Life is more than “what you do” We live in a society that likes to define us by our job titles, how much money we make, who we know, and how cool our business card looks.
While I lived in Washington, D.C., I grew accustomed to answering the requisite “So, what do you do?” wherever I went. In fact, I once met a woman at happy hour who asked me for my business card before she even shook my hand or got my name—as if our interaction hinged on my job title. I hated answering this question for a couple reasons. First, because telling someone my position, “I’m the special assistant to the director of global operations at the U.S. Peace Corps,” kind of made me feel like Dwight Schrute talking to Michael Scott in The Office. Second, because it didn’t really describe who I was. It left out all the fun stuff—like the fact that my favorite thing to do in the world is sip coffee and write in my Moleskine, or that if it was up to me, I’d eat a bagel with lox and cream cheese every meal for the rest of my life, or that I have seen every single episode of Seinfeld fourteen times, and cannot have a conversation—even on a date—without busting into my Kramer voice (“Oh, I’m stressed…”). Telling someone what I did for a living also didn’t describe the people in my life who I love most. It left out my role model, my younger sister, who I talk to every day about life decisions as serious as whether she should go to law school and as trivial as whether it’s appropriate for me to wear running shoes on an OkCupid date. My job title doesn’t include how grateful I am for my loving parents and my friends, who make me laugh so hard I usually end up on the floor whenever I’m with them. “What you do” matters—but life is more than a job. The time we spend outside the office, doing things we love with people we care about is where many find fulfilment.
– The Quarter-Life Breakthrough