How do I dodge the "what do you do" question?

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MizLiz
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04 Oct 2010, 9:48 am

Because I don't work. Because I get disability. Because I have cancer, and I don't want people knowing I have cancer. It's a little difficult for me to have a job when I get radiation 5 times a week and I don't think that's their business, but I can't just say "It's not your business."


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glider18
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04 Oct 2010, 10:00 am

Here is what I would do in that situation. I would say,

"I'm so busy that I don't even know what I'm doing half the time...",

then change the subject, or hope the person asking you moves on to something else.

Wow! We joined WrongPlanet one day apart! :)


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deadeyexx
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04 Oct 2010, 10:19 am

Talk about everything else you do not having to do with cancer. Hobbies, family, housework, places you've been, etc...

Disability is something that's hard to hide though. Just answer questions about it as short as possible.



nemorosa
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04 Oct 2010, 10:21 am

Who's asking? Mostly I'd just say "none of your business" or "why do you want to know?"

Why are most people so damn nosy?



glider18
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04 Oct 2010, 10:32 am

You could fake (use acting skills) a coughing attack. That would probably only work one time with the same person. :lol:

I am anxious to hear more suggestions here because I think we can all find ourselves in these awkward little moments.

The worst one I did was to try to be nice and ask an older lady something in a class at college many years ago. Her husband always waited for her outside the room. At the beginning of the term, I asked her, "How are you, and how's your husband?" She got up and began sobbing and left the room not to come back until the next day. The person sitting beside me said, "Her husband passed away last week." :oops: :roll: 8O


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Moog
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04 Oct 2010, 11:22 am

Tell them you are in between jobs.


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Narkito
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04 Oct 2010, 11:48 am

When people ask me questions I don't want to answer, such as the dreaded "what are you planning to do when you finish school?", I usually go with the "Why do you want to know?" question first. People will answer with all sorts of things "Simple curiosity", "You're my niece and I want to know", "I care about you", "Just making conversation".

After that, you can always try to joke around the subject and say "oh, curiosity? well I have one better, did you know they found a new star in....." or something like that. You can also be direct about it "Well, truth is I don't know/don't have a job now, but I'm actually enjoying it, I have lots of time to figure out what I really want to do". Or you could say "It's not something I'm looking forward to talk about, but here's something I do want to talk about: [insert subject that actually interests you here]".

That's what I usually do. Hope some of it works for you too.


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mgran
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04 Oct 2010, 11:54 am

I find this very embarrassing when people ask me. I never find the right words, no matter how much I rehearse. It just doesn't make sense to me that people would ask such a very personal question. Sometimes I just feel like saying, "I'm recovering from an episode of bipolar psychoses, and I haven't been able to work in a year."



CockneyRebel
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04 Oct 2010, 12:36 pm

Mention hobbies, chores, family and books.


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poppyfields
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04 Oct 2010, 12:59 pm

I would mention a hobby and direct the conversation there.



AardvarkGoodSwimmer
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04 Oct 2010, 1:19 pm

glider18 wrote:
. . . "I'm so busy that I don't even know what I'm doing half the time...", . . .

"But I did get a chance to see a pretty cool movie the other day . . . '

---------------------

That is, you're launching into a specific and seeing if you can ping-pong it back and forth.



Yasmine
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04 Oct 2010, 1:21 pm

Try not to have lulls in the conversation as that question is a typical conversation-starter.



Shebakoby
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04 Oct 2010, 2:44 pm

I just tell them flatout I'm on disability. I have no shame.



Sparrowrose
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04 Oct 2010, 2:53 pm

Since I've become a student, I've found that "I'm a student" satisfies the "what do you do?" question.

If you aren't going to school and you want to use that answer without lying, sign up for some of the free online classes or do some independent study using resources like the MIT openware site.


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necroluciferia
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04 Oct 2010, 3:22 pm

Sparrowrose wrote:
Since I've become a student, I've found that "I'm a student" satisfies the "what do you do?" question.

If you aren't going to school and you want to use that answer without lying, sign up for some of the free online classes or do some independent study using resources like the MIT openware site.


Yeah being a student is a convenient way of getting people off your back and it is more acceptable than saying I'm on disability, which then ends up in more awkward situation of having to explain what's wrong with you.



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04 Oct 2010, 3:52 pm

I say I'm an unemployed machinist.


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