Some people get this wrong. You shouldn’t

Ramit Sethi

There’s a reason I asked you how you answer “What do you do?”

A few weeks ago, I was interviewing someone in my NYC studio. After the interview was done, he asked our director what he could do to improve.

The director told him, “You were great, but there was a moment where Ramit asked you, ‘What’s an example of a failure you had in your business?’ and you didn’t have an answer.”

“You’re going to get that question over and over. So you better have a great response.”

Think about that. In life, there are a few things that you’re always going to encounter.

  • What should I eat?
  • What am I doing with my money?
  • Where do I live?
  • What’s my job?

Guys, just get it right. If you only get these things right, you’ll be 100x ahead of other people. I call these your Tripod of Stability because they’re the most important areas to focus on.

Similarly, there are a few questions you’re going to get for the rest of your life. The most common one?

“What do you do?”

Just get the answer right. Practice it. Test it. Polish your answer like a gem until it sparkles.

It’s not weird to do this. You’ll know when you get it right because people respond positively. They want to know more about you. They’re fascinated.

You’re doing them a FAVOR by being interesting in a world of drab answers. It’s a service to them.

Keep it fun. For example, I’ve dressed up for an event and been asked by some random girl what I do. I smiled. “I’m a garbage man.” She laughed and accused me of lying. I said, “What? A man can’t do sanitation in the day, then put on a nice suit at night?” She loved it.

One of our readers wrote in and said he’s not a wedding photographer…he’s a “professional wedding photographer.” That one word makes all the difference in how people perceive him.

If you’re a marketing coordinator, you already know how fast people’s eyes glaze over. Out of service to them, what if you tried describing yourself like this: “You know when you subscribe to US Weekly or The New Yorker? I work on their ads to make sure everything flows smoothly.”

If you’re a life coach…sorry. Just give up now.

The important thing is to get the Big Wins in life right. Just do it. And the way you introduce yourself — and what you do for your job — is one of the most important.

Oh, and one more thing.

You can optimize, tweak, and test your introduction all day long…

Or you can actually find a Dream Job. The one that pays you what you deserve. The one where you work with a boss who trusts you, gives you responsibilities that challenge you, and pushes you to do more. The one you’re proud to talk about — where you leap out of bed every morning because you can’t wait to start work with your co-workers. (Remember, a $5,000 raise in your 20s is worth over $1mm over your lifetime.)

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