold to pay your mortgage. Your job title has probably rolled off your tongue many times in response. I used to respond that way myself
I never really thought about it much when asked.
What do you do? I work for an insurance company, and my job is provider relations.
Then I got laid off, and suddenly I had a problem.
How do I label myself now that I don’t have a job? When I realized I would lose my position, I had a moment of panic because that is how I paid my mortgage. After a few moments, my logical side kicked in because I knew I’d planned for this day, and I knew that not working freed me up to help care for my mom.
Mom had Lewy Body Dementia and needed help with daily activities, so Dad and I were there for her. Without a job, I could be there to help more than I could while working. And this was a great thing for them. It made me happy to be there more often. I loved my time with them, even if I hated why they needed the help.
Still, when people asked me, I struggled with how to answer the question of what I did. I no longer had an easy answer and tried on several different labels.
How we label ourselves or the names we call ourselves is important.
In the Bible, God often changed people’s names when he did big things in their lives. Remember Abram? In Genesis 17:5, God said, “No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.” Later in the chapter, he changed Sarai’s name to Sarah. He did this because names are important to God.
Do the labels you call yourself match the way God labels you? I know mine don’t always. We, women, can be so hard on ourselves.
I’m just a stay-at-home mom.
I’ll never be a singer.
Ugh, I’m so ugly and fat.
What if we changed the way we label ourselves and others?
What if we stop to ask God to show us how he sees us? Then we might say things about ourselves that give the world and us a realistic view of who we are.
I have the honor of being a mom to wonderful kids, and I’m blessed to be a stay-at-home mom.
My voice will never win any awards, but I praise God, and he loves my offering.
I have beautiful eyes and an incredible smile.
Changing the way we answer this question could open up new possibilities.
All those years ago, I finally settled on telling people that I was on hiatus from outside work and was a stay-at-home daughter. That opened up the door to talk about how blessed I was to be able to support my parents.
Now when asked the question, I may tell people I’m a storyteller. By day I tell stories with data to help others understand how their work impacts the company. Outside of that, I tell stories of how embracing the story of your life can benefit you and the world around you.
Let’s chat: What do you do?