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What Do You Do? Good Question.

It’s often the first question people ask – “What do you do?” For Andee Zomerman it’s a little bit complicated to answer – but she’s trying to figure it out. Read more from Andee on her blog, Nature of a Servant.

I am a confident woman.

Yes, I do struggle now and again with vulnerability, shame, and all of the other Brené Brown diagnoses, but on the whole, I’m pretty secure in life.

Until last week.

What Do You Do? Good Question.

Last Wednesday, I went to an event honoring a favorite author. When I met Author, he was perfectly delightful. Then, through no fault of anyone but myself, my confidence disappeared.

What do you do? Author asked, Oh, wait! Did you get that radio job?

No, the station decided not to hire anyone for the time being.

I felt small.

I asked my friend, Sandy, to come with me to the party. Sandy is all things – mom, teacher, master creator, and our pastor’s wife. I glommed onto her identity like a life-saver.

Let me introduce you to my friend, I re-directed the conversation, she and her husband started the church plant we attend.

Now we had something to talk about.

My self-esteem waned further as the evening progressed. Also at the event were at least 3 different published authors and Big Agent. I met all of them. All of them asked me the same question,

“What do you do?”

What could I say? My mind drew blank.

Well, I’m a wanna-be writer who has a blog but that just seems silly now doesn’t it?

Well, I’m working on a book. No, no one has shown interest in publishing.

Well, I was going to be a radio talk show host, but that’s not quite working out.

Well, I love to preach, but I’m not really a pastor, so…

It didn’t seem right to list all of the things I used to do.

I used to be a teacher.

I used to be a youth minister.

I used to go to school.

I used to homeschool my kids.

I used to work outside the home and pull an income.

The ironic part of this story is I really like my life right now. I have time to write during the day. The kids are at a more independent age. Not having a job to report to leaves us options for travel.

So why do I feel so insignificant when asked what do you do?

Maybe it’s because I don’t have a pat answer.

Maybe because unpaid writer-chauffeur-house manager-maid-executive assistant-volunteer is too long to print on a business card.

Maybe it’s because I care a little too much about what others think of me.

Dang. I hate when I’m convicted by my own words.

What is the answer friends? What would be a perfect response for someone who does “stuff” without having a label for it all? Better yet, what is a different ice-breaker when meeting someone for the first time?

Andee Zomerman

Andee is a blogger at, mom, wife, teacher by trade, former youth minister, Disney passionate, librarian-wanabee, guest talk-host living in the Pacific Northwest. She strives to live with compassion and fight for justice, but still has a long way to go. Instagram: andeezomerman

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Tuesday 17th of March 2015

You are a blogger because I'm sitting here in Sydney in Australia reading your blog!

Now practise your response:"In my current incarnation, I'm a blogger."

All people are trying to do is get the conversational ball rolling so provided you have a ready answer, that is all you need.

I personally never ask people what they do;I might ask what their interests are.

So no need to feel out of your depth. If you don't want to say you're a blogger, say "Well, I've had many incarnations but now I'm free to follow my own interests..." and go on to name them. Just keep the conversation going and add a joke or two eg I would work if I had to but I think having a job is overated.


Monday 2nd of March 2015

I can completely relate to this, Andee. Most of the time, I just answer that I'm currently a SAHM. Most of the time, I even feel embarrassed to admit that I'm a blogger / writer because really I don't earn anything from it. You're right that part of the problem has to do with us caring too much about what others say. But I also think this is reflective of what our society has become, what values people now hold and the need to cling to labels / categories. Ambiguity often scares people. Maybe we should teach ourselves to get a kick out of shocking them with more honest / even neurotic responses! ;-) Thanks for a mentally stimulating post!

Lynn Jeffers

Sunday 1st of March 2015

Hi Andee, Oh, I soooo know what you are feeling! Four years ago, I gave up a thirty year teaching career, and I, too, was faced with the question, "What am I now?" My husband and I started our own business and now I tell people that I am the CEO - The Chief Everything Officer! I run the cafeteria, I am the maintenance department, I am the IT and human resources departments, I am his secretary, and I will sit on his lap...and it's OK with me if he sends me to buy presents for his wife! (I've met her and have a pretty good handle on her tastes!) And sometimes, just for shock value, I tell them that I'm "sleeping my way to the top!" LOL Have a great day and remember that you are perfect just as you are! :)

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