I’ve never liked answering the question: “What do you do?”
It makes no sense, because I worked hard to become a lawyer, and I like my job, but admitting to it to strangers has always made me feel uncomfortable. Maybe it’s the inevitable follow up scorn (for the profession), excitement (for the prospect of free legal advice), or bad lawyer jokes; or, maybe it’s because it’s not really ME. Not who I AM or what I’d want to be most known for doing.
Recently, I was at a networking event, an opportunity for lawyers to talk about lawyery topics and say lawyery things to one another using long words and superior intelligence.
I was carrying on, participating in the discussion, when it occurred to me that what I really wanted to talk about was my writing hobby. I could see the focussed passion in the eyes of my colleagues, and all I could think about was getting home to revise my WIP.
Does this mean I’m starting to identify more as a writer than a lawyer?
But, I have zero comfort level answering the question, “What do you do?” with “writer”, either. It seems like a lie, or at least a pretty glaring omission. (Wait, I googled you – I thought you said you were a writer, not a blood-sucking shark… Sigh).
I don’t know what the answer is, or if I’ll ever confidently commit to one identity. Maybe I’ll come up with a hybrid answer, like, “I’m a writer who practices law in my spare time”, it’s closer to the truth than I’d like to admit.
Is your identity tied to your job or your professional designation? Or do you FEEL LIKE some other aspect of your life? Do you have no flipping clue what you are? I’d really like to know if I’m the only one who’s worried about this.