Author Topic: "So what do you do?"  (Read 6825 times)

cdnstache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 25
  • Location: British Columbia
"So what do you do?"
« on: May 01, 2018, 02:47:29 PM »
How does everyone deal with the question "So what do you do?". It seems to be the first question asked when you first meet someone. I always reply by saying I'm a stay at home dad, which is true, but then it's immediately followed up with "oh, so what does your wife do?" They always assume that if I'm not working then my wife must have a pretty cushy job. But then I respond with "she's a full time student". This usually leads to an awkward silence and some weird looks as they think to themselves how can a family of four survive with a no working parents.

A little background - We're both mid-30's and FIREd 3 years ago. My wife went back to school to get her masters/PhD mostly for personal interest. She pays for it through grants and scholarships that she receives. We haven't had to spend anything out of our stache for her studies.


cdnstache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 25
  • Location: British Columbia
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2018, 05:13:20 PM »
Thanks! I did do a search but couldn't find anything.

Gone Fishing

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2722
  • So Close went fishing on April 1, 2016
    • Journal
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2018, 06:43:30 PM »
After being asked a few times prior, and influenced by a few barley sodas, I recently replied, "I just hang out".  Which is actually pretty far from the truth...

pbkmaine

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7866
  • Age: 62
  • Location: The Villages, Florida
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2018, 07:46:16 PM »
My husband has always said: “As little as possible.”

steveo

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1698
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2018, 08:46:58 PM »
My husband has always said: As little as possible.

I say that at work.

RedmondStash

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 804
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2018, 11:23:37 PM »
"Whatever I like."

Sometimes I'll say I'm taking some time off work for a personal creative project. Or, if the person is annoying me, "Why do you ask?"

beekayworld

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 67
  • Location: SoCal (via Oregon & Texas)
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2018, 10:41:10 AM »
I take control of the conversation. Just saying "I'm retired" is a dead-end conversation-wise.  I give a list of several projects/hobbies/activities and one of those will spark the questioner's interest.

I have a friend who has a job, but always carries the conversation towards her non-work activities. "I'm an administrative assistant and I volunteer at the marine aquarium giving whale-watching tours."  Who in that scenario is going to follow up with "Where are you an administrative assistant?" Ha!

Social settings should spark fun conversations, not act like networking events.

TheWifeHalf

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 499
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2018, 10:59:33 AM »
I say I am a "Kept Woman"
(no barley sodas involved)

Bird In Hand

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 475
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2018, 06:46:58 AM »
NSFW (but I'm not sure that really applies in this sub-forum?  hmmm...)

Apologies in advance for the (inevitable) Lebowski reference, but I think both character's responses to the "what do you do?" question are pretty good: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_EVtdF4xeQ&feature=youtu.be&t=32

I haven't figured out how I'm going to answer this question if/when I RE.  Maybe "I go back to bed after putting the trash out in the morning."
« Last Edit: May 10, 2018, 06:49:05 AM by Bird In Hand »

mak1277

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 752
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2018, 08:58:16 AM »
I'm still working...but if people ask me this now, I won't tell them about my job, I'll tell them about the things I do for enjoyment.  I am NOT my job, dammit!

soccerluvof4

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3732
  • Location: Artic Midwest
  • Retired at 50
    • My Journal
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2018, 04:06:21 AM »
Not alot, you?

DreamFIRE

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1380
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2018, 01:36:13 PM »

I haven't FIREd yet, so the question I get is, "what are you doing to do?" asked as if I won't know what to do or haven't already thought a lot about that.  I have a whole list of things... geesh.

Gone Fishing

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2722
  • So Close went fishing on April 1, 2016
    • Journal
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2018, 05:53:58 PM »
NSFW  Maybe "I go back to bed after putting the trash out in the morning."

I do go back to bed about half the time after my kids get off to school.  My oldest gets up at 5:40 (with no problem) for a 6:20 bus and my youngest gets up 6:40 (most of the time) or a 7:05 bus.  I can catch another hour or two if all goes well.

Linda_Norway

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3680
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2018, 07:23:14 AM »
NSFW  Maybe "I go back to bed after putting the trash out in the morning."

I do go back to bed about half the time after my kids get off to school.  My oldest gets up at 5:40 (with no problem) for a 6:20 bus and my youngest gets up 6:40 (most of the time) or a 7:05 bus.  I can catch another hour or two if all goes well.

Poor children, having to get up so early... (not meant as criticism to Gone Fishing)

jim555

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1861
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2018, 08:33:57 AM »
If I don't want to share that I have a stache I would say work at home software consulting.  This avoids getting into my personal financial situation.  The less info people have about you the better.


Cassie

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4597
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2018, 10:35:02 AM »
At our age no one is shocked 😳

smoghat

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 127
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2018, 08:03:54 PM »
I say Im an artist, which is true. Then other creative types ask me questions about how I support myself from my work since they seem to think Ill give them some magic answer. Truth is, I managed an apartment building for twenty years to make this a reality and got lucky with a market that went up much more than I ever expected it would.

TartanTallulah

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 521
  • Location: The Middle of Scenic Nowhere
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2018, 02:15:33 AM »
The other day, I got chatting to a dog-walker while I was out on a rare daytime run. He commented that he's not used to seeing me running in the daytime. We often pass one another around 9pm, which is a fairly typical time for me to be out running in summer.

"I don't often get the chance, because of work," I said.

"Work? I thought you must be retired," he said.

It would appear that I look old enough to have no need to explain, evade, or apologise :-)

My intention is to be "taking a break from my job". That break may last for the rest of my life, or in a few years' time I may be saying, "I work part time in a restaurant," or, "I do guided bike tours, are you interested in signing up to one?" or, "I'm a full time masters athlete."

Happily Irrelevant

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 31
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #19 on: May 25, 2018, 05:38:02 PM »
I've been FIRED for 6 years, but my wife still works since she loves teaching.  So "what do you do?" has come up quite a bit.  75% of the time I say "Trophy Husband" and the other 25% I just say retired.  What makes using Trophy Husband work so well is looking absolutely nothing like a Trophy Husband. 

markbike528CBX

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 836
  • Location: the Everbrown part of the Evergreen State (WA)
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #20 on: May 25, 2018, 08:01:30 PM »
I've been FIRED for 6 years, but my wife still works since she loves teaching.  So "what do you do?" has come up quite a bit.  75% of the time I say "Trophy Husband" and the other 25% I just say retired.  What makes using Trophy Husband work so well is looking absolutely nothing like a Trophy Husband.   

Gentleman of Leisure is now replaced with Trophy Husband, thanks!

Roadrunner53

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1670
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #21 on: May 28, 2018, 05:17:25 AM »
My husband has always said: As little as possible.

Years ago I worked at a factory and this guy in a suit was walking around and talking to the factory people. He went to his one guy who was operating this horrible piece of equipment. The suit asked him what he did here. The guy said "as little as possible". That machine operator guy was escorted out within 15 minutes. The suit was some bigwig from corporate. Not a good answer apparently! LOL!

Linda_Norway

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3680
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #22 on: May 28, 2018, 06:35:05 AM »
My husband has always said: As little as possible.

Years ago I worked at a factory and this guy in a suit was walking around and talking to the factory people. He went to his one guy who was operating this horrible piece of equipment. The suit asked him what he did here. The guy said "as little as possible". That machine operator guy was escorted out within 15 minutes. The suit was some bigwig from corporate. Not a good answer apparently! LOL!

Oops...
That is why your boss should warn you when someone important will visit the office. It is good to have seen your biggest boss sometime, if even on a picture. Just in case they suddenly appear near to you.

I remember having waved off people who were about to disturb me, while I was in the middle of some heavy and difficult testing while communicating over Skype with 10 people. I didn't want outsiders behind my back discussing what the new test lab looked like. But I happened to wave off the project leader for a big project (that I don't work on) and some other hotshots from the project.

Can't these people just stay in the meeting rooms???

Roadrunner53

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1670
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #23 on: May 28, 2018, 07:34:50 AM »
I think the Suit did this walkabout alone on purpose. No one knew who he was but DUH, if a guy in a suit is walking around in a factory then you should suspect it isn't another factory worker!

The machine operator wasn't very intelligent to begin with. He probably thought he was being hysterically funny. The Suit didn't think so!

MrsWhipple

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 413
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #24 on: May 28, 2018, 09:44:46 AM »
I say I used to be a writer. If they press, I say that we saved a lot when we were planning to start a family so now we're just living off of savings for a while. "A While" might turn out to be forever, but they don't need to know that. So far, so good two years into it. I doubt anyone really cares that much, tbqh.

Acastus

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 350
  • Age: 57
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #25 on: June 01, 2018, 11:23:05 AM »
Philanthropist, genius, inventor, billionaire.

How about:  independently middle class, gentleman with portfolio, I walk the Earth.

Roadrunner53

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1670
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #26 on: June 01, 2018, 11:32:59 AM »
I say I used to be a writer. If they press, I say that we saved a lot when we were planning to start a family so now we're just living off of savings for a while. "A While" might turn out to be forever, but they don't need to know that. So far, so good two years into it. I doubt anyone really cares that much, tbqh.

That is good about being a writer but then they might ask you what you wrote and where can they find it and that they would like to read your stuff...This stuff always bites me if I make up stories! It might be better to say you inherited the money that they can't check on or that you made some great stock investments.

MrsWhipple

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 413
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #27 on: June 01, 2018, 12:43:35 PM »
That is good about being a writer but then they might ask you what you wrote and where can they find it and that they would like to read your stuff...This stuff always bites me if I make up stories!
I was a writer, I have 25 novels published. Mostly I don't tell anybody my pen names because they are quite racy romances, but it's not like I'm making it up wholesale.

e34bb098

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 83
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #28 on: June 01, 2018, 03:48:28 PM »
Not FIREd yet, but Im planning on saying that Im an investment advisor. I wont mention that I only have one client I advise: myself.

Dragonswan

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 292
  • Location: Between realms
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #29 on: June 05, 2018, 08:13:41 AM »
Oh I can't wait until I'm retired and get this question.  Although I'll be moving to one of the biggest retirement states, so won't get to use these too often. 

Q: So what do you do? A: I don't decide that until I get up each morning, and the time I get up is usually up for negotiation too.

Q: What do you do for work?  A: I clean my own house. Q: No seriously. A: Well everything else I do might require effort but house cleaning is the only thing I consider work since I'm retired.

 

2Birds1Stone

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4696
  • Age: 31
  • Location: Earth
  • K Thnx Bye
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #30 on: June 05, 2018, 12:36:56 PM »
I'm a CFO/Hedgefund Manager

Threshkin

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 907
  • Location: Colorado
    • My Journal
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #31 on: June 05, 2018, 03:39:32 PM »
"Private Portfolio Manager" or "On sabbatical" when I am with business or entrepreneurial people.  I like attending start up and new technology events because they interest me.

Retired, Artisan or Fiber Artist as appropriate with friends.

Linda_Norway

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3680
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #32 on: June 06, 2018, 12:27:51 AM »
DH and I will call ourselves consultants. We were discussing yesterday what we could be doing as side-hustles if we ever want to get some extra spending money. Even I could think of some things in my field, which was a bit unexpected for me.

DH was inspired by some older friends of us. They are retired and have normal sized pensions. But one of them works a bit after retirement in his old job (technical photographer) and now they are travelling far, doing cruises, all sorts of stuff they couldn't afford earlier. But still choosing the cheaper options, like not buying the organized trips on land that the cruise sells. Or camping at their destination when visiting Canada.

Jsn

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 16
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #33 on: June 06, 2018, 11:08:34 AM »
I usually say. Im a private investor. Thats enough for most people, but sometimes it goes like this:

Oh, you mean an angel investor?

No, angels are early stage. I tend to invest in later stages.

So youre a venture capitalist?

No, later stages still. Equities and bonds.

What kind of clients?

People who agree with me as much as possible. [laugh, change subject]


Ive evolved this line of patter because it establishes:

1. Im not looking for a job or networking career boost.

2. No, I wont invest in your startup.

3. My relaxed lifestyle is just thata lifestyle. Im not a bum, a burnout, etc.

It reveals as little as possible, while giving the person the necessary social cues to know how to relate to you. It has the added benefit of being completely true.

Threshkin

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 907
  • Location: Colorado
    • My Journal
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #34 on: June 06, 2018, 01:54:37 PM »
I usually say. Im a private investor. Thats enough for most people, but sometimes it goes like this:

Oh, you mean an angel investor?

No, angels are early stage. I tend to invest in later stages.

So youre a venture capitalist?

No, later stages still. Equities and bonds.

What kind of clients?

People who agree with me as much as possible. [laugh, change subject]


Ive evolved this line of patter because it establishes:

1. Im not looking for a job or networking career boost.

2. No, I wont invest in your startup.

3. My relaxed lifestyle is just thata lifestyle. Im not a bum, a burnout, etc.

It reveals as little as possible, while giving the person the necessary social cues to know how to relate to you. It has the added benefit of being completely true.

As a "Private Portfolio Manager" I get the same type of questions.  I usually just say I work with a small group of high net worth clients.  I don't mention that the 'clients' are me and my DW.

Sometimes people assume that this must be a high stress job.  I tell them no, that my clients and I believe in serenity investing.  Follow a plan, Monitor it, Don't stress over short term fluctuations.  This usually ends the conversation.  It seems that most people think money management must be stressful.  It isn't!

Roadrunner53

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1670
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #35 on: June 07, 2018, 05:59:25 AM »
I would say I was living off a generous trust fund set up by my Grandfather. No way to check that.

dude

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2247
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #36 on: June 07, 2018, 10:37:39 AM »
I'll never understand why this is an issue for anyone. Fuck, I plan to say exactly what I do -- not a damn thing, because I worked hard, saved a shitload of money and retired early.

sisto

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 902
  • Age: 49
  • Location: Sacramento, CA
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #37 on: June 07, 2018, 10:51:24 AM »
I'll never understand why this is an issue for anyone. Fuck, I plan to say exactly what I do -- not a damn thing, because I worked hard, saved a shitload of money and retired early.
I totally agree with this. I'm exactly 3 years out as of today and talk it about retiring often. I generally get the attitude that I must make a ton of money or that my spouse does etc. I always just reply that while yes, I make decent money. 1. That hasn't always been the case. 2. We're a single income family and have been for 25 years. Then I go on to tell them that the key is to not buy more house than you need and to keep your monthly expenses low as well as tax defer as much income as you can and invest anything extra in low cost index funds. Sometimes people want to know more and sometimes they have excuses. Those that have wanted to know more and taken advice are quite happy they did.

Roadrunner53

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1670
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #38 on: June 07, 2018, 10:58:57 AM »
Agree sisto, Just say you worked hard, saved hard and now are playing hard.

Live below your means, save till it hurts, then reap the rewards. No real magic.

Financial.Velociraptor

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1311
  • Age: 46
  • Location: Houston TX
  • Devour your prey raptors!
    • Financial Velociraptor
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #39 on: June 07, 2018, 03:45:11 PM »
My answer has always been tailored to the situation.  Some people get the straight "retired" answer, some get "trader".  The cat is sort of out of the bag now that I'm almost 6 years in.  Word has gotten around and some of the people who originally got the "trader" answer have talked to people who know the full scoop. 

Only two people have been hostile so far.  Most just sort of get this glazed over look and sometimes say something along of the lines of "I'll have to work until lunch on the day of my funeral."  You want to save those people but little can be done if they aren't already open to possibilities.

Moustachienne

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 273
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #40 on: June 10, 2018, 10:11:38 PM »
Here's Carolyn Hax's suggested answers below.   I think I'll use this with slightly positive modification, something like :

"I'm enjoying life. How about you?" OR "I'm enjoying life.  What are you up to?" 

It's weird that even at 60 we feel we have to justify being "early" retired!   And as we see from other threads, we worry about justifying it to ourselves let alone to others.   "I'm enjoying life."   And that's enough.  :)

Hi, Carolyn:
I am retired at 60 due to a layoff at our firm. I was given a severance package. I decided to retire from the workforce and just enjoy life. I worked for 32 years and my husband and I are financially stable. He is also retired and 65.
I always get comments like, "What do you do all day," "You're too young to retire," and, "How can you afford it?" I would like some keen suggestions on how to answer those questions, which I find invasive.
-- Enjoying Not Working

Some people are nosy, yes. But some are just trying to make conversation, so why not give the latter a chance to come forward with a simple, "Why do you ask?"
You can have a light non-answer ready for when you feel grilled: "I'm enjoying life. That's my answer to anyone's questions." When it's a non sequitur, that's when it works the best.

Dicey

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8747
  • Age: 60
  • Location: NorCal
Re: "So what do you do?"
« Reply #41 on: June 11, 2018, 12:22:48 AM »
NSFW  Maybe "I go back to bed after putting the trash out in the morning."

I do go back to bed about half the time after my kids get off to school.  My oldest gets up at 5:40 (with no problem) for a 6:20 bus and my youngest gets up 6:40 (most of the time) or a 7:05 bus.  I can catch another hour or two if all goes well.
DH gets up at 4:45. I get up, make his breakfast, pack his lunch, and walk him to work at about 5:45. I'm home by 6:10, max. Then I go back to bed until whenever I feel like getting up. It doesn't suck, not at all.