This weekend I'm sort of meeting The Girlfriend's (I know Mom, I need a better nickname) family for the first time. I've met a handful of them here and there, but her brother is getting married, which means I'm meeting almost everyone in two short nights. But this isn't a post about that.
Last night I was talking to one of her uncles, and I asked him "What keeps you occupied?". Which has become my version of The Cocktail Question. and he asked me whether I was referring to work or outside of work. And I told him I never ask anyone what their work is, because people rarely define themselves by their job. We talked a bit, and it turns out he bikes, so point one in his favor, and he drives classic cars. I still don't know what his job is, but I know he has some fun hobbies*.
As I left the rehearsal dinner I started thinking about that conversation. And I realized that for the first time in my life, I can gladly answer the questions, what do you do, and what's your job with the same answer. I'm a web developer**. And as of this week it's what I get paid to do and what I enjoy doing. Granted I also love cooking, eating, drinking, making cocktails, writing, reading, exploring, biking, photographing, talking, video gaming, board gaming, and many other things. But I'm one of the lucky few that gets to answer the question "What do you do" and actually respond with my job description, if I want.
But I'm not going to let that change how I ask the cocktail question. It's still about how you define yourself. Gardening, beer brewing, woodworking, widget collecting, or skydiving. Everyone has a story to share, and often it's not what pays the bills but what you go to work to be able to do.
* This has the added benefit of being easier to remember than someone telling you without excitement that they work for an insurance company.
** I may have forgotten to mention a few weeks ago that I accepted a new job at Clockwork. I'm building websites alongside some of the most talented people I've met. I'm pretty excited, I started Monday and it was a really fun and interesting first week.