Ever been in situations at an event or a conference wherein you are struggling to get your business card out from your inner sleeve in the jacket or your visiting card holder decides to rebel and refuses to open? The struggle gets amplified not because the mechanics of taking a card out is more complex than quantum computing but we are(at least most of us) so busy getting ahead of ourselves preparing in our mind what to say after the card is handed out and the introduction perfunctory is dealt with. The flavour of the season of course is getting your contact details QR coded from the phone onto the other welcoming device ( sometimes non welcoming I dare add) and vice versa. It also helps you make a statement that you are take sorry…tech savvy. And you can keep up with the Janes and Jones’s.
The innocuous( or is it?) question that follows once the pleasantries are exchanged is what we are ranting about here. ” What Do You Do? ” and, in our quest to seek validation and create a lasting first impression go to town articulating the best of what you do, portray the best version of yourself and comply with the ‘ been there, done that narrative drill ‘ that we are expected to go shrill on. At the end of the 90 second spiel, you are either Elon Musk or Halloween‘s worst nightmare in disguise. Take your pick.
Compliance and complications overlap to a great degree, no pun intended here. As you echo your well practiced 60dB decibel of responding to ” What Do You Do? “, default memory and wanting to be alpha, dictates your conversation. And because it is so often used, heard, and in Red Ocean territory, you are on a platter offering an opportunity to the other person to ignore you or frame you as ‘un remarkable ‘, all of your own doing mind you. So stop wallowing in self pity!
” What Do You Do? ” question is a trap that we fall into more often than not. The response is by rote, unimaginative, me too and also ran, all at the same time. The well rehearsed linear journey monologue which by now should have ideally met its obituary. Release yourself from the imprisonment of the default, the established, expected, elevator pitch.
The brain remembers what it least expects, so deliver the unexpected! We don’t have to be Alan Sorkin to rewrite our script to answer the ” What Do You Do ? ” question. How about trying something like this. ” I am on a journey of continuous unlearning and learning, trying to satiate (without much success) my perennial curiosity, always in an explore and discover mode with an open mind to create work or art that matters to me and hopefully which should matter to an MVA(Minimum Viable Audience) as well. Showing up and generously shipping out, day after day “. At the end of it, you might get a few frowns but I bet you would leave the other side with a hard to ignore or forget narrative.
Ever been to a jazz concert- you would witness practiced, well rehearsed pieces combining beautifully with improvised, on the feet dynamism. Improv classes anyone? ” Whose Line Is It Anyway? “, the cult Reality TV show can teach us a few things.
Where are we headed? An objective for a pre-determined end or to remain open to limitless possibilities?
Let me know “What Do You Do“..sorry “What Will You Do? ”