Talking work while away from work

“What do you do for a living?”

It’s a question we have all been asked – and asked others – dozens thousands of times outside the workplace. Simple, mundane, keeps the conversation moving. (Assuming the person you just asked doesn’t say “paperclip polisher.” Or “Dr. Phil’s hair stylist.”)

By now it’s almost an obligatory practice among socializers, particularly male ones. And it happens everywhere, from backyard barbecues to wedding receptions to grade school recitals. If a sibling query existed, its would be that first-date fave “so, where are you from?”

Our question today is, do you really care how the person across from you makes his or her living, or is it merely a conversation-saver? Some people love discussing their work; others don’t. Which group are you in?

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"So, what line of work are you in?"

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